Class of '64
February 2002

Dear class of ’64

I am very pleased to send you our guest class letter written by classmate, Nancy Jo Johnson Vrieze of Rice Lake, Wisconsin.  ~Joanna Carlson Swanson

Dear Classmates of ’64

For those of us in the Midwest, this has been a mild winter to remember; certainly we do not remember that during our time on “the hill!”  Those were the years it seemed to snow the most, blow the most, and chill the most!  But those were also the years we matured the most and made new, and in many cases, lifetime friendships and memories!

And now—the retired life!  As many of you have discovered, it is pretty pleasant and pretty independent.  (We recommend it!)  Eldon and I found that we could co-exist in the same household with different agendas and still enjoy frequent times during the day to chat and enjoy time together.  It is a pleasure to be able to greet all of you with the opportunity to write the prologue of this class letter.

Life has gone swiftly those 42 years since we first ventured “Hello Walk.”  Yet those years can be relived so quickly through the alumni magazines, class letters, frequent gatherings of friends, and often, for me, a “quick tour” through the campus.  When our daughter, a Luther grad, took her first job as an elementary teacher nine years ago, she called and said, “Mom, do you know where New Ulm is?”  That question sent me down memory lane back to an area we knew from GA days.  And since she still lives in New Ulm, we frequently “cut through” the campus on our way to visit.  Each time we drove through it, the campus seemed more beautiful and more welcoming—then—lonely, as it was ravaged by the tornado―and yet again brighter and more exciting as St. Peter and Gustavus recovered from a “hellish” invasion of Mother Nature.  It became clear to me once again that our college roots are deep; they are solid; they are preserved; and, therefore, the memories of Gustavus will continue for future classes.  Hopefully you are able to stop for a moment and reflect on the “good ol' days” at Gustavus, and remember the alma mater with joy and thanksgiving; oh yes, and a financial gift to perpetuate those memories for others would be great!

Nancy Jo Johnson Vrieze

1964 Guest Letter Writer

Thank you Nancy for the letter.  And thanks to all of you who sent in news, keeping friends updated on your lives.

We need to again pass on the sad news of the death of three more of our classmates. 

Karen Holmberg Wilson died on November 1, after a long battle with cancer.  Marjorie Johnson Putnam also passed away last November.  Hope Walfrid Erickson lost her struggle with cancer on January 10, 2002.  Hope lived in Austin, Texas.  Our sympathy to their families and friends.

Here is what our classmates are doing/have done or are anticipating.  Most of it falls under the retirement, traveling, children and grandchildren, or work categories.  (This comes on various slips of paper funneled through the Alumni Office; I’m guessing that much of it has a fall or winter date.  My apologies in advance for any errors.)

Dennis Lade retired from Dow Agro Sciences in February 2000.  He enjoys retirement, playing golf, traveling, helping children.  Enjoying grandson and babysitting when possible.  Youngest daughter, Sarah, was married in October 2001.

Marlys Sanders Siverson reports that they are done paying college tuition!  Their youngest, Sonja, graduated in May from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.  She has a BA in social work and is working with autistic children through an agency in North St. Paul.

Lynn McKenzie Palm planned a trip to London last November.  She sent greetings to classmates.

Sylvia Wilson Kittelson teaches first grade in Litchfield.  Grandson, Andrew, lives in Savage.

Emmy Hanson Abello teaches in California and traveled to Washington DC to receive a BLUE RIBBON award for Mountain View School.  Neal and Emmy are both retiring at the end of the school year, coinciding with son, Kyle’s, graduation from UC-San Diego.  Kyle seems destined to follow his dad’s lead of teaching biology.  After retirement, they may have more time for leisurely travel.

Kirsten LeVander Dawson works at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley and gives training workshops for Student Assistance Programming.

Meredith Hougen Hale lives in Rio Verde, Arizona and loves retirement.

At the time of Phonorama, Jane Chelgren McFadden was looking forward to the arrival of twin grandchildren in December.

