Class of '69
July 2009

40-Year Reunion― October 9 & 10, 2009

Dear Classmates,

This edition of our reunion year class letter comes to us from Terry Danger, who serves as pastor of Saint John’s Lutheran in Hollywood, Florida.  Terry reminds us of other facets of living and learning at Gustavus during a period of great social and political change.

Coffee, conversation, and memories…

Terry Danger

July 2009.  My favorite memories of Gustavus begin with coffee at the Canteen.  Sitting at one of the small, square tables,  sipping a bottomless five-cent cup of coffee, and munching a giant, sugary Persian, I could talk with fascinating people, including professors, students, staff, and visitors.  These conversations helped shape the way I approach issues and ideas, even today.  One of the special gifts of GAC was that so many amazing minds were accessible to us in the informal setting of that wonderful old Canteen, where people got together to talk about just about everything that went on in the world: history religion, politics, art, economics, and, of course, the mysteries of the opposite sex.

Then there was Chapel.  We looked forward to those occasions when special people spoke, though most of them couldn’t compare to our own Chaplain, Richard Elvee, whose voice was like music in the service of his extraordinary command of language.  Yet there were also speakers like Bishop Pike and many others who brought new insights and fresh ideas from other parts of the country and the world to our cozy rural campus.

Those of us who were scholarship students in our era were not allowed to have cars.  How different when my son was getting ready to attend Gustavus a few years ago and mentioned that policy to an admissions counselor, who laughed and said, “That was a long time ago!”  Perhaps because of that policy, however, many of us remained on campus more than we might have otherwise, thus experiencing and benefiting from the variety of wonderful experiences offered there.

And walking did not, for us, seem like a hardship.  We walked downtown for pizza at the Pizza Villa or coffee at Gannon’s.  We walked out into the country to visit the caves.  On sunlit afternoons in autumn and spring, we climbed the hills surrounding the campus and munched goodies from picnic baskets and drank cheap wine.  In the crisp, chilly evenings, we walked to the riverbanks where we spread blankets, quaffed beer, watched the stars and looked forward to a future that seemed to hold endless possibilities.  And of course, we walked the campus:  On Hello Walk, we greeted other students whether we knew them or not, a tradition that seems to continue today.

There was the fun of intramural sports.  I recall one of my roommates coming back to the dorm, bruised and bloody from a football game, but still very happy with his fraternity’s winning record.  Our heated basketball games upstairs in Alumni Hall may not have included the greatest players, but they provided an absolutely wonderful time for those who might not have been successful as varsity players yet still loved the game.

Who can forget the parties and the constant search for special places to hold them?  Encouraged by the “no car” rule, we had to come up with creative ideas for getting to the Boy Scout camp at Norseland or the fields and ravine on Elvee’s farm.  It was all part of the adventure of getting away from campus so we could do things we weren’t supposed to do, confident that no real ill would befall us.

Our education was, I believe, an excellent one.  When I went on to the seminary, I was disappointed in some ways when I compared the religion department at GA with the decidedly dryer and less demanding faculty at the sem.  At Gustavus, we learned to think and to question, and to respect viewpoints other than our own.  Those skills would prove valuable in the years to come as we took up new ways to live and learn.

The mid-1960s were a tumultuous time, alive with change and dissent.  The raging war in Vietnam divided the world we lived in, not only politically, but also philosophically and ethically.  The Civil Rights struggle and the battle for gender equality were all part of how we, as students, helped shape the future.  We did not solve all the problems we confronted, but I believe we made a difference.  I am glad to have been part of that time, and a part of Gustavus.

Terry Danger

1969 Guest Class Letter Writer


News Notes about our classmates and friends continue to arrive.  Some of us will recall English classes with Professor Lawrence Owen, whose western twang and forthright bearing enhanced our relationship with modern American drama four days a week in Vickner Hall.  Having returned to Minnesota to settle in Morris after sampling retired life in Arkansas for some years, this past June, Professor Owen focused years of teaching about drama into his realization of Norman Thayer Jr., the irascible father who delights in verbal jousts with the characters Ernest Thompson included in his On Golden Pond.  This delightful production, offered by Barrett, Minnesota’s Prairie Wind Players in that city’s Roosevelt Hall, returned an enlightened humor to a play that most know only as the Jane and father Henry Fonda’s dark yet moving family epilogue.  For the past 30 years Barrett’s community theater has offered a wide range of productions during its summer run that are welcomed by those who enjoy that village’s pastoral lake setting.

Margaret Lovseth Hegge, who resides in Renner, South Dakota with her spouse, Ron, guided 13 nurses through Tanzania last May and worked with them in a Lutheran sponsored hospital in that country.

Peter Andersen has retired from 3M after completing 35 years of service to that firm.  He and Marianne are at home in Woodbury, Minnesota.

Carley Bjugan Watts reports that her daughter, Kristin, graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2008 with a major in English and is working for Harper Collins publishing in New York City.

Bill Tews is serving as a hospice volunteer in Cumberland, Wisconsin.  He recently wrote that in his retirement “I don’t get much done, but somehow it takes up all my time.”  He invests some of that time as the founder, CEO, and sole employee of a photo service.

Hospice service also calls Linda Moorman Remucal, who coordinates volunteers for Hutchinson Hospice.  Her spouse is employed as a surgeon by the Hutchinson Medical Center.

Cynthia Blomquist Gustavson lives in Tulsa.  Her spouse, Dr. Edward Gustavson ’66 was honored as Physician of the Year by the Tulsa Area United Way for his work in children’s health.  Cyndi was the featured poet for a second year at the White Pine Arts Festival in Stillwater in June.

