The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Duluth

Volume 21• Number 2 • Summer 2004

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We remember the friends of UMD who have left us.

Gordon G. Ahlgren, ’72, of Hayward, passed away in April. He played football for UMD before graduating in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in applied science. Gordon went on to teach in Grand Marais and Hayward. He was a respected teacher and coach for 30 years. Gordon loved sports, hunting, fishing, and pontooning on Round Lake.

Elizabeth W. Backstrom, a graduate of the Duluth State Teachers College, passed away in January. Elizabeth worked as a cashier and bookkeeper at Piggly Wiggly until 1972.
William F. Bianco, ’51, of Bismark, ND, passed away in February. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and attended graduate school at Tulane University in New Orleans. William served two years in the Navy and four years in the Marine Corps, where he was a first lieutenant. He married

Dolores Volk in 1954. He was an active member of the business community in the areas of banking, real estate, and his own fabric business. As past state chairman of the North Dakota chapter for Employer Support of the Guard Reserve, he earned the Secretary of Defense Medal for outstanding public service.

Lurine Bridges Bussa ’28, of Duluth, passed away in March. Lurine married George Bussa in 1928. She and her husband owned and operated the Duluth Heights Store. Lurine loved knitting, crocheting, and was also an avid gardener.

Mildred G. Carlson, ’53, of Duluth, died in December. Mildred worked for the U.S. Government Social Security Department in Washington, D.C., St. Paul, and Duluth, before retiring in 1969. Mildred loved nature and wildlife, especially birds.

James P. Corson, ’49, of Bloomington, MN, passed away in March. After 39 years of service, he retired as assistant editor-in-chief of West Publishing Company. His passion for music and education was shown in his involvement in the Minnesota Orchestra, the Oregon Bach Festival, Music in the Park, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, UMD, and the University of Minnesota’s Elder Learning Institute and Friends of the Library.

Clifford G. Drill, ’37 and MA ’52, of Burnsville, died in January. Clifford grew up in Duluth and was married to Clara Johnson in 1938. Clifford was a respected educator for 40 years, as well as a junior high
principal. He retired in 1977.

George M. Elioff, ’53 of Ely, passed away in January. George and Mary Gornick were married in 1953. George worked for the Reserve Mining Company until he retired in 1984. He served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, and was a member of American Legion Post 248 serving two terms as commander. George was also part of the Disabled American Veteran’s Kolstad Chapter 23.

Patricia Gustafson, ’60/’80, of Sarasota, FL, passed away in January. After graduation, she taught in Proctor, Two Harbors, and the Duluth Business University. She later worked at A&E Supply Company. Patricia and her husband, Jim Gustafson, were married in 1961.

Howard G. Hanson passed away in May in his home. Howard was a professor at UMD from 1947 to 1985 when he retired as chair of the Physics Department. In 1963 he was awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship in Sweden and was inducted into the Academy of Science and Engineering at UMD in 2002.

Donald Henricksen, ’52, of Duluth, passed away in April. He served in the Navy in World War II, and married Phyllis Joyce Harris in 1947. Donald taught English in Willow River and Owatonna until 1966. He moved back to Duluth to manage Big League Game Co., a business he started after inventing a table top baseball game while in the service. Donald’s favorite pastimes included hunting, fishing, reading, and sports, especially baseball, which he played professionally for a year.

Alan Holmes, ’64, of Brookings, SD, died in October. He was employed by Southwest State University.
Amy (Cavallin) Humphrey, of Grand Marais, MN, died in February. Amy, a graduate of the Duluth Normal School, taught in Grand Marais and was a waitress at the Lutsen resort. She and her husband, Ed Humphrey, were married on Christmas Eve in 1937. The couple ran the Humphrey Store in Grand Marais before retiring in 1981. Amy also served on the Cook County Welfare Board.

Dr. William Loy, ’58, died in November. William received his master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and his doctorate from the Twin Cities campus in 1967. As a resident of Eugene, OR, he worked as a geography professor at the University of Oregon from 1967 until 1997. He led the creation of the first and second editions of the Atlas of Oregon; his work on the first edition earned him a commendation in 1977 from the Oregon Legislature. In 2002, William received one of the university’s highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award.

