Class of '75
"Hi, I’m from your Alumni Association."
Hello again. Hecktor here. (Dick Black and Cathy Asta Black were swamped organizing "A Royal Affair.") There is a lot to cover in this letter, but the most important task is to announce the date of the 25-year reunion.
Starting next year, all class reunions, except for the 50-Year Club and the 50th Anniversary Class will be held in the fall at Homecoming, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, September 29 & 30, 2000. Classes celebrating reunions at Homecoming will include ’55, ’60, ’65, ’70, ’75, ’80, ’85, ’90 & ’95. Reunion dates for the 50-Year Club and the Class of 1950 are May 26 & 27, 2000, Commencement Weekend.
So, for now, here is the basic schedule:
Friday (evening), September 29, 2000—Hotel Sofitel, Bloomington, MN. Saturday (all day), September 30, 2000—Gustavus campus. Morning chapel and seminars, for those so inclined. For the rest of us, class luncheons from 11:00 am to 1:00 p.m., then Gustavus vs. Concordia football game. After the game, there is a 5th Quarter post-game party for reunion classes, alumni, students and friends. Rumor has it that Jon Young’s ’77 Gustie band, Temporary Heros, will be playing at the 5th Quarter party. Mark your calendars and let’s Rock and Roll!
Here’s the deal on the date and place decision. In the spring of 1998, (after the tornado) when it was impossible to host the reunions entirely on campus. The Alumni Office decided to try the Friday night in the Cities with Saturday on the Gustavus campus format, and it was very well received. At the Sofitel, several classes were all in one big room, so alumni could mingle with alumni from different classes. The feedback was very positive and many alumni with young children, who might not have made the trip to Gustavus, did attend the Sofitel bash.
The next issue was when to hold the reunion. Holding the reunions on Graduation weekend, which is usually the Memorial Day weekend, caused a conflict for many Gusties. On the plus side, all of the students except the seniors were gone, so there was plenty of room in the dorms. In contrast, Homecoming weekend would be less of a conflict, but there would be no room in the dorms because all the students would still be in school. After much discussion, the class agents and the Alumni Office finally decided to try the Homecoming date in order to try something new and hopefully generate additional interest.
Folks, this is not only our 25th year out, but it’s also our first and only Y2K reunion. Let’s make it memorable. Remember, the world belongs to those who show up.
On the news front, congratulations to Bernie Dusich on his induction into the Gustavus Athletic Hall of Fame. Bernie joins another classmate, Randy Rieke, in the prestigious Hall. (I hope I haven’t forgotten any other classmates who are also in the Hall.) Bernie was a three time all conference player and an All-American selection his junior year. He is now a partner in the firm of Sieben, Polk, LaVerdiere, Jones & Hawn, in Hastings, MN. Bernie is married to Kari (Hanson). They have two children, Stephen (17) and Rachel (14).
Congratulations also to Evelyn "Ma" Young ’33, our honorary classmate, for making the Minneapolis Star Tribune again. The November 13, 1999 edition had a full page spread on our beloved food guru. In the article, Evelyn finally confessed to having a lead foot: "I was called the ‘white tornado.’ I always drove white cars. And I drove a little bit fast. A couple of times, the rye bread I had with me saved me (from speeding tickets), but mostly I had to pay." She recently baked 4,000 cookies for the Gustavus Library Associates’ A Royal Affair. When asked what her late husband, Gus, would think of all her effort, our 87 year old free spirit replied: "I think he’s up in Heaven, looking down and saying, ‘Evelyn, you should have your head examined.’ "
Speaking of the Star Tribune, classmate Jack Rendulich was once again featured in a hunting article. He and son, Dan (16), went hunting in North Dakota with staff writer Doug Smith and his family, and the Loren Volk family of Elk River. Jack Rendulich—firefighter, ace photographer and a modern day Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. This guy has more fun than the rest of us combined. What we guys want to know is how in the world you get by with it. Perhaps Jack’s wife Candy (Boenigk) can tell us why she lets him out of the house so much. I’m thinking that he is driving her nuts or something. Candy, is he still doing that unbelievably realistic police siren imitation? The one that actually caused cars to pull over when he did it out of his car window? Jack, I hope you know that you are one lucky son of a gun to have a wife like Candy.
