Class of 1971
November 2005

Greetings, Gusties from the Class of 1971!

A class letter!  Really!  (From the Class Agent who’s likely to soon receive an award for being “Procrastinator of the Year!”)

Is it just me, or does life get busier and more complicated with each passing year or are some of us just plain too involved in too many things?  Like many of you, I’m sure, my calendar seems to have something for every night of the week!  And the fact that I sing in the choir at my church, sing with the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus and facilitate diversity classes in my school district three nights a month, serve as an elder, work with our teacher union, doesn’t leave much free time!  Of course, do you know anyone who ISN’T busy?  I think it’s simply a fact of life in 2005.  Oh well…

You have maybe heard that Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 died at her Edina home on September 29 at the age of 93.  Her memorial service was held at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church and another memorial service in celebration of Evelyn’s life will be held at Gustavus on December 8 at 2:00 p.m. in Christ Chapel as part of the festival of Santa Lucia with a reception following in the Evelyn Young Dining Room.  Lucia Day was one of Evelyn’s favorite events, one where through the years not one crumb of her rye bread remained! 

Evelyn was born on July 25, 1912, on the family farm in New Richland, the fifth of eight children.  She attended country school and graduated from high school at the age of 16.  An excellent student, she would always remind her family that she was “the best speller in Waseca County!”  Evelyn was determined to attend Gustavus Adolphus but her father thought 16 was much too young to head off to college, insisting that she stay home one more year.  Evelyn thought this was the worst thing that could happen, but she recalled later, “It was really the best thing ever.”  She spent the year learning to cook with her mother.

In 1929 Evelyn headed off to Gustavus where she joined the debate team and fixed hair to earn extra money.  Graduating “cum laude” in 1933 with a degree in English, she taught school until she met and married Verl “Gus” Young in 1941.  The two settled in Northfield where they operated Youngs’ bowling alley.  When they decided to add a dining room, Evelyn’s career in food service started.  Gus enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and Evelyn was left in charge of the bowling alley. 

In 1949, Gus and Evelyn accepted positions at Gustavus – Evelyn as director of the food service and Gus as head basketball coach.  It was during this time that she cemented her reputation as the most well-known and outspoken Gustie basketball fan. 

Evelyn was known for her nickel coffee at Gustavus and was most famous for her cookies – 4,000 alone for Gustavus Library Associates 2003 “A Royal Affair,” and for her famous rye bread.  Her cookbook, “All This…and Rye Bread, Too,” was published in 1980.  Recipient of the king of Sweden’s silver medal in 1976 and the Greater Gustavus Award in 1968, she also was the 1973 homecoming queen at Gustavus and the 1988 Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen.

From the time the Alumni Office set up the Class Agents program in 1956 and my dad was a class agent for the Class of ’42, my brother and I would accompany our folks to Gustavus – and we’d always run into Evelyn in the food service.  Even as a little boy I was impressed with her enthusiasm!  I used to say I wish that I had even half of her energy!  There really was nobody like Evelyn!  She was absolutely devoted to Gustavus and will be greatly missed!  We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Margie Young Sampsell and Allie Young ’72.

You do the math!  We have our thirty-fifth reunion coming up next fall during Homecoming Weekend!  You’ll be receiving lots of information in the next year about the reunion – we’d really like it to be a great time, with LOTS of our classmates returning to campus!  A committee has been formed and met for the first time.  Cathy Howard Waldhauser, Barb Carlson Lescenski, Judy Okerman Kastelle, Joan Sandberg Smith and I met with Kathy Erlandsen, Associate Director, The Gustavus Fund, to begin the conversation and planning for our thirty-fifth!  Others that have already committed to help with the reunion include:  Jerry Lowell, Shirley Gholston Key, Mike Ablan, Eileen Holz, Diane Havlik Shallue, Karen Leonardson Borre, Randy Beahrs, Sandy Dickmeyer Magnuson.

Right now we’d like more folks who’d be willing to help us out!  And we really need your input!  What would you like to see happen at the next reunion?  What can we offer, what can we do to get you interested―and get YOU back to Gustavus?  One of the goals of the committee is to get as many people as possible to make the trip back to St. Peter!  Wouldn’t it be great to have at least half the Class of 1971 there? 

Just a few thoughts – and remember we’re in the very beginning of planning!  A party Friday night in St. Peter, possibly at the home of a Gustie from our class for those who are coming from out of town and will be staying for the weekend.  Then we have Saturday to plan―and Saturday evening!  Gustavus has a memorial service in Christ Chapel in the morning on Saturday of Homecoming to honor Gusties who have died during the past year and, of course, the football game’s in the afternoon.

