Class of '64
April 2009

45-Year Reunion ― May 29 & 30, 2009

Hi Gustie classmates,

This is another “reunion-oriented” letter.  You’ll find a lot of information:  a paper registration form, a good idea of some of those attending, some lists, and more news from callers.  It is only six weeks away!

For those of you who can’t attend, you’ll enjoy reading about these friends from your youth.  And Gustavus always adds a little on news from the hill.

To answer your question, “who all is coming?”  Here is an early answer.  From the Gustavus Website (which might be based on registration received and not 100% up to date):

  • Emmy Hanson Abello
  • Eleanor Johnson Anderson
  • Sue Bolmgren Anderson
  • Barb Koehn Bauman
  • Karyl Krantz Blair
  • Nicky Kerpen Bredeson
  • Camille Janzen Bunch
  • Kirsten LeVander Dawson
  • Elizabeth Johnson Eckholm
  • Shirley Smith Franklin
  • Karen Benson Hanson
  • Vicki Krenik Hedlin
  • Carolyn Johnson Holje
  • Helen Brostrom Ihrig
  • Charlotte Olson Jerney
  • John Johnson
  • Joyce Wallinder Johnson
  • Sharon Hansen Johnson
  • Gary Kenning
  • Annika Molander Kjollerstrom
  • Paul Kuehn
  • Joanna Lundgren Kuehn
  • Karen Larvick
  • Marilyn Marshall Lee
  • Marcia Johnson Lindseth
  • Nancy Johnsen Martin
  • Joan Carlstrom Morehouse
  • Deanna Nelson
  • Jim Peterson
  • Karna Peterson
  • Lynn Ostebo Peterson
  • Sharon Peterson Robinson
  • Earl Rodine
  • Ken Slinde
  • David Spong
  • Dick Swenson
  • Mike Torkelson
  • Lynn Kirchoff Torkelson
  • Shirley Schmidt Vold
  • Nancy Johnson Vrieze
  • Elizabeth Proeschel Wold
  • plus Linda Leonardson Hallman and myself (Joanna Carlson Swanson).
  • Information gleaned from callers expands the list to include:
  • Marlys Olson Waldron
  • Carol Albrecht Peterson
  • Susan Hill Jones
  • Judy Friesen Winters
  • Valerie Donner Sechler
  • Stan Kittelson
  • Sylvia Wilson Kittelson
  • Paula Yocum Olson
  • Denny Dietz
  • Cathy Moe Dietz
  • Donna Olsenius Hammer
  • Jane Chelgren McFadden
  • Sharon Stueland Olson
  • Linda Hammarberg Willette
  • Joanell Sletta Dyrstad.

I’m very sure this list is not complete, so my apologies in advance to anyone left off.

Classmates hoping to attend, but not certain at the time they were called:  Margy Forsman Nelson, Karen Whitehead Eustath, Jane Johnson Odell, Linda Lindborg Baehr, Rose Anne Skoog Parks.

Class News

Marcia Johnson Lindseth lives in Prescott, WI.  She retired in 2006 after 35 years as a school principal and director of curriculum and assessment.  Marcia and her husband, Marvin, a retired 3M Company engineer, have three children and two grandchildren.  Marcia and Marvin have traveled to all 50 states, several countries, and have lived for three years in Germany and one year in Tanzania while they were doing mission work with Operation Bootstrap Africa.  Marcia keeps busy now with church work as a member of her church council, chair of the call committee, president of the Conference W/ELCA, and vice-president of the Northwest Wisconsin Synod W/ELCA.

Jane Johnson Odell is hoping to attend the reunion, but has grandchildren graduating who live out of state. Once dates are set for graduation parties, she’ll know if she can be with us.

Sharon Spande Geurkink spends winters outside of Phoenix where she has a son and grandchildren.  She spends summers in Missouri where her daughter and grandchildren live.  Grandchildren:  four―three boys and one girl ages nine to three.  She taught school after college graduation and left the classroom to raise her two children.  For many years she had a private business in her home teaching tole painting to adults.  In 2006 her husband passed away.  She will not be able to attend our reunion.  Her one trip north will be in August for a family wedding.

