Class of '64
March 2004

Dear Classmates,

By the time you receive this, winter will be having its last breath.  We in the frozen north will be thinking spring, summer will race by, and then before you know it, reunion time will be around the corner.  We'll start with a few words from classmate and leader, Jim Peterson.

"Greetings to you my old friends.  Suddenly, and wondrously, here I am writing to the class of '64 as the new President of our alma mater.  A semester and J-term have come and gone already since I started into this new vocation―into this new adventure for both Susan and me.  And it has been an adventure―a challenging but rewarding and wonderful adventure!  In fact, almost any adjective you might imagine applies to my days.

But my favorite adjective these days is the one we've been using to describe Gustavus, these people and this place―extraordinary.  And it's true.  From a very different vantage point than I had 40 years ago, I am understanding better every day what an extraordinary community Gustavus really is.  I can assure you, it hasn't lost any of the special character we remember, but it has changed in very important and positive ways.  Come back and experience it yourself.  Come back at homecoming for our 40th reunion!  Come back anytime.  I'll buy the coffee."


Hi Everyone.... 

Oh, the changes that make life different.  Last year, I wrote about my husband, Milt missing the plane to Florida.  This year, on that flight, I was missing him.  He died suddenly in May.  Life seems different and at the same time the same.  Fortunately, I have wonderful friends and family.  Our son, Gus (26 and single), moved in with a new roommate closer to my house.  He stops often, helping around the house when needed.  He sure misses his dad, too.

Retirement is great.  I have used the time off to travel.  In August, a cousin's son got married in Evergreen, Colorado.  I enjoyed reacquainting myself with my "Iron Range" relatives who were at the Colorado wedding.

Eleven good friends, neighbors, co-workers and I traveled to Tuscany in Italy in October.  We had four apartments in a villa just outside of Sienna.  We traveled the countryside in small groups and got together in the evenings to taste the Chianti and have dinner.  Restaurants in Italy open at 8:00 in the evening…no early bird specials there!  When I came back I did a little phoning for Phonorama and found it a little difficult to do.  Hopefully, this spring it will be easier.

Christmas, I tried to do all the familiar things and it went okay.  Gus and I taught skiing in December and January as usual.  It got us out of the house and the little kids we teach were so fun!

February I joined some fellow art teachers for a week in Naples.  The sun felt so good but I do love the snow and cold.

Routine is always good, and comforting.  I draw on Tuesday mornings with my drawing co-op group.  In the summer and fall, we drew at the new Minnetonka Center for the Arts.  This winter, we draw on the third floor of a house in the Kenwood area of Minneapolis.  Sometimes there are four of us sometimes up to eight.

I have also joined a painting group on Wednesday evenings.  The people that come are so supportive and fun.  Painting is interesting in that you can paint and carry on conversations at the same time.

Last weekend, some friends lent me their house in Ironwood in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  Gus and his girlfriend and I enjoyed the skiing at both Indianhead Ski Area as well as Blackjack Ski Area.

The snow is melting and spring is upon us.  I look forward to our reunion and seeing lots of old friends.  Now that so many of us have reached retirement, there should be more time for old friends.  Life is good!  See you in September if not at a planning meeting before.

Today, I am looking forward to a brief visit with Judy Kaeding Larsen here in Minneapolis.  She is visiting her mother at Augustana Home in Minneapolis.

Love to you all, my Gustie family,

"Leonard" Linda Leonardson Hallman

1964 Co-class Agent

And that is the perfect segue into reminding you to block out the weekend of October 1-2, for our reunion.  Those of you who have migrated south over the years, this is a beautiful time to return to vacation in Minnesota.  Colors are at peak, the mosquitoes are gone, and this can be part of a great fall get-away.  For our snowbird population, it is too early to head south so you can come too.  See friends from your youth (I wouldn't call us old!), catch up with those that we seldom see or can visit only briefly, and enjoy Gustavus.