We’re looking to hear from YOU!  Gustavus will have a special reunion web page in the spring, possibly in March or April.  This will be a great way to communicate with classmates, share ideas and see who’s coming to the reunion as the list grows and grows!

The last I heard...Roger Menk has been with Center Point Energy for over thirty years and is currently director of operations.  Roger and Kathy live in Bloomington…Maggie Ista Swanson is a nurse and investigator for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office…Jane Simcox Schuette continues to teach homebound students and tutor others.  She and husband, Willmar, have the Schuette Shop, a furniture restoration and upholstery business in Belle Plaine…Bill Kautt is a colonel in the retired reserve after thirty years in the National Guard and Army Reserve, but still works as a guidance counselor at St. Peter High School while his wife, Cheryl (Salmela), continues teaching kindergarten in St. Peter.  Marsha Luebbert Haechler teaches English at the Kaufmaennische Berufschule in Wetzikon, Switzerland…Dale Isaacson lives in Dassel and works in Cokato at Saunatec…Chris Dahms Dildine has her Ph.D. in counseling and is employed by the public schools in Loveland, Colorado.  John has now been practicing dentistry over thirty years…Kathy and Jim Rusch live in Cleveland, Minnesota, where Jim continues to teach high school social studies.  Kathy’s a social worker with Le Sueur County.

Arlys Hill Reitan works as an office administrator for the Wachiska Audubon Society.  She and husband Ken are both active in local politics related to environmental issues in Lincoln, Nebraska…Dave Miller is business department chair at Vero Beach High School in Florida where he also coaches the girls’ golf team and sponsors Future Business Leaders of America…Bernie Anderson is president of the State Bank of New Richland…Mary and Ron Niemala live in Grand Rapids where Ron works in investments and insurance with his Niemala Financial Services…Shirley Gholston Key continues to work at the University of Memphis where she’s associate professor of science education and director of the New Teacher Center…Jim Terry lives in Plymouth and is self-employed as a golf professional…Ron Larson teaches eighth grade language arts at Canyon Middle School.  Ron and wife, Linda, live in Canyon Lake, Texas…Carol Hamrum Rutz is director of the writing program at Carleton College.  (How about being a guest writer for a class letter, Carol?)…Ward Merrill was instrumental in putting together a Latino support program connecting new Latino residents in Blackduck with the community.  (Saw the great article and picture in the Star Tribune on May 5, Ward!).

Mike ’70 and Genevieve (Houlmiere) Polkowske live in Billings, Montana.  Genevieve is a Spanish teacher and Mike’s a banker at First Security Bank…John Vollum and wife Diane have The Wellspring Group, a consulting business focusing on sustainable improvement and change.  John and Diane live in Carver…After ten years in Jerusalem, Marcia (Bomgren) and Mike ’69 Bussey returned to the States to Wheaton, Illinois in ’98.  Marcia’s teaching math at St. Francis, a Catholic high school in Wheaton and Mike continues (over thirty years) with the YMCA where he is a consultant in financial development plans…Irene Hartfield is living in Babbit where she works as a web designer and consultant―“”…Marjorie Aasness Schaffer continues to teach on the faculty of Bethel University…Dick Hagen lives in Bloomington and is a buyer for Precision Gasket Company in Edina…Cory Muth Jepsen-Hobbs continues as a nurse practitioner at Matthew Oncology Associates in Grafton, Wisconsin.  (Did your daughter swim the English Channel as she had planned?)…Plan a summer trip to Idaho!  Log on to “,” Warren Borchert’s summer employer!  He offers an “adventure opportunity of a lifetime!”  Ask for “Borch” to be your guide!

Jeanne Larson and husband Randall Voeks live in Minneapolis where Jeanne is president of her business, Incubator Incorporated…Terri Ulku Behrends-Singer is a data resources assistant for the Metropolitan Airports Commission…Jarrett Sharp and wife, Margie, live in Mapleton where he’s a farmer and rancher…Barb Sjogren teaches art in New York City at the Calhoun School.  (I was told you planned to go to Tanzania to volunteer in the summer of ’04!  Did you have that adventure?)…Cynthia (Severance) and Darius ’69 Larsen are in Big Sky, Montana.  Darius is the director of outreach and stewardship specialist for the Montana Synod and Idaho and East Washington Synods…David and Kathy (Rydland) Gilbertson live in the St. Anthony Park area of St. Paul.  Dave’s in family practice at the St. Anthony Park Clinic and Kathy works part-time for him as a nurse practitioner making nursing home rounds…Judy Okerman Kastelle sews and works with clothing of the Renaissance period.  She travels to schools and churches, working with madrigal groups and teaching history as an artist-in-residence…Carolyn Coon Mowchan is pastor in Spooner, Wisconsin, at Trinity Lutheran Church…

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  In these troubled times I’m hoping this letter finds you with many reasons for you and your family to be thankful!  Please start thinking about our upcoming reunion!  It would be great to hear from you and we’d really like to have you share your ideas!