Speaking of lucky guys, how about John Wirth? John is the executive producer of the TV show Nash Bridges. His wife, Gail (Matthias) is making English language tapes for kids in Korea. She also made a CD Rom game called Invictus. Watch for it at your local Price Club/Sam’s Club mass tables of computer games. Then she did a radio spot for Cincinnati Bell, where her only line was "WE WON!" She also emceed the Halloween Parade at daughter Bonnie’s school. One parent actually complained because her kindergartner didn’t like the order of the parade. So Gail told the mom that she could organize the parade herself next year. You go, Gail! Gail is happy to report that the Wirth’s are finally getting a swimming pool. In return, John is getting his own room above the garage, complete with cigars, Tool Time calendars and a "No Girls Allowed" sign. Way to go, Johnny Boy! Unfortunately for John, Gail does not feel the least bit threatened by this recent display of male power, what with four females in the house (including Gail, two soccer playing daughters and their female dog). Gail says they are planning on attending the 25th year reunion.
WANTED: VOLUNTEERS FOR THE 1975 CLASS REUNION PLANNING COMMITTEE.
To kick off our 25th Anniversary, your class agents have decided to embark on a special, reunion year fundraising effort. A separate letter will be sent out in a month or two, but please start thinking about what Gustavus has meant to your life and be generous in responding to our requests for your time and donations. The idea here is not to substitute for what you normally give, but to make a special gift above and beyond what you normally give.
Back to the news. Karl Wahlenmaier has taken a new job as operations manager for Mills Music, Inc., a chain of nine musical instrument retail stores in the Seattle, Washington area. Debbie Hanson McMurray started a strategic marketing and consulting business last year in Irving, Texas. It primarily caters to the professions of law, accounting and financial services. As usual, she wasn’t home during Phonorama. Hey Hans, how about sending me an e-mail once every five years or so? (email@example.com)
Dick Fuller is a dentist and recently moved his practice to Eagan, at the "Shoppes at Promenade". I couldn’t quite read Dick’s handwriting, but it looks like the name of his business is "Eagan Gental Dental." His motto is "We Cater to Cowards." Dick is also a ski patrol member at Afton Alps and cruises the St. Croix river during the summer on his boat, "Filling Time." Nice marketing plan, Dick. Knock their teeth out on the ski slope in the winter, charge them a few hundred bucks to fix the teeth in the spring, and then take them out on your boat in the summer to make them forget the bill. Then start all over again the next winter. Have you ever thought about going to law school and becoming a plaintiff’s lawyer? What a great way to find clients!
Gregg and Wendy (Plaschko ’76) Waldhauser are living in Midlothian, VA. Gregg is a general sales manager for Accent Marketing and vice president of Universal Telephone. Wendy is a homemaker. I always thought Gregg would be a good replacement for me as class agent if he didn’t live so darn far away. It’s not easy for me to say that. After all, Waldo is an Eppie. But the Eppies were always more organized than the OK’s, so he’d probably get three or four class letters out a year, instead of one or two. Maybe we could get Waldo to write a guest class letter. What do you say, Waldo?
Barbara Day has made lots of changes. First, she took a new job as vice president for Resettlement at the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Second, she moved to a new town, Elliott City, MD. Congrats, Barb.
