The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth
Volume 19 • Number 1 • Summer 2002

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Aino Maria (Lepisto) Husen, Bill Bianco, Tony Stauber, June Hendrickson. Front: Jeannie(Peterson) Rice

Nifty Fifty

UMD sponsored a walk down memory lane during the 50th Reunion held at homecoming last October.

The 1951 reunion committee, June Hendrickson, Frances Knobloch, Tony Stauber, Bill Anderson, Don Cook, Don Lundstrom and Nancy Magnuson, did a great job of organizing the celebration. Their class had something unique to celebrate: they were the first graduating class with members that attended all four years at UMD. There were many highlights including a commemorative wall hanging presented by the class of 1951 to UMD, and a musical interlude presented by Kathryn (Reid) Giddings and Norma (Bergerson) Nummela, both music majors. It was a special chance to hear stories about the early days of UMD.

The following are excerpts of conversations with five of the 1951 graduates.

“We carpooled and I drove my ’34 Chevy. We saw the whole paper
operation starting from peeling the logs, to cutting the veneer,
and then grinding the logs into pulp.”
— Tony Stauber

Tony Stauber received his bachelor of science degree at UMD, and he taught industrial arts for the next 17 years in West Duluth junior high schools, followed by 20 years in administration as Duluth’s local program director.

Like many others he went to UMD on the G.I. Bill. “We were a serious group,” he said. “We wanted an education.” Stauber, who was with the military police for the occupied forces in Japan, remembers marching in a military parade review down Toyko’s Ginsa Street before General Douglas MacArthur. “The attack on the World Trade Center brought back a sight I had all but forgotten. I remembered the day I arrived in Yokahama when the streets were still smoking from the bombing.”

At UMD, Stauber got right to work. His teacher, Gordon Voss, headed up the industrial arts program and was the advisor to Sigma Iota Epsilon, the professional business fraternity. Voss and Frank Kovach took the class on field trips. “It was a wonderful way to learn,” Stauber said. “We went to the paper and match factory in Cloquet to see them make toothpicks, fiberboard tile and clothespins.” The factory later became Potlatch. “We carpooled and I drove my ’34 Chevy. We saw the whole paper operation starting from peeling the logs, to cutting the veneer, and then grinding the logs into pulp.” The class watched as the pulp was rolled tighter and tighter until it turned into paper.

Stauber had fun, too. He was the homecoming parade chairman and, as was only fitting, his industrial arts float, which included a huge working buzz saw, won first prize.

Allan Apter, who received his degree in business and economics, is a strong supporter of UMD. He has been a Presidents Club member for many years and last fall he met the current UMD student who is this year’s recipient of the School of Business and Economics scholarship Apter established.

His memories of UMD are exceptionally clear. He remembers exact conversations, like the one when he was driving to his job in his father’s wholesale produce business and he picked up a classmate waiting for the bus. The classmate said that she doubted if the military would call men back to the Korean War, but she was wrong because that Saturday, Apter received a telegram recalling him to active duty in the Air Force.

Apter had to leave UMD but he wasted no time with his schooling. He attended summer school and took the special correspondence classes that UMD set up. “I was sitting in the barracks a lot of the time so I put the hours to good use,” he said. When he got back to Duluth to finish school, UMD was “bursting at the seams, every course was a great big class.”

Apter, who bought his first stock at age 13 with his paper route money, found himself helping his teacher with a class in corporate finances. Since graduating, he has stayed in the world of finances, first working at his father’s business, then working for a brokerage house as a board marker, and later moving into corporate securities with a Twin Cities firm. He retired in 1994 and has been active with his own funds since then.

Apter has a good memory for faculty members. He was in Dr. Robert Heller’s first geology class and they became good friends. His minor was political science, so he took classes from Dr. Von Glahn. He even remembers listening to Armas Tamminen describe learning English in the Brookston/Gilbert school. They realized Tamminen had Apter’s mother (a Duluth State Teachers College graduate) for his grade school teacher.

Jeanne Peterson Rice has a long history with UMD. She attended the lab school on the lower campus up to the eighth grade and remembers many of her teachers, including Miss Staples, Miss Malm, and Miss Wilcox. When she got back to UMD for college, most of her classes were held at Old Main, however the art classes were held in Tweed Hall, the music classes in the Olcott House and science classes were on the new campus.