Goshen, Indiana continues to be home for Gene and Beth (Thorsen) Hollingsworth, where Gene is pastor of First English Lutheran Church and Beth is the principal of Concord Oxbow Elementary School.  She recently toured China during a ten-day international exchange sponsored by Global Indiana.

Jeff Miller has hung up his microscope and disconnected the Bunsen burner, having retired from teaching biology in the Saint Peter school district.  His spouse, Nancy (Rippel) ’70, continues to teach English for the Le Sueur/ Henderson school district.

The joyful voices of Play and Praise preschoolers are no longer ringing in Cheryl Fisher Hultstrand’s ears during her retirement from teaching in that school.  Husband, Jack Hulstrand, has just retired from General Mills.

In late February Pastor Ted Zimmerman returned to Gustavus from Hong Kong, for a one-week residency during which he offered daily “Transfiguration Talks” in chapel prior to offering the sermon for Transfiguration Sunday.  This tradition, begun by Esby (Pastor Robert Esbjornson ’41) in 1986, also called at least one more of our classmates back to campus for the same purpose when Tim Haut, who serves as pastor of Deep River Congregational Church in Deep River, Connecticut, fulfilled this role some.  Noting the passage of time, Tim observed that “some of us just get stuck in the place we land.  Fortunately, this is a great place and a great congregation, so I’ve put down roots here.  Thirty years next March!”

In January Women’s Health Magazine honored Neil Fenske as one of 17 dermatologists identified as “America’s Top Doctors for Women.”  Neil, who continues to practice in Tampa, FL, was only one of four dermatologists serving the Southeastern states whose colleagues nominated for this singular recognition.  Dr. Fenske serves as professor and chairperson of the University of South Florida’s Dermatology Department.

The gathering of news for class letters has been invigorated with the use of enrolled students whose views of Gustavus are usually more current than what Jane or our volunteer Phonorama callers could offer.  A little sand, however, still sifts into the gears of this new system from time to time.  Only recently did I learn that Paul Hokanson married Cindy Katzung in September of 2007.  Both reside in Owatonna.

Continuing with corrections, John Ondov, founder of Life Lab Institute in Chanhassen, was surprised to discover while reading the January class letter that he had recently married Tameeka.  “While it’s a nice name, I am still married to Debbie Ondov (37 years so far….).  Please print a correction, as Deb may hear from Gustie friends that I have gone off and done something else.”

Looking Ahead…despite recent days that feel more like early May than July, reminds us that the rhythm of academic life continues as hopeful first year students registering for their first classes mark the beginning of their college careers this fall.  I watch them travel our sleepy campus on warm afternoons in small clusters, parents in tow.  They find their way among imposing buildings with strange names, guided by campus maps that could befuddle Schoolcraft, to seek offices where kindly staff will forecast their futures with a host of unanswerable questions.  How did we ever get through the gate?

“What is your major?  What would you like to major in?  Well, what were some courses you liked?  How do you plan to pay for your first semester?  Have you completed your housing forms?  Do you have your medical forms with you?  What is your home of record?” 

Jane is guiding our daughter through the hoops of registration at Gustavus this afternoon.  That process seems to require a good deal more paperwork than I recall from my own matriculation.  Parents are “isolated” with administrators who offer reassurance while their offspring visit with advisors to select courses for their first semester.  Karla smugly reported upon completing her registration that contrary to my warning, all her classes would not meet at 8:00 a.m.; she will be able to sleep in until 10:30.  They don’t make college like they used to.

Perhaps encouraged by limited opportunities presented by our weakened economy, Minnesota’s private colleges continue to report with cautious optimism that entering first year classes will approximate last year’s numbers.  Many prospective students, weighing competing offers of aid and career opportunities, waited until the final week to secure their place in the class of 2013 with a parent’s check.

Students’ need for financial aid continues to grow even as sources of support continue to diminish.  Please help those who will be welcomed this fall into the Gustavus tradition that shaped us with a gift in honor of our fortieth reunion this October.

Plans for that reunion at Gustavus continue to evolve.  We’ll enjoy a variety of opportunities to meet and greet old friends as we witness the remarkable growth of our college over the past four decades.  The festivities will begin with an afternoon of golf at Saint Peter’s Shoreland Country Club followed by dinner at the Club.  Homecoming Saturday offers a luncheon, football, and a Swedish version of an “Oktoberfest.”

To help you enjoy summer, however fleeting the Minnesota version of that season might be, I leave you with an unexpected treat.


Dave Leitzman

1969 Co-class Agent

Strawberry Psalm

Praise be to thee O Lord,

For the last strawberry of June,
For its perfect redness,
Its fusion of earth and rain and sun,
For the glory of thy creation
Tasted as holy sweetness;
And for all thy glowing gifts
Bright with summer’s joy.
Praise be to thee, O Lord,
For dew on grass,
And buttercups;
For the scent of roses
Through the window;
For shade in the afternoon
And the catbird in the tree top;
For soft evening breeze
And fireflies, bright as stars
Rising like prayers into the night.
Praise be to thee, O Lord,
For each simple grace
Whose loveliness lingers in passing,
A sacrament of heart and mind and tongue,
Thy signature in every time and season,
Where new joys, like strawberries,
Amen.  Amen.

--Timothy Haut, June 28, 2009

Campus News

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast on the third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  The cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763-533-9083.

Future speakers:

Megan Ruble, director of student activities – Aug. 19

Mark Bjelland, professor of geography and chair of the 2009 Nobel Conference:  H20 Uncertain Resource – Sept. 16

President Jack R. Ohle – Oct. 21

Upcoming Events

  • Sand Lake and Duluth Chapter Potluck – August 16
  • Gusties Gather! – September 20
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 10sign