Class of '64
March 2009

45-Year Reunion ― May 29 & 30, 2009

Dear Classmates,

The rewards of class reunions are at least two fold:  one is the opportunity to return to Gustavus and reconnect with those with whom we shared our young adult years.  It will be interesting, planned with an eye to what you would enjoy doing, and highlight the campus as well as our favorite Gusties (namely us).  Huge thanks to Elizabeth Johnson Ekholm who enjoyed planning this.  Her information is given below and you’ll have to agree she has arranged a spectacular weekend.


The excitement is building for the greatest event of 2009―our 45th class reunion― held on Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30, at Gustavus.

I am so anxious to share the events that have been planned and the special speakers that will be a part of our programs.

When you arrive on campus Friday, you will go to the Jackson Campus Center Information Desk.  (Open 1-7 Fri. and 8:30-5:30 Sat.)  Here you will pick up your packet containing nametag, event tickets, schedule for the two days, brochures and a small gift.


2:00 PM         Reunion Seminar with President Ohle, Nobel Hall

5:00 PM         Memorial Service – Chapel

6:00 PM         Class Party - Presidential Suite of the new Football Stadium

                        for food, fun and a chance to reconnect

8:00 PM         Class Party continued and Program- Arboretum Interpretive Center

"From Student to President- How did THAT happen?”

An explanation in stories and tales by Jim Peterson, Class of 1964.

A visual tour of our college days produced by Nancy Johnsen Martin.


9:00 AM         Brunch- Alumni Hall
Program- "LOYALTY" a biography of Dr. Richard Reusch, Gustavus College Professor 1954-1964, by author Dan Johnson.

11:00 AM       Class Photo

11:30 AM       Dan Johnson book signing outside Bookmark

1:00 PM         Campus tours

2:00 PM         Reunion Seminar and informal get-togethers

4:30 PM         President's Reception and Alumni Banquet

WOW! By this time we will have met our goal:



~Elizabeth "Biz" Johnson Ekholm

Events Chairman

As you will see on the reunion postcard coming soon, Gustavus has also added a Vesper Service at 3:30 on Saturday, an Orchestra concert at 8:00pm in the Chapel, and two opportunities for photos.  For the most up-to-date schedule of events, check out our class webpage at: and put in our year.  You can even register online today at:

The other huge reward for reunion planning is that it gives opportunities to catch up and reconnect with classmates and contemporaries.  The rest of the letter is full of comments from classmates.  At my invitation, John Jungas and Kirsten LeVander Dawson wrote about how their Gustavus experience impacted their lives.

From Kirsten

In May I’m looking forward to seeing all of you from the class of 1964 at our upcoming reunion.  In anticipation I’ve been asked to write a few reflections on Gustavus’ influence on my life.

I’m the only Gustavus graduate in my immediate family but we are all Gustavians.  My husband and sons have cheered a team, listened to a concert, eaten in the cafeteria, sharpened skills at a basketball camp or attended the Nobel Conference.  All have listened to stories of professors and pranks from the ’30s (my dad’s era) and the ’60s.  All have that Swedish Lutheran “loyalty” unique to Gustavus.  It’s anybody’s guess how that spirit becomes embedded in us while we’re there, but it’s safe to say that I’ve felt compelled to spread it around.

Gustavus was chosen for me by my dad, class of 1937.  It turned out to be a great choice for an English education major and speech minor.  This is my 45th year working in schools.  I split my 35 years at Mounds View High School between teaching and chemical dependency counseling until retirement in 1999.  In 2000 I started working in Catholic schools and remain at Cretin-Derham Hall today.  Starting in 1980 I put my speech minor to work as a trainer.  I’ve consulted across the country teaching teachers and parents in both high schools and colleges who want to learn more about helping young addicts.  Gustavus prepared me on both the academic and the service sides of teaching and counseling.

Sitting in the canteen drinking coffee and listening to someone imitate a professor, critique a book, or expound on a recent play…these were absolutely formative experiences.  Being a Gustie has enriched my life with solid friendships based on such shared experiences.  When nine women from our class get together we have to set an agenda to cover our competing topics.  We laugh and sing and stay up late just like we did in the dorm days.  And my dear friend, Bill Holm ’65, whose life we celebrated yesterday, was a gift to all of us through his music and poetry.

Daily chapel (required when we started) wasn’t always a favorite, but it did encourage an appreciation for the great hymns of the church, sung so enthusiastically by hundreds of “Luther Leaguers.”  And Elvee’s poetic sermons were benchmarks by which to compare many future lukewarm sermons throughout life after college.

And remember those rules, unique to the women; hours and late minutes, no smoking on campus?  Those rules now long since struck down by the women’s movement.