Her toughest class was physics and she and her classmates had to walk “across the prairie” up to the new science building. “Our legs got so cold, sometimes we had to turn back,” Rice said, “At that time, young women never wore slacks.”

She said everyone in her class went “without fail to every football and basketball game.” Of course, she had to go to the football games because her father was Lloyd Peterson, the UMD football coach who inspired the young player, Dan Devine. Devine went on to coach football for Arizona State, Missouri, the Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame. Rice said, “I remember Danny very well. He was dedicated and humble. He wanted to play so badly that he never complained, even when the team practiced at Ordean where they only had cold water for the showers.” (See the story about Devine on page 25).

Then, another young man caught her eye. It was Bob Rice, who transferred from the U of Florida and played quarterback for UMD after Devine. They married after graduation and after moving around the country settled in Clearwater, Florida. They have seven children and still operate a family owned carpet and rug retail business.

Bill Bianco, like so many of his classmates, fit a service career into his college career. He enrolled in Duluth State Teachers College after graduation from Denfeld in June 1947 and completed two years at UMD prior to service in the Navy. Upon his return he graduated with a degree in business administration.

“I got grounded for six months but Kitty became queen.”
— Bill Bianco

Bianco and his UMD classmate Paul Davidson were both pilots. Davidson, who later became Duluth’s city engineer, was known because of an extraordinary feat he performed as part of his military career. He was serving as an Army Air Corp pilot, and he had to fly a B-24 out of Karachi, India, (now Pakistan) to the U.S. It was a difficult assignment because on this flight, he was without a radio operator/navigator. He flew halfway around the world using “dead reckoning.”

Bianco and Davidson took it upon themselves to help Kitty Bockland, a UMD and Denfeld High School classmate, run for homecoming queen. Kitty’s election committee printed postcard-sized cards that said “Kitty for Queen.” Bianco said, “Near the date of Homecoming, Paul came flying with me, sitting in the back of a Piper Cub. We flew low over the campus, at about 500 feet, and Paul opened the door and dumped the box.” Planes are supposed to maintain an altitude of 1000 feet over a city, but even at that low height, the cards flew all over the neighborhood and never hit the campus. Bianco continued, “Then the fog came in off the lake and I got lost. Paul was laughing and yelling that he flew all the way to the U.S. from India and never got lost and he wasn’t about to get lost in Duluth. Finally I saw the water tower in Proctor and was able to land. Someone from the airport authority met us and asked if we dropped anything out of the plane. We denied it, of course, but when we got out we saw dozens of cards caught in the tail of the plane. I got grounded for six months but Kitty became queen.”

Adventures didn’t end for Bianco. After graduating, he got married and was working for Northwestern Bell, when he was called back into the service again to go to Korea. He attended officers candidate school and served in the Marines before leaving active duty. He became an assistant vice president of a bank in Rochester, Minnesota, and later moved to Bismarck, North Dakota, where he started Bianco Realty and was a broker-owner for 30 years until his recent retirement.

“’s better to wear out than rust out...”
— Aino Husen

Aino Husen lived in Duluth, so she had a little different experience than the students in the dorms. For one thing, she rode the bus to school every day. She remembers arriving on campus the first day and seeing her classes filled with servicemen returning from World War II. Some of them were 10 years older than the rest of the class. “It made everything we were learning so much more important,” she said. “There was a real purpose to our lessons.”

One of her interests was music so she joined the choir and the glee club and she took piano lessons. Like Rice, she practiced music in the Olcott House and she gave her senior recital at Tweed Hall.

“There was wonderful comraderie,” Husen said, “and an exciting feeling that UMD was brand new, even though they were just getting organized.” For instance, the club Intervarsity Christian Fellowship had to meet in an Old Main stairwell because there was no where else to go.

One of her most memorable moments was when Olga Lakela taught her how to use a microscope in botany class. “Dr. Lakela was an exceptional teacher, and she was easy to learn from,” Husen said.

UMD Husen kept going to school. She got her master’s degree in educational psychology and child psychology from the University of Minnesota. She then worked as a reading specialist in the Minnetonka, Minnesota, public schools for 32 years.

After Husen retired she made five trips to Africa as a global mission volunteer teaching English to African Lutheran pastors. She is considering going on a sixth trip in 2002. “Well,” she laughed, “the bishop of my church told me it’s better to wear out than rust out, and that sounds like pretty good advice.”

— Cheryl Reitan



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