Susan Toftey Hildebrand had a family wedding last August.  Their daughter was married in Seattle.

Carol Gilbertson Lind also had a family wedding last July.  Their son, Michael, married a Luther grad from Cottage Grove.  The groom’s dinner was a hog roast in their backyard.  Sounds like fun!

Jerry Otto retired from his position as school psychologist in the Milwaukee suburban area.

Dick Swenson took part in a Habitat for Humanity building project in Guatemala last fall.  Beautiful country and hard working people!

Karen Buss Torgersen attended her son’s graduation from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.  She has two grandchildren, Sydney (2 ½) and Austin (7 months).  The grandchildren live in Emporia, Kansas.

My partner in class planning, Linda Leonardson Hallman, retired under the I.M.P formula for Minnesota teacher retirement.  She cooked at Mt. Olivet’s Cathedral of the Pines Youth Camp, enjoyed golf, and summer activities.  Milt and Linda celebrated their 30th Anniversary in Boston in October.  She filled in for a teacher-on-leave this winter, and went west on a big birthday weekend bash this month.

Miriam Borg Teeter lives in Palo Alto, CA.  Their son, Ben, was married to Courtney Rowe this past August.  Weddings give rise to family reunions and siblings and spouses from out-of-town plus cousins and friends celebrated with them.  Son, Ryan, is attending DeAnza Jr. College in the automotive and machinery program.  Miriam still teaches in elementary school and Don owns and works at Ladera Hardware Store in Portola Valley.

Ed and Neta Frykman Lamp had breathtaking four weddings in one and a half years―now they are waiting for grandchildren.  Ed is officially retired, but has two part-time paying jobs:  teaching at Bowling Green State University and doing brain injury research.  And he has one full-time non-paying position:  supervising a building project for their church.  Neta works at a small rural hospital and has no immediate plans for retirement.

Kathleen (Felsted) and Paul Matson are proud grandparents of a 15-month-old-granddaughter, Sarina Kathleen.

Susan Bolmgren Anderson is currently substitute teaching in Winona (unless she is spending the winter in warmer places).  Their two children live in the Twin Cities. Husband, Dave, is fixing up a condo in the Las Vegas area. Stay tuned as to their future plans.

Karen Benson Hanson and husband, Larry, live in Webster, Wisconsin, (except in the winter when they are also south).

Jim and Sandra Spaulding Welte have nine grandchildren.  From the note it appears that all nine are ages three and younger!

Cec Erickson retired from Control Data.  When she was called for Phonorama last fall, she asked for help in selling her brother’s boat (he died a year ago.).  For boat lovers, the boat is a 28-foot Owens cabin cruiser (’63), inboard, sleeps 4, the main deck is teak, and the rest is mahogany.  For more information, contact Cec in Eden Prairie, MN.

John Nurmi retired from teaching, but is still a church organist at a Lutheran church in New York.  Their son graduated from Northeastern in Boston in music technology.

Richard and Joan (Benson ’66) Dornfeld are spending the school year at Misawa Air Base while Richard teaches physics and math at Edgren High School and Joan enjoys the culture, mountains, and ocean.  They are living 400 miles north of Tokyo.  Retirement was not the right ticket for them.

Portia Benepe married Giorgio Rey in Jamaica last January.  He is an engineer.  They look forward to retirement.

Michael Hendrickson serves currently as the CEO of a family practice group in Monterey, California and working on a Geriatric Resource Center for family practice residents on the central coast of California. Son, Erik, is a junior at Carmel High School.  Daughter, Kristin ’93, is a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota in pediatric intensive care.  Daughter, Kari, is a middle school principal and lives in Carmel with the two grandsons.  Mike writes that they welcome contact from classmates either in Carmel, CA or during the summer at our Bayfield, WI, home.