Bruce Johnson

1971 Class Agent

P.S.  Now the Alumni Office will add some other campus news here:

Campus News

A New Year Begins

The 144th academic year began September 7 with 2,600 students and approximately 710 new students, the largest enrollment and new class in college history.  Some changes in the general education curriculum were implemented this year, including a foreign language requirement for graduation.

Wind Orchestra Tour

Join Gustavus alumni and parents on a companion tour with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra to Eastern Europe January 17-27, 2006.  The trip includes visits to the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria and will be hosted by Tom Emmert, professor of history, and Jon and Anita (Thomsen) Young ’77 ’77.

Announcing the Gustavus 2006 Alumni Fund Campaign

“When you get your invitation in the mail or receive a call from a Gustie student or classmate, commit to making your gift to the Alumni Fund this year,” encourages Jan Michaletz ’74, alumni board member, class agent, and 2006 Alumni Fund Chair.  The Michaletz family―Russ ’74, Mara ’02, Annie ’05, and John ’08―have agreed to chair this year’s alumni fund drive.  The 2006 Alumni Fund goals are to achieve 9,000 donors and $1,185,000 dollars in alumni giving.  The 2006 fiscal year began June 1, 2005 and ends May 31, 2006.  Gifts to the Alumni Fund will immediately support current Gusties in the classroom, in labs, on the playing field, in the library, and more.  Tuition does not cover the real cost of educating students today, nor did it when you were a student at Gustavus.  Since its inception in 1954, the goal of the Alumni Fund has been to help keep the Gustavus educational experience accessible for current students.  Give the gift of Gustavus to a current Gustie by making your Alumni Fund gift this year.

The 2004-2005 Honor Roll of Donors

The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who have made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2004 and May 31, 2005.  The Honor Roll of Donors is now available online at To find your name or to check out your class results, point and click from your home or office computer.  To have your name included in the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors, go to to make a gift online.

Nobel Conference

The College’s 41st Nobel Conference, The Legacy of Einstein, was held September 27-28.  The panel consisted of scientists in the areas of statistical physics, relativity, cosmology, and unified theories, who discussed current work in the areas of Einstein’s greatest contributions.  In addition, a historian of science explored the impact that Einstein’s discoveries and his social and political views have had on science and humanity.  Also, a play, Clockworks:  Einstein Time, was premiered, the Physics Force group performed, and a symphony orchestra concert celebrated Einstein through music.

Alumni Directory

In partnership with Publishing Concepts (PCI), a comprehensive alumni directory is being produced and will be released in 2006.  PCI will be contacting alumni to get current information.


First Frost * A Royal Affair

Since 1977 Gustavus Library Associates has helped raise funds for the endowment of Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library located at Gustavus.  Over 1,000 guests attended First Frost * A Royal Affair, the biennial gala dinner/auction benefit at the Sheraton Hotel in Bloomington on Saturday, October 29.  This year Evelyn Young ’33, a long-time GLA supporter, is being honored.  The program featured tenor Mark Thomsen ’78 and was hosted by former Miss America Gretchen Carlson and physician and Gustavus parent John Najarian.

Athletics Hall of Fame

On Saturday, September 24, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletics Hall of Fame:  Holly Brodmarkle Cervin ’87, track and field; Marc Illies ’85, baseball and football; Marc Iverson ’89, football; Gretchen Koehler, coach; soccer; Rich Skanse ’84, tennis; and Dick Walters ’75, hockey.  Jay Rooker ’85 and Mary Mansour ’85, softball, have also been selected but will be inducted Fall 2006.

Campus Progress

Whether it’s planning for brand new buildings or renovating old ones, the Gustavus campus is always changing.  A new web site has been designed to keep you updated on the changes taking place on campus.  Check it out at:

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Christmas in Christ Chapel ― December 2-4
  • St. Lucia Day ― December 8