Oles in Economics: 1950-1959

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Class of 1950

Class of 1951

Class of 1952

Class of 1953

Class of 1954

Class of 1955

Class of 1956

Class of 1957

Class of 1958

Class of 1959

 Class of 1950

Leonard Bunge (’50):Spent four plus years following graduation as pilot in Navy during Korean War. After that worked for State Farm insurance as District sales manager in Illinois (ChicAgo area). Retired in 1993 and moved to Florida where I have been playing tennis on the Senior Circuit. This is in the usta (Unitedstates tennis assoc.),senior program. My highlight was being named #1 in the country in doubles in 2011, in the 80-85 division. (I was 81 then) I still play and am currently ranked #5 in the 85’s.

Class of 1951: No current entries. Please send us your story at economics-dept@stolaf.edu.

Class of 1952

James Homme (‘52): I began my work after graduation as an executive trainee at Montgomery Ward mail order division.  After two years in the U.S. Army with a stint in Korea I joined my father in law in the retail hardware business.  I also became a funeral director.  In ’57 I entered Luther Seminary and in 1960 I was ordained as a parish pastor.  I served churches in Viroqua, Port Washington, Milwaukee and Eau Claire, all in Wisconsin.  I am now retired.  Perhaps it is of note that I served on the St. Olaf Board of Regents as a pastoral representative.

Class of 1953: No current entries. Please send us your story at economics-dept@stolaf.edu.

Class of 1954

Robert C. Engelstad (’54):  Following graduation, I worked about 6 months for Arthur Andersen & Co. (one of the big 8 accounting firms) and then spent about 30 months on active duty in the Air Force (I was in AFROTC at St.O.) I returned to AA & Co., was admitted to partnership in 1968, and started the consulting division in Minneapolis.  I resigned my partnership in 1978.  The following 20 years I invested in and/or managed several small usually troubled companies.  I would attempt to return them to profitability and then either merge them with another company or bring them public.  I retired in about 1994.  Although AA & Co. unfortunately went out of business because of the Enron scandal, the consulting division continues as Accenture, listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

 Paul Hauge (’54): After receiving my BA at St. Olaf in 1954 and 5 months in India on a SPAN Scholarship, I spent two years in the Air Force with an ROTC Commission. I received a JD from the University of Chicago Law School and have practiced law since 1961 in Minneapolis and Eagan, Minnesota.

Janet Larson (Shickell) Schultheis (’54): Hi, I’m a 1954 grad and spent 33 years teaching as had a bus. ed./econ major….great career–and life…certainly nothing to be listed for now!
Int’l. Falls and Hendersonville, NC….snowbird.

Class of 1955

Elmer R. Olson (’55): I graduated from St Olaf with a BA in Economics in 1955.  I spent 22 years in the Air Force flying fighters.  I picked up an MS in Systems Management from USC along the way.  I used that while stationed in Thailand to teach a course in Business Management for the University of Maryland.  Their hired teachers had been denied visas so they took what they could get.

I retired in 1977 to my boyhood home in Wisconsin.  There I substitute-taught at my old high school and drove a bus for them.  I also taught accounting at WWTI and Federal Taxation at Viterbo College, both in LaCrosse.  While there, I served as president of the Viroqua Conference and Chairman of the Board of the Southern Wisconsin District of the ALC.

Next I flew Swearigen Metros and ATR 42s for Continental Express until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60.   In 1994, we moved to my wife’s childhood home in Kentucky.  There I did more substitute teaching and bus driving.  I have now fully retired although I work with AARP Tax-Aide and served as their Kentucky State Coordinator for three years.

I am married to my second wife, Betty Jo Cordell, an RN.  Between us, we have 8 children, 11 grandchildren, and 2 greats.  We own a 1976 GMC motorhome and camp in it several times a year.

David Otteson (’55): Graduating in 1955 with a Economics and Chemistry double major, I entered the USAF in October, intending to spend three years as an officer rather than two years as a grunt in the Army.  Since I was planning to be a short-timer following completion of pilot training, we took an assignment in Bermuda flying KC-97s; following that I had the opportunity to get into the new KC-135 in Sacramento CA.  While there, completed work for an MBA at Cal State-Sacramento.  Following that tour, went to Plattsburgh NY as an instructor in the KC-135.   Next assignment was at Lockheed Burbank for a year to learn the aerospace acquisition business.  Along with all other pilots facing reassignment in 1967, went to Takhli Thailand for a year flying electronic jamming missions for those bombing North Vietnam; flew over 150 missions while there, unknowingly providing jamming coverage for St. Olaf classmate Elmer Olson.  Upon return was assigned to Lockheed in Sunnyvale CA, which built highly classified reconnaissance satellites for the Air Force.  Final assignment was to Dayton OH as Chief of Production for the Air Force F-15 fighter.  Upon retirement in 1976, became one of three who built the CasaBlanca Fan Company in Pasadena CA; responsibilities included managing sales, marketing, purchasing and production.  While there, completed work for an MS degree in Program Management from USC.  Went next to Homestead Ceiling Fans, doing the same functions.  In 1983 established Otteson Company, importing high-end lighting glass from France and wholesaling to North America;  We are still operating today, but are in the ninth inning and plan to retire in Montana.

