Class of '64
November 2004

Dear Classmates

As usual, I am down to the wire in writing this letter.  It's now 9 a.m. and this evening my son, "Gus" and I are flying to San Francisco for two nights and then on to New Zealand for an eleven-day visit with friends of both mine and “Gus'.”  Then back to San Francisco with a short visit to see Judy (Kaeding) and Nick Larsen in Palo Alto.  My bag is packed and now I am doing last minute details such as setting the timers, burying the roses, re-cementing the front steps, and taking my 17-year-old dog to the vet to put her to sleep.  There's lots on my mind.  I have been thinking about all of you.  It was so good to see so many at the reunion in October.  "Kirk" LeVander Dawson put together a list from our class that have died.  I enclose it here for those that were not at the reunion.

  • Merry Jones Anderson             08/08/2001
  • LoRene Sponberg Coffman      05/17/1993
  • Marcia Berg Conrad                 06/06/1994
  • Roger Dahlberg                        date unknown
  • Julia Jorgensen De Geer            11/07/1997
  • Ervin R. Dotseth                       12/25/1999
  • Charles M. Edwards                 11/12/1995
  • Hope Walfrid Erickson             01/10/2002
  • Harold A. Feldstrom                 03/21/1988
  • Olivia Moe Hanson                   12/18/2000
  • Judith Carlson Harder               05/04/1991
  • Ruth Theivagt Hokanson           09/12/1984
  • Lee Hollingsworth                     12/26/1975
  • Robert J. Huse                         09/30/1990
  • Barbara Rorbach Jensen           03/21/1994
  • Wilma J. Johnson                      date unknown
  • Sandy Bottge Lipke                  09/19/1997
  • James A. Matchan                    02/21/0991
  • Pat Anderson Milgrim               10/18/1990
  • Charleen Rajala Mracek           08/16/1991
  • Robert E. Oien Jr.                    05/20/2001
  • Fred C. Olson                          02/12/1963
  • Bruce Palm                               03/25/1995
  • Dennis L. Pearson                    date unknown
  • Marjorie Johnson Putnam         date unknown
  • Jerald W. Raarup                     06/06/1992
  • John Tideman                           02/09/1987
  • Dean R. Treichel                       03/19/1985
  • Karen Holmberg Wilson           11/01/2001

I know there were some changes in this list and some dates known but at this minute in time I have not seen the changes.  My apologies for any mistakes.  So there we were, at the reunion, lots of visiting and surprises at seeing old friends from the past.  Much noise!  We also felt very special because our own classmate Jim Peterson is now the President of Gustavus!  We chuckled and laughed at "in jokes" that were to "stay in that room."  Jim has a vision for the college and I think a wonderful choice for leading it in the next years.  How would you at our age like to tackle a job so daunting when it would be so nice just to retire.  Thank you Jim, for taking on the responsibility of keeping Gustavus a good place and striving to make it really great!

We heard from a few speakers and Joanna Lundgren Kuehn led us in song as well as had the former cheerleaders gotten up to do a cheer.  We sang "Remember" (...Remember the times you had here.  Remember when you're away.  Remember the friends you made here and don't forget to come back some day.  Remember the hills and valleys the sky so heavenly blue.  For you belong to GA college and Gustavus belongs to you!)

Karna Peterson and Judy Kaeding Larsen stayed with me in Minneapolis and the next morning we drove to Gustavus for the memorial service that is held on reunion weekends to honor those that have died in the past year.  Judy's mom passed away this past spring so we wanted to get to the service.  Wow!  The chapel, so large and filled with the wonderful organ music.  And the silence of when it stops....

We were at our class luncheon and then had a wonderful tour of the Gustavus Arboretum (former cornfields near the "new" girls dorms).  Jim Gilbert ’62 is now the head of that beautiful place.  A waterfall was dedicated that day too.  We walked through the prairie grass...normally from 6-8 feet tall was stunted with very cold temperatures early this past summer.  We got to view the Borgeson log cabin, moved onto the site.  The arboretum is well used by the college.  Professors and students are encouraged to use it for classes, thinking etc.