University of Wisconsin–Steven’s Point sent both picture and press release announcing Sonja Madsen Kung’s retirement next spring.  Sonja joined the faculty at UWSP thirty-one years ago.  She has most recently been a senior lecturer in the department of mathematics and computing.  She also worked with female athletes, led workshops for area math teachers on teaching math to kindergarten through third graders, and taught computer programs that enabled girls to build and design Lego structures using a computer model.  Sonja looks forward to having more time for family, friends, hiking, gardening, reading, and lots of traveling.

And finally, a new granddaughter joined our family on January 8.  Heidi Ellen is the daughter of Kristin (Swanson ’95) and Jon ’96 Engman.  And like all of the other grandchildren noted earlier, she is just adorable.

Wishing you all a wonderful spring, the pleasures that accompany retirement or working, good times, good health, and a generous dose of the things you enjoy.

Joanna Carlson Swanson

1964 Co-Class Agent

P.S.  Now for some campus news written by a current Gustavus student:

Campus News

Hi!  My name is Tracey Hanson.  I’m a senior, double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management.  I’ve worked in the Alumni Office all four years and can hardly believe that I’m now starting my final semester!  Instead of taking a class (and doing homework) this J-Term, I spent my time slaving away in the Alumni Office.  It was great to have the extra time to relax and do other activities that J-Term allows.  Having unlimited time at home each night made for some great cooking!  And getting to watch “Friends” without worrying about the homework you should be doing instead was also a plus!  The start of the spring semester (thus, the start of homework) has been a sudden shock to my system! 

The campus is full of life and excitement.  A successful and busy J-Term just ended, and spring semester is now underway.  The theme for J-Term 2002 was "Our Global Village," and the month was a celebration of cultural diversity as we grappled with social, political, economic and philosophical aspects of our ever-shrinking world neighborhood.  Faculty offered 29 different classes that tied into this global theme, many of which were travel courses.  Examples include Islam and Culture, and Chinese Cooking and Culture.  This year, 2319 students enrolled in J-Term courses, with many who studied abroad, participated in internships, student taught or studied at other domestic institutions.  I got very jealous when I read e-mails from my roommates who were studying in warm, sunny Australia.  J-Term themes for the coming years include “Service-Learning” (2003) and “Undergraduate Research.” (2004).

Gustie winter sports teams are having a great year, as all are near the top in the MIAC.

Gustie music ensembles just returned from their tours.  The Gustavus Band embarked on an international tour this J-Term.  The band toured Sweden and Norway, presenting “Music from America.”  The tour dates were January 16 through February 10.  The tour concluded with a homecoming performance on Feb. 10 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir toured the Midwest during Touring Week in February, concluding with their home concert Feb. 16 in Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Orchestra toured Minnesota, the Dakotas, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa.  The orchestra concluded their tour with a home performance Feb. 17 in Christ Chapel.

The Alumni Association is on the road this winter and spring connecting alumni to each other and the College.  Director of the Linnaeus Arboretum and Instructor of Environmental Studies, Jim Gilbert ’62, will travel along to provide an interesting and informative program.  Complete information is listed on our web site under events.  If you need more information, give us a call at 800-487-8437.

March 7          San Diego Chapter event

                        Dinner hosted by John and Paula Penrod ’79, ’79

March 8          Tucson Chapter gathering 

Dinner - Warren and Donna (Gabbert) Beck ’67, ’66 residence

March 9          Phoenix Chapter gathering

                        Dinner at Pera Club, Tempe

March 10        Sun City Chapter gathering

                        Dinner at Bella Vista Restaurant, Peoria

April 5             Bay Area Chapter event

April 6             Seattle Chapter event – Luncheon at Buca di Beppo Restaurant

April 7             Denver Chapter event

More information will be sent to alumni and friends in these chapter areas.

RSVP to Alumni Office at 800-487-8437 or e-mail

As I prepare to graduate in June, I find it increasingly hard to think about leaving this place.  It hardly seems possible that four years have flown by, and that in six months I, too, will be considered an alum.  I will always carry with me fond memories of my four years here.  GO GUSTIES!!!