Val Donner Sechler and Jerry live on Green Lake in Spicer.  Jerry is still working and Val teaches piano.  Val and Jerry are coming to the reunion.

Judy Friesen Winters:  Judy and Bob are driving out via the national parks for the reunion.  They are both enjoying retirement and grandchildren.

Joanell Sletta Dyrstad:  They winter in Punta Gorda, Florida.  She and Marv will be coming to the reunion.  They are enjoying retirement and two grandchildren, Anja and Kjell.  Joanell has been selected to join the board of trustees for the American Hospital Association based in Chicago.

Gloria Krenz Kenow hopes to return for the reunion if she and her husband are not in South Africa for a wedding on the same weekend.  (The wedding date had not been finalized at the time of her phone call.)  She and her husband had four children and now are enjoying seven grandchildren.

Stan and Sylvia Wilson Kittelson:  Sy retired in 2006 and Stan now works for the FAA in the Twin Cities.

Marilyn Marshall Lee is married to Donald, who is retired from Metro Machine and Hydraulics, and they have three children.  She writes, “In Bloomington, MN, we raised our family, worked, attended school, and worshipped at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.  I have sung in our church choir, led summer Bible school, served on the church council, led the mission committee, and quilted with the St. Luke’s Lutheran World Relief mission quilters, “Pins, Giggles, and Tears.”  I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a B. S. degree in elementary education and a minor in music.  I continued my education with an additional 60 credits in the ’70s and ’80s and earned a M. A. Ed. degree from Hamline University in ’96.  I taught grades one through four in the Bloomington Public Schools for 35 years and retired in 1999.  Don and I have moved to Little Rock, AR to be near one of our daughters and her family.  In January of ’09, we joined Faith Lutheran Church in Little Rock.  We look forward to many years with this community of faith.  

Paula Yocum Olson and Rod have six children.  Their daughter had a serious car accident some time ago, is fully recovered, runs half marathons, teaches P.E. and health, AND graduated from Gustavus.  Paula works four days a week as activities director in an assisted living center.  She manages coffee chats, reads stories, shows videos of travel and animals, holds a Bible class, and does Yoga with the residents.

Sue Tofte Hildebrand is retired.

Dick Swenson, who has been helping contact classmates, has been in Rochester, MN for medical care.  For updates and to leave Dick a message, go to and sign in for dickswenson.

Class letters always includes a thank you for your gifts.  The last email I received from Gustavus had tallied almost 50% of you have given or pledged to recognize your graduation.  Thanks to all who have been generous.  For those who have postponed or procrastinated, it is easy to use the   web site to give electronically.  But Gustavus is equally happy with checks and regular mail!  And pledges count too.

If you haven’t received a call from a classmate, our apologies.  We had great intentions to track down everyone, but I doubt we made contact with all 250 of us.  So, please send in news―what you enjoy doing, traveling, volunteer activities, family―Linda or I will get it out in the next letter and your friends will enjoy reading about you!

1964 Co-class Agent

Here is one last reflection.  Marilyn Marshall Lee shared her memories of how she arrived at Gustavus, who influenced her, and fond memories.

Reflections of Marilyn Marshall Lee

I always knew that I would go to Gustavus.  When I was seven years old, my family made a difficult trip from California to Minnesota to visit my grandparents in Minneapolis.  We traveled over narrow mountain roads from one mountain spring to another to get water for the radiator of an old car that overheated constantly.  While everyone was sleeping my father took a detour through St. Peter.  We drove up the hill to Gustavus.  The lights were on and my father simply said, “Marilyn, this is where you will go to college.”  I can still see those lights in my mind’s eye and I never even considered another school.  In 1964, I graduated and my father, J. Clifford Marshall ’34, celebrated his 30th year as a graduate.

Gustavus was perfect for me.  The professors were brilliant and interested in us as individuals.  One of my saviors was Dean Swanson.  Every semester, I would ask him to approve two extra semester credits for voice lessons beyond those approved by the advisor for my elementary education major. The first time I made my request, he asked, “Do I see some artistic temperament coming out of you?”  Of course, I denied it.  Every semester, Dean Swanson would visit with me with a kindness in his eyes that looked out through wire rim glasses (the old fashioned style we wear now) and always sign the necessary permission.  I took voice lessons from Arthur Cavara.  Did any of us consider the immense change in Mr. Cavara’s life?  He left Latvia, where he was a leading operatic tenor, to teach voice lessons in a little town in Minnesota.  He and many other people at Gustavus helped me reach one of my goals―to sing in an opera.  The opera was “La Traviata.”  I memorized it silently in the library.