We toured some of the new buildings on campus and then it was time for the parent-student-alumni banquet.  As usual, terrific food.  We were all inspired at the first decade alumni winners.  They have gone on to great things in the ten years since their graduation but also commented on how Gustavus was so important in shaping their views and values.  It showed how it is a lasting institution with lifelong values.

One of the best parts of the weekend was relaxing after dinner in the " Linner Lounge" of the Student Union.  We were not many but it was so interesting to visit and hear from each other in such a relaxed way.

Many of us that weekend vowed to see each other more than at the next reunion.  Maybe make it a vow to contact one friend from Gustavus that you have not heard from in a long time.  Think of how great it would feel if someone did that for you...  If you need to contact someone and do not know their address the Alumni Office can help with addresses and or phone numbers.  Can you do one?  Before Christmas?  Maybe in January?

I attended the Nobel conference the week just after the reunion.  The topic was aging.  Sharon Peterson Robinson's husband, Tim ’65 (on the faculty at Gustavus) was in charge.  His wry wit and friendly style was enjoyed by both the scientists and the audience.  Lots of our classmates were in attendance.  Next year the topic is Einstein and the usual date has been changed to the last part of September, Tuesday and Wednesday, September 27 and 28.  It is a nice exercise for our brains.

Many of us are retired now and are traveling more, moving to Florida or Arizona or just taking it easy.  I took a class last spring about writing your family stories through the Elder Learning Institute at the University of Minnesota.  Gustavus' own J. Stephen Benson ’63 has kept this going.  Now they got a big grant and have changed the name to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (known as OLLI).  It was impossible to say no to Steve when he called and asked if I would teach "The Art of Handmade Books.”  I was surprised when I said yes.  Yesterday was my last class.  The class was from 10 a.m. to 11:30 on Thursdays.  During the day is nice―no 8 o'clock classes....  Nice people willing to learn to share your passions.

Our own Nancy Johnsen Martin taught one also about how to take all those old photos, negatives and slides, scan them and put them into Microsoft Word with tabs so that you can find what you want when you want them.  She did that with all of her family's pics and identified who they were and approximate time or year.  Then Nancy presented each of her children with a CD of all the photos.  Wow!  I was impressed.  Nancy said she'd give me lessons since her class was right after mine but across the city, so I could not attend.  One thing that impressed me was that she scanned those old tiny black and white photos taken with our Brownie box cameras.  She was able to enlarge them so that she could see the faces and then identify them.

Well, enough rambling about me and Gustavus.  I have a packet of news that I got from the Alumni Office in September during the Class Agents’ Day on campus.  So here goes.  I know it is certainly really old news and that those grandchildren mentioned have probably added a birthday by now, but please understand.


Mary Strand Slinde ’66 and Ken Slinde write that as of June 2003 they had just finished three weddings and that each couple had brought forth one grandchild and since then their Jenny and Greg have another.  Wow for grandchildren! 

Paula Yocum Olson was at the reunion and is enjoying retirement in Amery, Wisconsin.  She and her hubby go to Arizona and Texas to visit their daughters.  Paula has been working with an autistic child in his home.

Susan Hill Jones and Bruce Jones have retired to a lively rural area at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  They write that they are involved in the mentoring of children, environmental organizations, planting a preserve to attract and observe wildlife. 

Laurel Prieve Hoheisel and Raymond of Cambridge, Minnesota are by now enjoying their first grandchild, having retired from teaching second grade.

Judy Swenson Dummer-Myers has moved and now is living in Chanhassen, MN (a new growing western suburb of Minneapolis).  She retired from teaching on June 13, 2004.

Marcia Johnson Lindseth and husband Marv are retired.  Both of them were at the reunion and at Nobel.  Their big news is that they became grandparents.  Their oldest son, Erik, and his wife, Kirsten, had a baby son born March 18 and named him Owen Andrew Benson Lindseth.

