1961 Class Letter

Gustavus Adolphus College gustavus.edu alumni@gustavus.edu

January 2000

Dear 61ers,

An eclipse of the moon is screened in my window above our computer. Somehow it seems an appropriate setting for the first class letter in the new millennium. Happy 2000! Good reports are coming in about Y2K -- do you have any accounts to the contrary? The most scary thing is that the Class of '61 has begun turning 61! Most of us were also born in '39, and we are now 39 years out of Gustavus.

The December statistics on the Gustavus Fund show that we were down by 17 donors from a year ago but up in dollars donated. 35.9% had sent a gift by Dec. 20, compared to 43.6% of classmates in 1998. Please remember the alma mater as we begin this new year, century and millennium. Phonorama for spring includes all classes, and I will be talking with some of you on March 20-23 and 27-30. Your gifts are appreciated very much.

Since our last letter some of you have been in evidence at Gustie events. The library associates' gala evening at the Radisson South had a good 1961 turnout. Others may have been present in the crowd, but I saw Harlan ('60) and Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, Al and Dori Bergstrom Macek, Stu and Marlys Johnson, Bruce and Sue Gray, Bob ('60) and Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold and Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus. At Christmas in Christ Chapel at the Friday evening performance I saw only Randall Stuckey, but learned later that Bob ('60) and Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold and Jan Huntington Nelson also enjoyed that evening of music, dance, and general Christmas spirit.

Our family is very, very grateful to God for the successful surgery Sid had at Mayo in December. The laparoscopic Heller myotomy seems to have corrected the achalasia condition. Now he is back to discovering normal food, sleeping in a bed and handling normal exercise. A heart-warming Gustie connection for us in Rochester happened the morning after surgery when Rod Goldberg came into Sid's room before going to a procedure that he was having at St. Mary's Hospital that day. With all of his concerns, he still gave me the number of his son in Rochester "in case you get yourself into any trouble." Rod, you are more than Goldie, you are pure gold!

The Alumni Office is offering to add campus news to class letters, and I am opting to have them supply you with complete details of all the latest happenings.


The Gustavus campus is in the midst of January term with over 20% of the student body away from campus this month participating in internships, study abroad programs, student teaching or studying at other domestic institutions. On campus there are many unique classes being offered such as Archeology and the Bible and Analyzing Japan in addition to numerous classes and programs around a J-Term 2000 theme - Focus on Women's Studies. Next year January Term will focus on environmental studies. Winter sports, fine arts and extra-curricular activities are also in full swing. Even though there is little snow at Gustavus the new Nordic Ski Team is preparing for competition. The band and choir are preparing for southern tour destinations—the band to Florida and the choir to Texas.

Construction on campus continues as the new Campus Center will be finished in February with the completion of renovating the former dining service building. Many offices will then move to their new location in the Campus Center including Admission, Dean of Students, Student Activities and Residential Life. Construction of the new International House-Swedish House, a new residence hall/international center to replace Johnson Hall and the Swedish House that were destroyed in the March 1998 tornado, will begin this spring. Construction on an outdoor track and new soccer field stadium will begin this summer. If you have not been back to campus lately, you are encouraged to make a visit to see these exciting changes.

If you can not make it back to campus, but want to stay connected, check out the Internet site at gustavus.edu. The college is thrilled to recently have hired a web coordinator who has been busy updating the Gustavus home page. Look for more changes to alumni services on the web coming this spring.

You are invited and encouraged to attend these upcoming alumni events:

Naples gathering February 5 (Marco Island gathering cancelled)

Tucson Chapter gathering February 7

Phoenix Chapter gathering February 8

Sun City Chapter gathering February 9

Seattle G.I.V.E. project February 19 and Seattle Chapter gathering on March 2

Bay Chapter gathering March 4

Los Angeles Chapter gathering March 5

San Diego Chapter gathering March 6

Helen and Paul Baumgartner, Gustavus music faculty will perform two piano recitals in the Twin Cities on March 19, 7:00 p.m. at Wayzata Community Church and on April 9, 10:00 a.m. at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Brooklyn Center.

50th Anniversary Class and 50 Year Club reunions - May 26-27

A reminder that all other reunion classes (1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995) will have their reunions at Homecoming on September 29-30.

A new method of giving to the College is now available! Lutheran Brotherhood created a highly successful and popular program for Lutheran churches called Simply Giving and has just extended this opportunity to Gustavus and other Lutheran colleges. Simply Giving is an automatic bank draft program that allows you to make regular monthly gifts from a checking or savings account to the College. You do not need to be Lutheran to participate, there is no cost to you or the College for this service, and you can make changes at any time. For so many people, it is much easier to give $50 a month than to write a $600 check once a year. Please call Heather Nancarrow at (800) 726-6192 or (507) 933-7518, or e-mail her at hnancarr@gustavus.edu to request more information.


