Class of ’75

April 2012

Hi Classmates:

For those who may not know, Paul Heckt, classmate and class agent for the classletter died last December.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Not everyone gets email or updates on activities of classmates, so I thought it would be a good time to write a quick note to say hi and to suggest that we re-establish some sort of communication with our class of ’75 again.

We all live very busy lives, yet the newsletter in the past was a way to keep in touch with classmates.  I enjoyed reading what we as a class were doing.  Our lives have changed so much since the days at Gustavus, but it would be nice to reconnect with classmates again.

So, this is our opportunity to get new ideas for the newsletter.  Perhaps it could be as simple as just a quick update about what you are doing, or just to say hello to someone you haven’t heard from in years.  Any other ideas going forward with the newsletter would be great too; after all it is our newsletter.

Mail your information to the Alumni office, or email at: alumni@gustavus.eduHope to hear from you soon.

Take care,

Rhonda Beane Bakke


Class News

Cindy Durbahn Bowers has just retired from her internal medicine practice and is back to making music, dancing and learning how to ocean fish.  Still living in Santa Barbara and loving it.  Her two boys are grown and gainfully employed.

Ruth Torkelson Lynch writes, “I am a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.  In January, 2012, I assumed the responsibilities of being the chairperson and coordinator of the rehabilitation psychology programs (undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs).”

Kathy Fitzsimmons writes that she currently lives in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina near several of her kids and grandkids.  “I haven't missed the winter rain of Seattle this year at all.  I teach nursing at the University of South Carolina Upstate and love my job.  I am travelling to Vietnam next week to teach graduate nurses at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City.  I’ll be there for two weeks and am very excited.  This will be my first trip to Asia.”

Kendra Froland Sharkey is a snowbird living in Sun City West, AZ seven months of the year, and living and working part time in Duluth, MN during the five warmer months of the year there.  She works part time as a nurse practitioner in internal medicine for Essentia Health when in Duluth.  She is married to a retired cardiologist, Tom Sharkey, and has two married grown children and three lovely granddaughters with one more grandchild expected the end of September.  She also has two stepsons who live in Manhatten, NY.  Kendra has enjoyed her nursing career and especially loves being a grandmother.  While in Arizona, she belongs to a quilting group that makes over 400 quilts every year for hospices, vets, and the needy.  In her spare time, she reads, gardens and enjoys her two small dogs.

Jan Schied Herbert:  “I have been retired from teaching for almost three years.  We are now running our business ‘Naturally Unique – Lake Superior Rock Creations.’  We make everything ourselves–even gather the rock.  We sell from our website, Etsy and at craft shows.  We have one grandson, Sam.  Still live in Park Rapids, MN.

Melody Pauling:  “I am a very stable person, my ‘news’ has been the same for years:  living in South Minneapolis, not married, no kids, executive secretary (office manager) in the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch at the University of Minnesota, active at Christ Church Lutheran in south Minneapolis.  It wouldn't work as a soap opera, but it's a nice life!”

Randy Erdahl:  “Not much has changed.  I am approaching the ten-year anniversary of co-founding our marketing analytics firm, Clario Analytics, where I serve as EVP of Optimization Solutions.  In our office in Eden Prairie, MN we provide products and services for marketing organizations to make smarter decisions, primarily with which customers should receive which marketing contacts (taking advantage of my mathematics degree at GAC and operations research master’s degree from the University of Minnesota).  I live in Chaska, MN with my wife, Karen and three children.  Karen is a parent educator in the Shakopee school district.  Son, Matthew is a sophomore at Gustavus, so I now get back frequently to campus for orchestra concerts.  My two girls attend Chaska schools where Emma is a sophomore and Sarah an eighth grader.”

Chris and Barb (Johnson) Anderson:  “Chris is a family practice doctor and has practiced on the corner of Hwy. 96 and Hodgson Road in Shoreview since 1979.  The name of the clinic has changed a number of times but he is still there.  I am currently teaching K-5 music at a parochial school in St Paul.  It is a great two day a week position.  I am also a music therapist and have primarily worked in the field of hospice.  We have two daughters, one who is a pediatric dermatologist and one who is a litigator.  Our grandchild is one and of course is the light of our lives.”