It was good to see Stan and Sylvia (Wilson) Kittelson at the reunion.  Stan is a retired airline pilot and is now working for the FAA.  Sylvia is teaching 1st grade in Litchfield.  They have 6 grandchildren under 3 and were supposed to have another in July ’04....(see, old news.)

Linda Lindborg Miles in LaCrosse, Wisconsin was at the reunion.  She is retired and occasionally working at a needlework shop.  Besides her needlework hobby she has spent the past few years researching her Swedish ancestors.  It included a trip to Sweden to find the parishes they lived in.  Linda said she got her sisters involved too.

Sharron Anderson Erickson from our class and husband, Steve, live in St. Cloud.  She reports that they are enjoying retirement.  They have four grandchildren including twin grandsons born in January 2004.  She says they spend much of their time making travel plans and traveling.  They have enjoyed two trips to Sweden in the past two years.

Cleyo Keller Mathews lives in Alberton, Montana with her husband, William, (Bill?)  They moved to Montana nine years ago after frequent visits for 20 years.  Cleyo tells of her new church being an old trailer and folding chairs.  A big contrast from the church they left in Mahtomedi, St. Andrews.

In Hudson,Wisconsin Carol Berg Gustafson and husband, Richard, have two grandchildren.  She does daycare for two children.  Are they your grandchildren?

Karen Larvik is teaching piano again at the university level.  Her husband Russell Greenhagen, recently retired.  He is a Macalester ’64 grad.  They reside in Jefferson City, MO.

Judy Fletcher Kloster is still in Willmar and is teaching ELL (English Language Learners) and Reading Recovery.  They have a two-year-old grandchild and by now have another.  Her husband, Harold, is self employed in graphic arts.

Rod and Jean (Axdahl) Bahnson are in Inwood, Iowa.  They love to travel in their motor home.  Last year they went to Florida, on to Texas and Colorado, Illinois and Indiana.  They enjoy retirement. 

Paul and Ann (Lawson) Larson were part of a large contingent of classmates at the reunion that came from California.  They are still in San Juan Capitrano, California.  Paul has been doing some executive coaching and Ann is still recovering from a difficult Lasik surgery.

Eldora Carlson Pearson reported that she was planning a trip to China this past summer.  We want a full report!!  She has been teaching part-time...out of administration.  She is the grandmother of two who live in Guatemala. 

Betty Carlson Lahmers and husband, Gerald, are in Melrose, Minnesota.  She is at the St. Cloud Technical College teaching studio art.

Penny (Johnson) and Bill ’63 Rodman are in Ramsey, Minnesota (north of Anoka).  Penny is still teaching in Ramsey.  They probably had another grandchild since we talked to her at Phonorama in April.  Penny said she had lost her parents, sister and brother-in-law all in the past year and a half.

Joe Reese sent a business card that says he's with the Oreck Cleaning Center in two places, east and west, Tucson, Arizona.

Portia (Benepe) Rey and husband, Giorgio, were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but are or have moved to blue sky and sun in Prescott, Arizona.  She rides behind her husband on their BMW motorcycle...they went throughout the southwestern part of the USA.

Joanie Poquette is in Santa Rosa, California.  She is working in transcripts at Santa Rosa Junior College.  She can take classes then.  Her sister and brother-in-law are in Woodbury (suburb of St. Paul).  Joanie gave up her decorating business.

Marcia Weyrauch Sympson is in Louisville, Kentucky.  When I spoke to her at Phonorama she had just returned for a 4,000-mile road trip vacation.  One of the highlights was Bluebonnets that were blooming in Texas and New Mexico.  It was a nine-day vacation.  Marcia's daughter moved from LA to Nebraska, only 150 miles from Denver.  Marcia and her mom and daughter were then going to visit Yellowstone.  Marcia often sends email pictures of her grandson, now four.  Valera, Marcia's mom, lives with her.