Gerald R. Lundberg, ’61, of Virginia, passed away in March. After graduating from Denfeld High School, he owned and operated Ernie and Jerry’s Skelly Services. He served in the U.S. Army from 1955-1957, later marrying Barbara Hansen in 1957. While attending UMD, he worked for D.M. & I.R. Railroad in Proctor. In 1964, Gerald moved to Virginia and worked for Jones and Laughlin Steel for 29 years. He also worked as a consultant for Quurum and Brim Management.

Richard M. Nelson, ’50, of Duluth, passed away in March. Richard earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Minnesota before enlisting in the Marines to serve in World War II. He returned to UMD to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1950. Richard and Patricia Sjoberg were married the same year. Richard taught and coached for nearly 34 years in the Duluth school system.

Beuford R. Nielson ’53 of Omaha, NE, passed away in December. Beuford and his wife, Donna, were married in 1953.

Mabel V. Norman Lund, ’54, of Tamarack, MN, died in February. Mabel went on to teach in Utah and Wisconsin before retiring in 1965. Mabel had a busy retirement, including a hot air balloon ride on her 90th birthday, a dune buggy ride on her 95th birthday and a motorcycle ride on her 100th birthday.

Steve Pietila, ’99, of Minneapolis, passed away in December of 2002.

Margaret L. Ruppel, ’68, of Orr, MN, passed away in March. Margaret taught art and language arts at Chester Park in Duluth for 22 years. Margaret and Laurence Ruppel were married in 1979. The couple lived in Duluth until 1991 when they retired from teaching and moved to Pelican Lake, near Orr.

William G. Savolainen, ’65, died in January. William and his wife, Gretchen, were married in 1965. William was in the United States Army Reserve for six years. He worked for Peavey Grain Company in Minneapolis before becoming the general manager of Pacific Northwest in Portland. For the last 19 years, William has been with The Hasson Company Realtors in Lake Oswego.

David F. Schnorr, ’56, of Duluth, died in March. David and Marjorie Winsand were married in 1957. David served as a sargeant in the army during World War II. He taught industrial arts for 36 years in Silver Bay before retiring in 1992. David was a life member of the VFW and American Legion. David was also an active member and lobbyist for the Minnesota Education Association.

Lila E. Schwartz, of Duluth, passed away in April. She lived in Two Harbors for most of her life and attended the Duluth State Teachers College. Lila started teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Castle Danger, Mahtowa, and Floodwood, retiring in Two Harbors in 1973. She married her husband John Arlie Schwartz in 1941. She was an active member of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Two Harbors for many years. Lila was also a Silver Star member of the Alpha Delta Kappa Honorary Teacher’s Sorority as a 50-year member. She was also involved with The Salvation Army Home League, Lake County Cancer Society, Lakeside AARP, Golden Age Club, and Harbor Mates.

Gerald A. Singer, ’49, of Duluth, passed away in March. He served in World War II and married Betty Axelrod in 1952. She preceded him in death in 1987. He and Joanne Jacobson were married in 1989. He worked for his father’s clothing business, L. Singer and Sons, before establishing Stadium Lanes and the Carlton House. Jerry enjoyed spending time at his cabin on Island Lake.

George Starr, UMD Emeritus Faculty member, of Duluth, passed away in June. Starr taught in the field of Secondary Education and was a strong leader in the beginnings of Environmental Education at UMD.

Robert E. Waksdahl, ’70, of Duluth, died in March. Robert worked for Minnesota Power until his retirement in 1995. He and Diane Stone were married in 1966.

Roger R. Wilander, ’68, of Duluth, passed away in December. Roger taught in the Duluth Public Schools for 16 years. He later worked for the U.S. Postal Service, retiring after 13 years of service in 1995. He also served as a private pilot in the Army. Roger and Kay Mickelson were married in 1969.

Thomas Zakula, ’54, died in February. Thomas and his wife, Marlene, were married in Chicago in 1957. Thomas served in the United States Air Force from 1946 to 1948. Thomas worked as an equipment engineer for Western Electric for 15 years in Chicago. He later worked as a mathematics and electronic drawing instructor at Lake Superior College before retiring in 1975.

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