Deborah Hanson McMurray:  “Hi Gusties!  So sad to attend Hecktor’s funeral, but so grand that he, once again, brought Gusties together.  No particular update from me at this time.  Still CEO and strategy architect of a marketing strategy and technology company that I founded six years ago.  Our clients are primarily law firms around the U.S.”

Lynn Kopesky Schurrer:  “I saw that Paul had died, but never found out what happened to him.  I didn’t know him at Gustavus, but we had exchanged a few emails.  We had a common interest in special needs children and adults.  I have been living in Stillwater, Minnesota for over 30 years.  I am involved in Restorative Justice with Community Circles of Washington County (  I am a circle keeper in the Stillwater Circle.  We accept cases from the court and the community actually does the sentencing for individuals.  I am also an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, as a Bible study leader and co-chair of our church’s Lutefisk and Swedish Meatball Dinner, the proceeds of which all go to hunger relief in our community and around the world.  My son Robert ʼ02 and his wife Jennifer ʼ02 are both Gustavus grads.”

Julie Anne Magnuson:  “I’m still living in Dunedin, Florida running my hair studio and raising my second year, second semester college son.  He attends St. Petersburg Honors College in Clearwater, Florida.  I’m thinking about rallying for a master’s degree in sociology/economics soon.

Candy Boenigk Rendulich is working at Duluth East High School as the career center coordinator, and doing the books for Jack Rendulich Photography...effectively keeping Jack out of Leavenworth.

Jack Rendulich retired March 1st of this year after 26 years as a firefighter for the City of Duluth Fire Department.  He plans to concentrate on his photography business shooting commercial, editorial and sports assignments, and plans to spend a lot more time on Lake Superior chasing salmon and in South Dakota chasing pheasants.  Candy and Jack also are staying busy chasing their two granddaughters, Rylee (20 mos.) and Kenley (4 mos.).

Betsy Bloomquist Lundgren:  “I am currently working as the staff development coordinator for the state of Minnesota, housed at Anoka Regional Treatment Center-the only one left in the state.  I have had the opportunity to travel from state line to state line training on therapeutic interactions and personal safety techniques and trying to stay in shape by doing that!  Kids are out of the house−one will be married in August and one still at UMD and one entrepreneur.  We continue to live in Mendota Heights and look forward to hearing others’ news!  We will miss Paul at our various functions−as Paul would say− Semper Fi!

William Skoog, is chair of Music, director of choral activities, and full professor at Rhodes College, Memphis TN.  He conducts the Rhodes Singers, Rhodes Men's Chorus, and the Master Singers Chorale, performing with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Jeff Marshall serves on the Gustavus Alumni Board and was part of the recent Houston Sesquicentennial Celebration with President and Mrs. Ohle.  Jeff presented each of the Gustavus officials with a Texas souvenir.

Deb Wilmot:  “My news is that I am retiring from teaching in the Inver Grove Heights School District this June, and am excited about having some freedom.  Also, will send more info about eight of us Gusties meeting in Napa Valley in June.”

Bob and Linda (Larson) Ditmore − Children:  Matt ʼ03, Michael, and Marc.  Address:  16740 Jacana Court, Lakeville, MN  55044.  Bob is now retired.

Steve and Kim Spensley live in Pittsford, VT.  Steve works on the grounds crew for The Mountain Top Inn & Resort (Chittenden, VT) and Camp Betsey Cox for Girls (Pittsford, VT).  He also is a professional musician playing guitar and fiddle.  Kim continues teaching French and also works for Camp Betsey Cox.  They are the proud grandparents of four.

Ross Handahl continues to serve as president of Agency 128/Strategic Marketing & Design.  “I have three daughters that attended GAC.  I had a great trip to Florida this spring and visited the lovely home of George and MaryDee (Johnson) Hicks.”

Dwight H. Aukee lives in Hawthorne Woods, IL and is retired from his position as an English teacher and debate coach at William Fremd High School.  His wife, Nita Kay Le May ʼ74 is retired from her position as manager of the Heng Wing Restaurant.

Rich Aulie lives in Crosby, MN, and was married in Deerwood, MN on December 11, 2010 to Mary McMullen.

Rhonda Beane Bakke is retired from teaching for the Duluth Public Schools and is currently living in Duluth.

Jan (Windland) and Tim Butorac are living in Rochester, MN.  Their son got married on September 17, 2011 in New Port, Rhode Island.