Speaking of Days, Steve Day also moved to the East Coast. Steve, Jean and the kids reported to Cherry Point, North Carolina in July. Steve is now the staff judge advocate of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and also the director of the Law Center. He has 15 lawyers, 30 enlisted Marines and 4 civilian paralegals reporting to him. He was quite busy when Hurricane Floyd hit his area. The Marines provided disaster relief to the area and the numerous property damage claims kept him very busy. In September, Steve traveled to Albania as part of a team that was teaching military law to the Albanian military law detachment. The people were warm and friendly, but the country is a disaster. The infrastructure is in shambles, roads are impossible and sanitation is terrible. He hopes to go back next spring. Any Gusties who wish to contact him should do so at his e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news, Pulitzer Prize winning play director Dave Esbjornson finally made his way back to Minnesota, after a detour in San Francisco and New York. Dave directed the Tennessee Williams play Summer and Smoke at the Guthrie Theater last April. While in New York, Dave staged the New York premier of Arthur Miller’s The Ride Down Mount Morgan, owned and served as artistic director of Classic Stage Company, won numerous awards and directed at least 15 other plays, including Kevin Kling’s Home and Away. I’d say that Dave is a strong believer in the notion that "busy hands are happy hands." Geez, slow down, bud!
Dan Zismer is a professor at the University of Minnesota and a principal at Partners Consulting Group, in Minneapolis. His alphabetical colleague Dan Zinsmeister (do you think these two guys ever sat next to each other in class?) is currently attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he is working on an advanced degree.
Math major Melanie Mueller Jacobson has taken her mathematical talents over to Pillsbury or whatever the new name is (Grand Met?). What people don’t know about Melanie is how good a ’50s dancer she was when Buddy Holly’s "Peggy Sue" was played on the Flame’s jukebox. I saw her in the skyway a couple of years ago and she looks exactly like she did in 1975. Not fair, Melanie, not fair.
No class letter would be complete without mentioning Lola Ness of HECTOR, MN! As you may recall, Lola married Randy Rieke and moved to New Ulm. Randy is managing the Hanska CO-OP, and Lola is teaching kindergarten at Gibbon-Faixfax-Winthrop. One of my favorite weddings was Randy and Lola’s. Hecktor in Hector. It was great. I had tried to go there once before, but was turned back by bad weather. Actually, it wasn’t my idea. The OK pledges kidnapped me and Patti Neuman, and conned pilot Dan Ashbach to fly us to Hector, MN, where they planned to dump us off with no money and no ID. Fortunately for Neuman and me, a thunderstorm rolled in and Ashbach had to turn back and land in Mankato.
Speaking of Dan Ashbach, I had a nice chat with my former roommate and J.V. Hockey teammate during Phonorama. Ashbach is a Northwest Airlines pilot who made the mistake of turning himself in when he fainted a couple times (not in the air). After two years of testing, they couldn’t find anything wrong. But they still don’t want him in the air, so he is retired on disability after 18 years in the air. (It was probably just the flu). Dan’s wife Laurie (Montillon) owns and operates a Christian Art Gallery called Vine and Branches in St. Paul. Dan spends his time trading options over the Internet. He cautions against casual investors trying this, as you can lose a bundle quickly. He also says that at least 80% of these "day traders" lose money. Dan dared me to tell everybody that he "is a has-been and a loser, searching for the meaning of life." Yeah, right. I’ll tell you what. You teach me how to make gobs of money in the market, and I’ll give you my best shot at what the meaning of life is. Especially if you give me $25,000 to start with. Anyway, say hi to my former client and your neighbor, John Hooley.
Eric Buetow reports that his favorite hockey team, University of Alaska Fairbanks, played coach Mike Kemp’s University of Nebraska—Omaha hockey team last year and beat them twice, 4-0 and 3-0. After one game, Eric met Kemper and Mark Weber for a few beers. He reports that Kemper is planning on bringing his team up again this year for another buttkicking. Eric couldn’t talk long because he was on his way out the door to play hockey. I’d love to join you, E, but I’m now on injured reserve. I played almost every week for the last 23 years and only had a couple bumps and bruises. So what happens? I’m out coaching my kid’s mite hockey team and one of these little 8-year-olds catches his skates in mine and knocks me backward, smashing my elbow on the ice. Now I am out of hockey for eight weeks and have a bone chip floating around. Then I go to the HMO clinic and who do I get assigned to? Doogie Howser, M.D. The guy couldn’t have been a day over 26. Fortunately, another of my roommates and teammates is Dr. John Shearen, who just happens to be one of the best orthopedic surgeons in town. (Actually, I didn’t feel so bad after hearing what another coach went through. While coaching, he put both hands in his pockets, looking for a roster. A kid slid into him from behind, knocking him backward right onto the kid’s skate, which was pointed upwards at a 45-degree angle. Unable to get his hands out to break the fall, he ended up with three broken ribs, a damaged kidney and a concussion. Whoever would have thought that coaching was such a hazardous occupation? Any way, all of you hockey coaches should be sure to wear elbow pads whenever you are on the ice.)