When making Phonorama calls last fall, I asked a few of you to write about what you're doing now and several responded.  Rod and Jean (Axdahl) Bahnson become winter vagabonds and shared their adventures with their classmates.  Listen in!

"What will we do that could make a difference after we retire?" is a question many of us ask.  To us it turned out to be volunteer workers in Jackson, MS and working with ELCA Mission Builders ( and LCMS Laborers for Christ (  What do they do?  They don't build facilities for congregations, but rather HELP them build/remodel facilities they need for their ministry ranging from parsonages to sanctuaries from 2,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft.  The prior lives of those involved include engineers, pastors, accountants, teachers, etc. and even some with construction backgrounds.  What isn't known you learn in a hurry.  Projects can range from a few months to upwards of a year and have taken us to Georgia, Texas, Iowa (2), Minnesota and Mississippi (4).

Most stay in their own RVs (pop-ups to motor homes) in the church parking lot or RV park close to the project.  Spouses who are not rostered laborers keep busy doing their thing by assisting in the church office, volunteering at nursing homes, pre-schools, mentoring neighborhood children as there is always something to do.  When you are on-site you are considered members of the congregations, not outsiders with an added plus of seeing and exploring new areas of the country.  As you can imagine, sharing both your spiritual and working lives with your fellow workers for an extended period of time, you become very close and the Christmas card list grows each year.  For us it is a rewarding experience and we encourage those interested to explore the possibilities and learn more about these opportunities to serve and give back via their websites.

Dan Johnson will be missing our reunion but wrote this:  "I'm two years older than most of you.  That's because after the fall quarter in 1958 I flunked out of UMTC, worked for a year and a half and hitched through Europe before starting over at Gustavus.

Suddenly, I'm nearing the end of the journey.  I'll be taking my debate team to Russia for the last time this coming May.  I'm already starting to transfer duties:  a newly hired person will take over my Russian Debate Exchange program next fall and someone else will advise pre-law students and supervise mock trial competition.  And then, as in 1967 when I resigned from teaching at Hutchinson High School, I'll drive my car around to the loading dock, put a couple of cardboard boxes into the trunk and drive away, knowing that life goes on without missing a beat.  "Dan who?  What a relief, as Rod Davis used to quip, to realize once again that I'm not God!

On the other hand, the editor has finished with my Reusch copy, so now I must make those final changes.  And I'm now learning Spanish because while you're attending our reunion next fall I'll be teaching in Mexico - my last adventure while based at St. Scholastica.  Then what?  I haven't a clue."

Karyl Krantz Blair and husband, Ed '62, enjoy living in Arizona after years in the Twin City area.  When Ed retired, they relocated in Payson, AZ, living in the mountains about 80 miles northeast of Phoenix on the Beeline Highway.  She described the setting and history of Payson, the wildlife that they observe or tolerate, the ongoing challenges of water and drought, and the cowboy flair to their new community.  Here's her closing:  "Few residents of Arizona have spent their whole lives here.  Most folks came from the Midwest, northeast, or California.  Many come "to the valley" (anything in metro Phoenix) for work and eventually find jobs or retirement homes in the mountains.  Just as Minnesotans go "up to the lake," residents of the valley go "up to the mountains."  Groups of summer cabins are nestled in the pine tress, but, much to the amazement of our Minnesota eyes, there is no lake near the cabins.  However, we have located a beautiful, scenic lake in the trees about 30 miles from here, and when you visit us, we'll take you there on a picnic!"

Some of you returned your alumni surveys.  You can read it off the Gustavus website NOW rather than wait for a booklet at reunion time.  You won't want to miss this way of catching up with classmates.  It makes absolutely fantastic reading!  Go to web site at:, click on Alumni and Friends, then 1964 Reunion Page in the left margin.  The survey is organized by the questions mailed out to us.  What a great way to catch up on news!  So thanks, to those who have already returned it and a reminder to the rest of us to find, complete, and send it on.  While completing it may not be truly 'fun,' reading what our friends are sharing with us makes for a great time.