Gretchen Dahle Ehresmann lives in Northfield, MN with her husband John.  Their son died unexpectedly on March 14, 2011 at the age of 25.  Our deepest sympathy to their family.

Elizabeth Gordon Sachs is living in New York and working with the Children’s Radio Network.  She encourages all alumni to check out the website.

Deborah Hanson McMurray works for Content Pilot LLC in Dallas, Texas.

Mary Ann Hurst sings jazz and has a new website with CD’s –  She lives in Camden, SC.

Glenn Johnson lives in Two Harbors, MN with his wife Karen (Hubmer), a kindergarten teacher.  He works for 50 Below Sales and Marketing as a Data Integrity Supervisor.

Lynn Pinske is retired from St. Louis County Social Service Department and lives in Virginia, MN.

Kristin Peterson lives in Duluth, MN with her husband Tracy Close.  She teaches a philosophy course and methology at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, MN.  Kristin also directs the senior choir at Concordia Lutheran Church.  The proud ‘Mormor’ for her two granddaughters:  Mabel Marie and Indie Jane.

Dunstan Sheldon lives in Hamilton, New Zealand.  After three years of volunteering, he has rejoined the paid workforce.  As of October 10, 2011, he is working for Genesis Energy in their Marketing Department.

Dee Dee Stenberg Else lives in Rochester, MN, and is currently the RN Research Coorinator at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Philip Richardson lives in Chicago, Illinois, and is president of Aspen Venture Group, Inc., a diversified real estate development and investment company.

Susan B. Walker attended the Convention of Conventional Weapons conference last March, as she continues her humanitarian work.

Volunteers for the Class Letter,

Cindy Durbahn Bowers

Kristin Peterson

Phil Richardson

Campus News

2012 Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Gustavus Alumni Board of Directors has announced its 2012 award recipients:

Greater Gustavus Award – awarded to those “who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College”:

Jon and Anita Thomsen Young ’77 ’77, Eden Prairie, MN, for their volunteer leadership, service and philanthropy to the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations – recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement that brings unusual honor to the individual in his or her field of endeavor:

Scott Dee ’81, Farwell, MN, professor of veterinary population medicine, University of Minnesota, swine consultant, and international research veterinarian and director at Pipestone Veterinary Clinic;

Mark Elfstrom ’01, Anchorage, AK, middle school math and science teacher, recipient of a 2011 Milken Educator Award and finalist for the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching;

Kurt Elling ’89, New York, NY, Grammy Award-winning vocal jazz artist.

First Decade Awards – recognizing early professional achievement in the 10th anniversary class:

Amy Brown ’02, Pittsburgh, PA, neonatology fellow at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center;

Michael Bland ’02, St. Louis, MO, postdoctoral associate, earth and planetary sciences, Washington University.

The Alumni Association will present Faculty and Administrator Service and Retirement Awards at a dinner at Gustavus on May 16; honorees will be featured in the fall issue of The Gustavus Quarterly.

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  The president has gone to 14 different locations from New York to LA.  You can view them all and register for an event at

Upcoming Chapter Events

June 5, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Rochester (Somerby Golf Club, Byron MN)

June 18, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - St. Cloud (St. Cloud Civic Center, St. Cloud MN)

June 19, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Willmar (The Oaks at Eagle Creek, Willmar MN)

June 20, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Fargo/Moorhead (Stokers at Hotel Donaldson)

June 25, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Sioux Falls (Minerva’s Restaurant and Bar, Sioux Falls, SD)

June 26, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Omaha (Spezia Restaurant, Omaha NE)

June 27, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Des Moines (The Wakonda Club, Des Moines IA)

July 16, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Grand Rapids (Timberlake Lodge Hotel, Grand Rapids MN)

July 17, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Duluth (Clyde Park Restaurant, Duluth MN)

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  Speaker for will feature former Gustavus president Dennis Johnson ʼ60.  The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail  Hope to see you bright and early!

Books in Bloom

Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) is preparing to host the second annual Books in Bloom event May 4-6 at the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.  Books in Bloom is a unique event that will highlight books, media, and other resource material within the library through floral arrangements and artistic expression.  More than 20 exhibits will be on display – each of them sponsored by an individual or family and created by professional florists and flower enthusiasts – that represent and illustrate a book or other holding within the library.