I have told many people that I love to go to church.  Chapel every morning was a consistent part of my life at Gustavus.  There are funny memories of birds flying during chapel in our freshman year.  Dr. Carlson simply changed the text to, “Yea, the sparrow hath found her a house, and the swallow a nest, where she may lay her young,”  Psalm 84.  Then there was the excitement of worshipping in Christ Chapel for three years with Dr. Alwardt at the organ.  When I have the opportunity to visit Christ Chapel and hear the organ, I weep.  The tears are memories but more than that, the tears come from deep within my heart for the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and the beauty and power of a loving God.

I don’t remember everything that I learned, but the teachers inspired a love of learning that has continued for life.  I am grateful for the elementary education major.  Teaching was the perfect fit for me.  I was able to pass on the love of learning that was inspired by professors like Robert Moline who had such an enthusiasm for geography that I wanted to share that with my students.  I was able to use my music minor to teach music in my classroom and as part of team teaching situations.  One of the greatest joys of teaching elementary students is observing the creative way that they reason out solutions to problems and think of ingenious ways of looking at things.

Most of us stayed on campus with few trips home.  I had great times in the dorm, sorority friendships, on campus activities and visits to Bethesda to visit the nurses.  I treasure these friendships as they are often the tangible touch of God’s love and care in my life.  I did not have a career in singing but I had what I wanted most.  I have been blessed with a wonderful husband, Don, three beautiful children, Alli, Christina, and Ben, sons-in-law, Dave and Kristopher, a son’s fiance, Lauren, and three beautiful grandchildren, Ian, Cora, and Charlie (who died at 7 ½ months on 10/15/08).  The foundation for God’s love, family, education, the community of faith, and friends prepare us for the joys, routines, and sorrows of life.

Truly, as I completed this memory, my four-year-old granddaughter, Cora, came into the room.  To carry on the tradition of introducing Gustavus to the young, I showed her pictures of Christ Chapel on the website and promised to buy her a Gustavus sweatshirt at the reunion.  I hope to see you there.

Campus News

Update on Commission Gustavus 150

Recently posted to the Commission website is a summary of the common issues and “big ideas” discussed at the first nine National Summit meetings regarding the College’s five core values (Excellence, Faith, Justice, Service, and Community).  The participants were asked how the College might ensure that the core values would be lived out in the lives of alumni, faculty, staff, and students.  The summary is being shared with all members of the eight task forces of Commission Gustavus 150.  The common issues and big ideas will help shape the recommendations made by the Task Forces to the Gustavus Board of Trustees and ultimately form the basis for the College’s long-range strategic plan.

Congratulations to the Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics Team, which won its second straight Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Championship on Sunday, Feb. 22.  Gustavus finished with 446 points to beat out Minnesota State University, Mankato (408 points) and Concordia College, Moorhead (213 points).  Gustavus placed first in 6 of 13 events and placed four individuals in the top seven of the individual sweepstakes standings.  First-year student, Chloe Radcliffe, placed first in the individual sweepstakes and senior, Tasha Carlson, will represent Minnesota at the 2009 Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest―the oldest speaking competition in the country―on April 25 in Oxford, Mississippi.

Hockey Finals

The men’s hockey team made its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship game at Herb Brooks Ice Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Saturday, March 21.  They lost a great game to Neumann College, 4-1.  The women’s hockey team lost 2-1 to UW-River Falls in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Join us for a cup of coffee, breakfast, and great conversation.  Our featured presenter for May will be Kathi Tunheim, assistant professor for economics and management.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, Wednesday, May 20, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.

MayDay!  Peace Conference

“Tiananmen + 20 Years” is the topic of Gustavus Adolphus College’s 29th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference to be held Wednesday, April 29, 2009 on the college campus.

royal affair