More class news is included in the Spring Quarterly.  You will feel re-connected by the time you've read that and checked out the website.

Since this is a reunion year, you will want to consider ways you can support Gustavus.  In addition to the annual fund, special groups like the Library Associates and the Linneaus Arboretum, there is now the Class of '64 Scholarship Fund.  You have been wonderfully generous and your gifts back to Gustavus provide great education and experiences for the newest rounds of Gusties.  Thanks to all who have given or made commitments this year.  Now that I've put that in, you can read on for more interesting ways to enjoy the Gustie connection.

Jim Peterson will have the inaugural ceremonies marking the beginning of his presidency on April 16th.  There are chapter meetings to connect with fellow Gusties as posted in the Quarterly.  Winter reunions are held annually in Florida and Arizona.  (Let the Alumni Office know if that should work for you.)  Enjoy musical or athletic events when they are in your area.  Check out campus news on the web site,  And come to the class reunion.

Campus News:

Building a Greater Gustavus Reaches Target

Gustavus celebrates reaching the $100 million target for the Building a Greater Gustavus capital campaign.  The campaign includes reconstruction projects following the 1998 tornados, the creation of the Center for Vocational Reflection, growth of the Christ Chapel Endowment, the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center, the Curtis and Arleen Carlson International Center, the Barbro Osher Svenska Huset (Swedish House), the new soccer and track complex, and more than 100 new scholarships.  Efforts continue to raise funds for campaign projects, such as Old Main renovation, Gustavus Alumni Fund, and further endowment growth.  Special thanks! goes to the volunteers and donors who contributed their resources to assist current and future Gusties. 

New Gustavus Video

Have you been to campus lately?  Can you remember your first time seeing Gustavus? The Admission Office has created a new video/DVD for prospective students to take a look at the College. Take a look online if you wish at <>.

Fine Arts

The Gustavus Symphonic Orchestra took a 16-day concert tour to China performing in such places as Beijing, the Great Wall, and Tianjin.  The Gustavus Choir took a 10-day concert tour to selected cities in North Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, and Minnesota and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, formerly the Gustavus Band, also toured during Spring Break.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is among leaders in Academic All-Americans.  The College Sports Information Directors of America have recently released a list of institutions with the highest number of Academic All-Americans over the past three years. Gustavus ranks 14th out of all programs competing at the NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, and NAIA levels.

Extraordinary People

Peter Krause '87 returned to Gustavus in November to meet and conduct workshops with students.  Krause has been nominated for Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy awards for his role as Nate Fisher in the critically and commercially acclaimed HBO drama, "Six Feet Under."  With the hope that the day would focus more on the students than on his newfound fame, Krause spent the afternoon doing acting work with classes and theatre and dance majors.

Great Teaching

In case you missed the note in the Fall 2003 issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, we are asking alumni to send in short reminiscences, tributes, and anecdotes about professors who made a difference in their education - "the teachers and mentors who have made a lasting impression, who have imparted life lessons, whom you remember for their wit, or their mastery, or their encouragement, or their exacting standards . . . or their idiosyncrasies." We are planning to focus an upcoming issue of the Quarterly on "great teaching" and would like to hear from those who experienced the classes of those great professors.  Send your paragraphs and stories to either Randall Stuckey '83, director of alumni relations (, or Steve Waldhauser '70 (, managing editor of the Quarterly, or in the mail to the College.

Upcoming Chapter Events

  • Sun City, Arizona, Gustavus gathering - March 19
  • Phoenix, Arizona, Gustavus gathering - March 20
  • Tucson, Arizona, Gustavus gathering - March 21

Thanks to everyone who submitted class news, returned their survey, and contributed this year to Gustavus.  Mark your calendars for that first weekend of October for our reunion and homecoming.  Have a great spring!

Joanna Carlson Swanson

1964 Co-class Agent