Finally, I remember with great affection and have tried to emulate the willingness of many professors to have personal conversations with students.  I’m grateful for the time Esbjornson ’41 spent straightening me out on some theological issue, and the countless times Bill Robertz ’51 sent me back down Hello Walk to the library to re-work my oration.  These memories exist because someone took the time to make a deep impression on a student.

And from Jack

Was Gustavus a large factor in my life?  Certainly so.  These were years of extending thoughts and dreams for the future through education.  These were also years of gaining friends for life even if you don’t see them for years.  The memories of fraternities, banquets, bull sessions, quick conversations on Hello Walk, sporting events, the arts, intramural sports, choir tours and chapel, are all a part of maturing and becoming a strong part of society.  These all had to somehow fit between attempts at learning.  Ahhh the learning.  Even learning can be fun when the personalities of the professors are sharp and witty.  And there were many that come to mind.  To state a few is certainly leaving many out.  Here is an attempt of mine, however.  Dr. Hamrum ’47, Dr. Reusch, Dr. Kendall ’49, Dr. Martinson, Kyle Montague ’34, Dr. Eugene Johnson, are the possible favorites along with Phil Knautz ’48, Gustavus Choir director.  It also takes a diversified student body to encourage learning and make it challenging.

There is another thing that was very unique, as I had the same person (pun intended) (Doug Person) for a roommate for all four years.  I’m sure no one could have found a more decent and quality room partner.

There are only a few that can claim the Gustavus Choir to be a matchmaker.  However, it was through choir that I first met Becky (Lidfors ’66), my wife of 43 years.  WOW!  It was a very good thing tenors were in demand.

Since we live in southwest Minnesota, we will occasionally drive through the campus.  It is almost unrecognizable as are the young kids parading with their minds mainly tuned to an i-pod or cell phone.  I am sure many of the cell phone calls are not long distance.  We have certainly lived through a huge change in technology since college i.e. switchboards, typewriters, record players and etc.

We are very pleased with our Gustavus experience and what it has helped us be, Happily RETIRED!!!!!!

Here is the first round of information gleaned from callers.  More will follow as it comes in.

Geri Bakken Ramsfield lives in Winslow, Arkansas and is a retired social worker.  She does adoption home studies from her home.  She holds a master’s degree from University of Wisconsin and belongs to professional social work organizations.  She and her husband, Jim, have always been active in their churches, primarily Baptist.  She wrote:

‘We continue to live somewhat as we did in the 1970’s when we “moved back to the land” in northwest Arkansas.  We still raise lots of goats for meat, milk, and cheese and raise and ‘put up’ the produce from a large garden (Jim does it all).  We’ve raised two sons, two S.D. foster children, my two stepchildren, and 10 adopted children with multiple special needs.  Four of the 10 are still in school and live at home.  Most have been, or are involved in special education classes.  All of the above keeps us busy and feeling young!!!

Rose Ann Skoog Parks asked: “Do you know all those projects that one saved for ‘after retirement?’”  She has not gotten to them either!  Her excuse?  “Jim and I take off in our van across the USA including a wonderful trip to Alaska last May and June; see our grandchildren more often; help care for Jim’s mom in assisted living; and travel in Central Europe.  Jim volunteered through Global Mission/ELCA to teach English in Kosice, Slovakia last semester in a Lutheran High School.”  They are now home and hoping to attend the reunion and Rose Ann has a Facebook page!

Char Olson Jerney lives near Madison, Wisconsin.  She is still active in nursing as a consultant for surgical services which takes her to various parts of the U.S. for extended periods of time.  Char also enjoys traveling, marathon running, skiing, and kayaking.  Char plans to attend our reunion.

Jean (Axdahl) and Rod Bahnson have been in Arizona.  Jean and Rod have traveled the country over the past 10 years in a 42 foot motor home.  They settle down at their home in Iowa for the summer.  Their son and daughter–in–law and two granddaughters (19 and 9) live in Longmont, California.  There is a motor trip to Alaska in the plans – hopefully before or after our reunion.

Gordon Olseen is recently retired and enjoying the life of a snowbird.

Marcia Weyrauch Sympson lives in Louisville, KY.  She has three grandsons:  Jon, Leo and Sammy.

Margaret Ims Selfridge lives in Wayzata and is a retired teacher.

Michael and Sandra Hendrickson live in Monterey, CA nine months of the year and return to Bayfield, WI for the summer months.  Michael continues as president/CEO of Monterey Bay Geriatric Resource Center, a regional consortium dedicated to geriatrics and chronic care management training for health professionals.  Sandra coordinates geriatric/chronic care management program at the VA clinic in Monterey.  Their daughter, Kristine ’93 is a pediatric critical care physician at St. Paul and Minneapolis Children’s Hospital.  Mike and Sandy are members of the Monterey Symphony Chorus that performs major pieces with the symphony.