Speaking of John Shearen, I bumped into his wife Mary at a Minneapolis Estate Planning Council meeting. Mary is an estate-planning attorney at Best and Flannigan law firm. It seems that Mary and John were watching TV recently when a big story came on about supermodels who sell their eggs over the Internet. Ever the entrepreneur, Mr. Romantic turns to his wife and says, "Hey, Mary, you should sell your eggs." Although Mary somehow raised three kids and still graduated number one in her law school class, you have to wonder why someone so bright could put up with a tease like John. In fairness to John, Mary did expand a bit on the story I published in an earlier Hecktorgram about John going hunting on the same day that Mary closed on their new home. As it turns out, John was already out of town on the hunting trip when a house that they had previously looked at suddenly came on the market again. John was staying with relatives that were on the conservative side of the family—you know, "women belong in the kitchen" types. Imagine the relatives’ surprise when John gets up from the dinner table, takes a long distance phone call from Mary and says, "Go ahead. It’s your call." When he told the relatives that his wife had just bought a new home, they practically fell out of their chairs. Turning to their family, son Chris is attending St. Johns. Their golf team beat Gustavus for the conference championship. Daughter, Molly, won the State High School Golf Championship for Visitation High School. She is now attending the University of Iowa, where my dad attended. Unfortunately, she hurt her back playing golf last summer. Son, Billy, is a junior at Cretin Durham Hall High School and is having a lot of fun.
Another phono contact was Patty Tasa Norgaard, who is a good friend of our neighbors, Terry and Jeff Kirby. When I told Patty how much work I had done on the house this year—built a new deck, painted the entire house, installed a bay window and a new patio door—she lamented the fact that her husband Mark ’73 was so mechanically challenged. "He won’t even light the gas grill," she noted. Mark is now a marketing director for an architectural and engineering firm. Patty and I also discussed teaching methods and what does not work. Patty says that phonics in the early years is absolutely vital. And the "whole language" method simply does not work.
Another teacher, Dwight Aukee, explained why teachers are retiring in droves. Apparently there are 15-20 lawsuits filed every month in his school district. Teachers are simply tired of the hassles. Dwight has to be one of the great comeback stories at Gustavus. In his first semester, he ended up with four C’s. Too much time at the Flame and the pool hall. But he ended up with a 3.51 average and is now getting his masters degree.
I tried reaching Dr. Glen Hanson, but he was out on call. According to his wife, Sheryl, Glen is quite the pheasant hunter. Unfortunately for his hunting career, Glen is the only doctor in the only hospital in Greenfield, IA. Glen recently started a new practice, and Sheryl is the business manager.
Another member of the 1975 Doc Squad, Dr. Dave Meese, a physician in Ormond Beach, FL. Dave is a colorectal surgeon and gave me some free advice to pass on to my brother, who has crohn’s disease. Dave and his wife Mary live very close to where all the forest fires were, but fortunately came out of everything unscathed. I think I remember him offering free room and board to all Gustie classmates who want to take a Florida vacation, so be sure to call him. The Meeses have three kids, Rick (13), Carolyn (11) and Bradley (7).