Rev. Jerry ('59) and Joan Miller Hoffman, Minneapolis, are experiencing retired life since Dec. 1, 1999, when Jerry retired as senior pastor at Nativity Lutheran Church in St. Anthony Village after serving over twenty years. Orlin and Marge Billehus, Montevideo, also should have retirement tales to tell since Orlin has taken leave from the Montevideo Public Schools. He had taught social studies and science. Dr. Paul and Doriann Fredrickson Thompson, Greeley CO, are both employed by Aims Community College. Paul is president of that institution, and Doriann teaches there. A new grandson, Keenan Michael Thompson, was born in Olympia, WA, on Aug. 12, 1999. Paul and Doriann have four grandchildren. Dale and Pat Gustafson, Manchester, CT, continue to live out East and to work. Dale is in sales with the Bakos Group. Pat is a nurse, but my notes are unclear about the level of her employment activity at this time. Tony Rolloff and Dr. Carolyn Wedin, Whitewater WI, have returned from a recent trip to Africa. Carolyn, you will have to send more details before you depart for you upcoming teaching assignment in Lund, Sweden.

Milo and Carole Paulson Olson, Wautoma WI, plan to tour Norway with their daughter Johanna, son, Eric and his wife, Dawn, in conjunction with a trip with the Luther College Choir. Both Johanna and Eric are Gusties. Carole and Milo enjoy retirement. Erik is technical coordinator at Eastbay in Wausaw, WI, and Dawn is an administrator for Graebek Companies there. Johanna is in Chicago where she is with the ELCA in Lutheran Disaster Response. Dr. Milt and Lorna Jafvert Reed, Friendswood TX, had both children, Sarah from Minnesota and Eric from Florida, home for Christmas. They are enjoying work: Lorna substitutes at the neighborhood elementary school and Milt "is still involved with flight control systems analysis and design for the Space Shuttle and Space Station Crew Return Vehicle." They enjoyed a March trip to southwestern Arizona. Milt's mother in Minneapolis is 97. Dr. Maury and Jan Sanftner Elvekrog, Birmingham MI, announce that Jon married Allison in New Hampshire in September. The newlyweds honeymooned in South America and now live in San Francisco. Last May Jan's mother, Esther celebrated her 90th birthday with the entire family attending in Ames, IA. Eric, Kirsten, and Julie, John and Lauren, their first grandchild, all live in various areas of Chicago. Maury, the Class of '61 joins your family in rejoicing over the success of your surgery in June.

A Super Classmate award goes to Brad Zimmerman, Oklahoma City OK. Brad responded to last fall's class letter request for a copy of Dr. Richard Reusch's textbook used for the World Religions class. Arne ('60) and Carol Weisbrod Johnson, New Hope, you deserve the award also because you two had already found a copy of the book for Ron.

Two classmates are in terrific battles with cancer. Rod Goldberg (Goldie), Austin, has spent a lot of time in Rochester these months. Doctors tried to remove a tumor from his esophagus in October, but it was too large. Then he commuted (with wonderful help from a group of Lyle, MN, buddies who now live in the Austin area and have been gathering regularly for many years) to Rochester for chemotherapy and radiation until Rod became so weak that hospitalization was necessary for eleven days until Christmas. Now he has begun a new series of chemotherapy this past week which requires periodic trips to the Mayo Clinic. Our love and great wishes for renewed good health, Rod and Marlys. Cards may be sent 1908 2nd Ave. SE, Austin, MN 55912. In the Twin Cities, Dr. Joseph Peterson, formerly Dilworth MN, is battling a brain tumor with unique, experimental treatment at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. About a year ago chemotherapy was found to be totally ineffective, and it was stopped for several months. Then Joe and Sylvia's son at the University of Minnesota learned about experimental treatment at the hospital, and Joe decided to try it. Doctors removed a large part of the tumor surgically and then injected a toxin into what remained. The toxin seems to have killed the tumor but it has caused swelling which left stroke-like effects and damaged the left side of his body. Joe, your classmates send love and prayers. Joe and Sylvia have moved from their large, new lake home to the following Twin Cities address for now: 3535 Bryant Ave. So., Apt. 403, Minneapolis, MN 55408.

20th Anniversary materials about Bethel New Life, Inc. give exciting information suggesting that our classmate, Dr. Mary Nelson, Chicago, is truly moving mountains. The brochure states, "20 years ago Bethel Lutheran Church, buoyed by God's promises, established Bethel New Life as the community-based vehicle towards an affordable livable, just community. With God's help over the past 20 years, we have developed almost 1,000 units of affordable housing in addition to 3 industrial and 2 commercial sites; brought in over $98 million in new investment to a credit-starved community; placed almost 5,000 people in full time employment; involved over 1,000 neighborhood residents annually in self-help efforts and community improvements; developed cutting-edge initiatives in stimulating employment, environmental redevelopment, and smart growth in an urban community context; finalized development plans for the once-shuttered 437-bed, 9.2 acre St. Anne's Hospital, which created over $25 million in new investment and became a national model for adaptive reuse; developed youth and cultural arts initiatives that build on our creative gifts; and completed the $3 million 21st Century campaign which equips Bethel to move into the new millennium with minimal debt." The January, 2000, newsletter includes a thank you to Dr. Carolyn Wedin Rolloff and her sister, "for sharing box after box of interesting yard goods. What a wonderful way to pass on the opportunity for your young women to learn to sew, for curtains and improvements in our Supportive Housing, for seniors to make quilts." The web site given for Bethel New Life, Inc. is as follows: www.bethelnewlife.org