Carole Erickson Larsen retired to Arkansas after working as a project manager for Wells Fargo.  Carole is very content just to play―golf, bridge, mah jong, etc.  Carole’s son has three children who are a great reason to make return visits to Minnesota.

One of our callers, Sharon Peterson Robinson located Shirley Schmidt Vold at her winter retreat, Timber Pines, a golfing community north of Tampa.  In addition to golfing, Shirley fills her retirement with gardening, reading, volunteering, and playing bridge.  Her Gustavus bridge group tailgates at the Twins training site in Fort Myers in March.  Shirley’s son and his wife live in Virginia and she goes there as often as she can to see her two wonderful granddaughters, Julie and Courtney.  Shirley plans to attend our reunion.

Kay Kroeger Bourgerie retired from teaching and enjoys spending her time with her five grandchildren and their activities.  This involves hockey games and even an Amtrak trip with her granddaughters to the American Girl Store in Chicago.

Carol Eide Lerfald retired from the Hopkins School District in 2001.  She loves her new job― providing full time day care for her grandchildren:  Sophie, 3 ½ and Steven, 1 ½.  Carol’s husband, Robert, died in 2000.  She has two children, John and Katie.

Carol Gilbertson Lind:  Carol and her husband, Don, live in North Mankato.  They have two sons.  Don needs around-the-clock care.  Carol hopes to attend the reunion.

Paul and Anne (Lawson) Larson are retired and live in San Juan Capistrano, CA.  They have two daughters, one of whom will have their first grandchild right around the time of our reunion.  New grandchild trumps college reunions, so they will not be able to attend.

Sharon Stueland Olson is planning to attend our reunion.  She and Ken ’65 have a son, Brett ’03, living in Fort Lauderdale.

Eleanor Johnson Anderson and Lowell ’62 currently live in Crawfordsville, Indiana.  Elli retired in 2003.  She sews church banners.

Shirley Smith Franklin writes plays and achieved a reading of a play a year ago.  She is now rewriting the play with the goal of having it produced.  She and her husband have established a non-profit organization called Pushpa which provides microloans and incentives for generating self help projects to move people to more sustainable livelihoods in Andhra Pradesh, South India.

Annika Molander Kjollerstrom.  According to friend, Shirley Smith Franklin, Annika lives in Sweden and is planning to attend the reunion.  She may travel the greatest distance.

Marilyn Marshall Lee and Don moved to Little Rock, Arkansas last October.  Marilyn is definitely planning to attend the reunion.

Marcia Johnson Lindseth and her husband plan to attend the reunion.  They keep a very busy schedule and especially enjoy their two grandchildren, ages 3 and 5.

Miriam Borg Teeter retired as a fourth grade teacher after teaching for 31 years, mostly in the Redwood City, CA schools.  She is hoping to attend the reunion, but is also anticipating a grandchild in June and may need to change plans.

Lynn McKenzie Thompson wrote, “My big news this year is that I am a first time Grandma!  Little Jacob Palm was born Dec. 7 and we have already been to meet him.  He lives with parents Dave and Marcy in Ft. Collins, CO.  My husband, Ardell, and I are volunteers with the AARP tax assistance program for seniors and low income taxpayers in Willmar.  He does the taxes and I take the appointments.  We enjoy it.”

Linda Lindborg Baehr has a brand new granddaughter, Ivy Grace, born to her son and daughter-in-law.  Linda baby-sits Ivy’s older brother, Eliot, one day each week.  Linda continues to do lots of needlework and especially enjoys using silk threads on linen.  She works one day each week in a shop that sells all kinds of needlework materials.

We’ll continue with our news blitz in the next letter.  Remember, you can also submit news on the website or return it with your gift.

The standard closer for the class letter is so predictable.  You know it is coming!  So here it is!  Thanks to all who have given to Gustavus this year.  If you haven’t given yet―please consider now what you would like to do to remember a milestone in your life.  Our goal operates off of a three year pledge, which is really attractive now.  You can write a check, return a pledge card, or give on line.  Forty five thousand thanks to all.

Linda is skiing, so I sign off alone this time.

Joanna Carlson Swanson

1964 Co-class Agent

Upcoming Events

  • Gustavus Library Associates - Arbor Day, April 7
  • Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Steve Wilkinson, men’s tennis coach – April 15
  • Linnaeus Symposium, campus - April 22, 2009
  • MayDay Peace Conference – April 29