One of my more entertaining calls was to my former TM pledge, Joy Nelson Lundeen. As part of her pledge duties at Gustavus, Joy had to run up to me, get down on one knee, and say: "Sir Hecktor, your wish is my command." So I called her from phono without identifying myself and said: "Lady Lundeen, your wish is my command." She remembered instantly. Joy took one of my long-time hockey players away from me when she married Dick Lundeen and split up the infamous Lundeen Line (Dick and brothers Dave and John). But if I have to lose a player, at least I can understand why he left. Joy is just like her name. The Lundeens have a snowboarding son named Eric "Big Air" Lundeen, and a volleyball playing daughter, Jesse. Dick is playing hockey three times a week. (See, that proves that Joy is a Joy. I used to play four times a week. Each time we had a kid, I lost a league. So after the last kid, I said that’s it, I’m not giving up my last night of hockey. So, Joy, how come Dick gets three nights out a week? Man, am I ever jealous.)
On the home front, I am still running my health and life insurance brokerage business, as well as practicing law. Until last year, I was very proud to tell people that I was a "recovering attorney." Lawyers would congratulate me on escaping the law and wonder if they, too, could find a life. I found that too many of my insurance clients had children under 18, but no will. In my view, that is malparenting. When I asked them if they had contacted a lawyer to draft their wills yet, they always said "no." When I asked them why not, they always came back with, "Geez, Hecktor, why can’t you do it?" So I started doing them, and actually enjoy it. My wife, Kathy, works for Ernst and Young, at their client, Jostens, Inc., in Bloomington, MN. We have three kids, Ann 14, Emily 10 and John 8.
That’s it for the new news.
The following excerpts were somehow deleted from the last Gustiegram: So I am reprinting them here:
Another character, Wayne "Willard" Dietz, of "Willard Wall" fame, was coaching a varsity football game when I called his home a year ago. He also coaches ninth grade basketball and is the head baseball coach at Woodbury High School. Wife, Carey (Griesel ’76) is coaching ninth grade volleyball and eighth grade basketball. Geez, why don’t you guys just quit your jobs and start an athletic club? They have three kids, Alissa, Bob and Amberly. As you may recall from a past Hecktorgram, the brick Gustavus sign at the top of College Avenue was renamed "Willard Wall," after Willard clipped it one night while coming home from "The Barn." When Willard was asked to explain, this man of simple words replied: "Didn’t make the corner, gravel’s fault." Willard was devastated when he learned that his beloved wall was seriously damaged in the tornado. Willard, I am proud to say that it was some of my fellow OK’s who retrieved the Gustavus sign and propped it back up against your wall, although their true motives were somewhat suspect. When these rowdy characters came down for the alumni cleanup, they spotted the damage to "Willard Wall" and immediately panicked. (No, Willard, they weren’t particularly worried about your wall. It seems that when they graduated in 1985, they buried a bottle of fine Scotch whiskey behind your wall and made a promise to meet there in twenty years, dig up the whiskey, and drink a toast to Gustavus. While searching for their bottle of whiskey, they uncovered the Gustavus sign and propped it against your wall.) Who knows what other secrets are buried beneath this now legendary Gustavus landmark?
Willard’s high school and college football teammate, Gary Quist, is busy being a dad to daughter, Tayler, who repeatedly cons her father into staying up late in order to watch "Winnie the Pooh" on TV. Hey, Dude, we’re a far cry from the old days, where the big question was whether to use the "slide technique" or the "bounce technique" to find our way down the hall and back to our rooms. Actually, Gary was better known for his special teams’ play on the Gustavus football team. He was not sure exactly how many times over four years that he was knocked out while trying to make tackles on the kick-off team, but he does remember splitting his head open against Augsburg one time. Although he needed a few stitches before he could get back in the game—nothing a few beers wouldn’t cure—he still managed to put a pretty good lick on one of the opposing players. Indeed, a review of the game films showed that the guy Gary hit went flying so far out of bounds that he completely disappeared from the film frame. I guess they don’t call him Gary "Kamikaze" Quist for nothing."
That’s all for now, folks. I’ll send out another letter when I get the recent Phonorama news note cards back from Gustavus. In the meantime, thanks to all of you who pledged a gift to Gustavus.
Paul "Hecktor" Heckt
1975 Co-Class Agent