Jim and Marilynn Clark Tanner have moved from Irvine, CA, to a retirement home on a golf course in Hot Springs Village, AR. Both were raised in Arkansas. Jim retired May 1. They have enjoyed quite a year with a vacation in Maui, a motor home trip in the West and in Canada, and a long trip in Eastern Europe that included a ten-day riverboat tour on the Danube River. Peter and Julie Nelson Neyhart, Juneau AK, continue to spend retirement time traveling to visit their children and participating in trips, many of which are Elderhostel plans. They were in Lancaster, CA, to visit their son Scott, Liz, Sam and Lilly in the winter, and then they returned in July to meet their new grandson, Wyatt Peter who was born June 14. Their daughter Brook and Lance are in Ithaca, NY, where Lance is studying at Cornell U., and the Neyharts visited there in the fall. Numerous other excursions during the year included tours in Alaska, seeing the ruins and the Mediterranean in Turkey, and attending the Festival of the Cranes in Socorro, NM.

Elsa Cornell, St. Peter, reports that the house at 220 Minnesota is almost redone after the tornado damage. The painter needs to, "redo what wasn't well prepped - hence, the awnings do not get put up until spring/2000!" Elizabeth Eckhoff will be married Sept. 16, 2000. Elsa also says that, "hopefully the sculpture in Cec' honor will be dedicated" on Gustavus' graduation weekend. Al and Karin Erickson Gaskell, Hopkins, are learning about retirement in a difficult way. Al is taking advantage of the time to have hip replacement surgery on a congenital problem. The surgery took place Dec. 7, and Al is doing great now. Continued good healing wishes and prayers to you, Al, from the Class of '61. Al and Karin are building a winter retirement home in Georgetown, TX, which should be ready next winter. Dale and Barb Knutson Richter, Rochester, enjoy their grandson, Cole, who became one last year. Their son, Troy (he has a twin brother, Todd) and Jaralee expect twins in early February. Their son, Scott married Patty in June, and the new couple lives in Plainview, not far from Rochester. Last January Dale and Barb, "explored and rain and cloud forests and mountains of Costa Rica." Then in September they took a tour across Canada from Quebec City to Vancouver; Barb writes that the Canadian Rockies were the best.

Bob and JoAnn Schwartz, Chanhassen, plan to be in Hawaii again in February and March. Their daughter, Kris and Matt will join them for part of the vacation. Bob is busy serving on the building committee for an addition project at their church. Dr. Marv and Nancy Williams Rensink, Pleasanton CA, have a new granddaughter, Lenaya Hope, born July 26. Their daughter, Janice is expecting their third child in April. Nancy's mother is spending the winter with them in California. Nancy and Marv vacationed in the Outter Banks in North Carolina in October, and their daughter's family accompanied them. Malcolm Heath, son of the late Richard and Carol Olson Heath, Minneapolis, married Sara Hamilton in Portland, OR, on New Year's Eve (which was Carol and Dick's anniversary). The couple will live in Oregon.

Dave and Jean Linnee, Edina, report that no dramatic news is taking place except that Dave is using retirement to help their sons do some remodeling in their homes. He also went to Florida to help his congregation in acquiring a new organ which will be installed in a few months. Dave is taking delight in being a guardian for his father's cousin who is 89 years old. She is legally blind (since the age of 8) and deaf, and her left eye had to be removed--she has rebounded! Then she broke her leg--she has now "lost" her cane. Dave says that is was a great treat to take her out for breakfast on Monday. Sally Enstrom, Minnetonka, has had similar experiences with an aunt and uncle. The aunt has had fabulous experiences in the diplomatic corps and there are very interesting papers and items to be dealt with since the aunt died in early December. The uncle now has complicated health issues that Sally is assisting him with.

Some notes have surfaced which I do not have checked off so the news is being included--perhaps again. Wes and Corrine Ek Lindstrom, Minnetonka, have a granddaughter Emily who was born in Boston, MA, Dec. 21, 1998 to Jennifer and Neil Kelleher. That family moved to Urbana, IL, in mid-June. Their sons are not married. One is completing a Ph.D. in history and the other hopes to become a school administrator but he is in Tarsus, Turkey now. Lowell and Mary Jane Rasmussen, Nevis, spend winters in Florida. One daughter, who is a doctor, and her husband are with the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, and the family often spends Christmas there. They have two winter grandchildren and two Minnesota granddaughters. Their youngest daughter teaches in Cambridge, and she has finished her master's degree now. Lowell has had a knee replacement. Bob and Joy Larson Rubin, Elk River, report that Jim married Laura Lynch in May, 1998. Their other son has been in Maine, but he returned for a medical fellowship in Minnesota in summer. He hopes to become a gastroenterologist. Lana has two children, one of whom is in elementary school. Rev. Donald and Corrine Goplin Slaughter, Farmington, are retired.

That is all of the news for now. Keep those news notes coming. They are very important so please keep in touch. Our next class letter will come when spring is in the air.

Your Class Agent,