Well, that's the news from Lake Woebegone...  It's fun to read.  Now YOU have to send in what's new with you so we can pass it on.  Keep up on old friends, sometimes they are the best part of life.  Joanna Carlson Swanson will give us an update on our class gift and then the college will now add some campus news to this letter.  Remember, you do not have to wait five more years to contact one of your old Gustie friends, you could do it today!  Let the Alumni Office help find a lost friend.

My love to you all.  Thanks for remembering Gustavus!  Now I am off to see if the temperature is high enough to patch my flagstone and cement steps.

Linda Leonardson Hallman

1964 Co-class Agent

Dear Classmates,

A tremendous thanks to all of you for your participation in the Gustavus Alumni Fund, the Class of 1964 Endowed Scholarship, and all the other avenues of giving that enriched Gustavus.  We raised in outright gifts and pledges well over $23,000 for the scholarship.  A number of classmates declared their intent to include Gustavus in their estate planning.  Gifts to the Alumni Fund, the Scholarship Fund and the estate gift declarations plus a few other categories (like endowment gifts and matching gifts) when lumped together, total close to $800,000!  The class of ’64 is generous and Gustavus is very grateful.

Another round of thanks to those who took the initiative in raising money this past year for what the college calls “The Anniversary Celebration Gift.”  Kirsten Levander Dawson, Deanna Nelson, Dick Swenson and Mike Hendrickson set high goals and worked hard to accomplish so much.  For those who couldn't come to the reunion, a photo-op size check was presented to Jim Peterson from our class with the grand total mentioned above.

Our scholarship gift is still just a little shy of the threshold needed ($26,000) Kirsten suggested to me that if just 18 more classmates would join us in giving another $50, we would easily have the amount necessary.  So as the end of the year approaches or you consider your yearly gift to Gustavus, perhaps you would enjoy helping a college student (class of ’06, ’07, or ’08) have the kind of experience we had, and will add a gift to Gustavus for the class scholarship fund.

Have a good winter:  enjoy retirement, traveling, family, or work.  Keep in touch with friends from your college years.  Thanks for everything.

Joanna Carlson Swanson ’64

1964 Co-class Agent

Campus News:

143rd Academic Year Begins

Classes began Sept. 8 with 657 first-year Gustavus students and 2,500 in all.  Long-standing orientation traditions such as the Square Dance and President’s Banquet have been joined by newer traditions like Gustie Greeter Orientation Groups and the Reading in Common program.  These newer programs were created to provide a more meaningful transition and to encourage students to meet others outside their residence hall.

Nobel Conference, The Science of Aging

The 40th Anniversary of the Nobel Conference was on the Science of Aging.  The campus hosted over 6,000 guests October 5-6 to learn about the research molecular biologist are conducting on longevity, Alzheimer’s, and delaying debilitating disease and how this impacts life expectancy, the economy, and the health-care system.

New Residence Hall

Work crews have been busy this summer and fall constructing a new residence hall on campus.  The goal is to have the building enclosed before winter.  The building, located southwest of the football field, will house 200 students in suites and apartments and is scheduled to open for fall 2005.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, realtor, and much more?  Make it a Gustie!  The Gustie Pages is an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to be your customers.

Athletics Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has chosen eight individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2004 inductees include Lori Allen ’88 (golf), Jim Chalin ’76 (basketball), Bruce Edwards ’77 (ice hockey), Barb Jaeger ’88 (soccer), Dean Kraus ’89 (football), Pachi Lopez ’71 (soccer), Greg Peterson ’88 (golf), and Gary Reinholtz (long-time athletic trainer, benefactor).  This group was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which was Saturday, October 16.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings.  Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges for overall quality (Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. John’s).  The ranking groups schools into categories based on a national educational classification that includes national liberal arts colleges, national doctoral universities (University of Minnesota, St. Thomas), regional master's degree-granting universities (Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Bethel, Augsburg), and comprehensive regional colleges (Concordia-St Paul).

Upcoming Events

  • Christmas in Christ Chapel: “Seasons of Promise” – December 3-5
  • St. Lucia Festival – December 9
  • Class of 1954 and 50-Year Club Reunion – May 27-28
  • Class Reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 – October 7-9, 2005