While the Economics program at St. Olaf in the Fifties was not nearly what it is today, it provided many of us a foundation upon which to build, which is what a liberal arts education is supposed to do.

Roger Krogstand(’55): I have been completely retired for 2-1/2 years; my brother and I closed our livestock feed mill in November, 2000, after 42 years in that business.  I then did some part-time transit bus driving for Renville County, then a number of years with the Senior Dining centers in Bird Island, Renville, and Hector.  My wife, Shirley, died from complications of MS on Feb. 10, 2011, and I now have a special friend in Marshall, MN, whom I first met as a freshman in High School.  Marilyn’s husband died in March, 2012.  I still live in Bird Island, have my home listed for sale, and when (if?) that sells, plan on getting into an apartment in or near Marshall.  My health remains quite good, so life is also good, thanks to God’s mercy.

Class of 1956: No current entries. Please send us your story at economics-dept@stolaf.edu.

Class of 1957

Duane E. Brekken (’57): Graduated with Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics in 1957.
Received Juris Doctor Degree from William Mithchell College of Law in 1970.
Employed by First National Bank of Minneapolis, Honeywell, Inc., and retired from Control Data Corporation after 23 years as a Contract Manager.
Active duty twice with the U.S Army National Guard and Army Reserve between 1957 and 1962.
Married to Carol Ingerson Brekken since 1963.  Have 2 daughters and 6 six grandchildren.  5 boys and 1 girl.
Inducted into St. Olaf Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.
Currently serving on the Lyngblomsten Care Center Finance Committee and the Lyngblomsten Foundation Board of Directors.
Do volunteer work with Meals on Wheels, Our Saviors Shelter, Como Park Lutheran Church, Como Park Zoo, Lions International, and Minnesota State Fair Foundation.  Also past member of Board of Directors for St. Paul Council of Campfire, North Suburban Patchwork Theatre and Bel Canto Voices.

Class of 1958

Orv Bratland (’58): I graduated from St. Olaf in 1958 with a major in Economics.  Following college and my marriage to Elaine Forsblad (’58) I worked at an interim position before joining Honeywell Inc. in 1962. Except for an 18 month period with Poole Bros. Printing in Chicago where I was the Director of Purchasing for a medium sized group of printing companies, I was employed by Honeywell until my retirement in 1996.

My Honeywell work experience included positions in Avionics Contract Management and Legal as Director, in Research as Director of Marketing, and in the Aerospace and Defense operations at the Director level in Contract Management, Marketing and Business Management.  All of these were while we lived in the Twin Cities although substantial travel was involved as I had responsibilities in Florida and Arizona as well.
Community involvement occurred during the period from 1967 thru 2008.  I served on the St. Anthony/New Brighton Board of Education during the last half of the 70’s and on the City of St. Anthony Planning Commission for several years prior to that.  Most recently I served for six years on the Foundation Board of Lyngblomsten, a care center community in St. Paul founded by Norwegian ancestry women some 100 years ago.  As an avid sports enthusiast, I was involved for nearly 20 years in youth athletics in the St. Anthony community and appointed to the St. Anthony Sports Booster Hall of Fame in 2007.
Recently I have become more involved in our college alumni activities and am thankful for the excellent education experience I had while at Olaf.

Len Paulson (’58): Retired in 1995 from 37 years in the banking industry, but continued in a management consulting capacity for the National Credit Union Administration until 1998. Served as President of several independent banks and a bank holding company. Directed the formation of, and initial internal management or supervision of, five new bank charters. Enjoyed the last 10 years as a “turnaround specialist” with assignments as President of one troubled bank and several problem credit unions — all having struggled with poor management and serious regulatory action, and several cases of fraud and/or criminal activity.

Combined a busy work career with our family life and with extensive volunteering in communities and Lutheran churches, which included leadership positions plus founding of new ministries serving both the congregation and the community.

O. Jay Tomson (’58):  O. Jay Tomson came into this world in the little Norwegian community of Canton, South Dakota, on May 3, 1936.  At the time, his parents operated a small wheat farm near Englevale, North Dakota.  O. Jay’s grandparents, along with his father, immigrated to Iowa from Norway soon after the Civil War in the U. S. ended and settled in and near Belmond, approximately 40 miles south and west of Mason City, where his parents were raised and lived until adulthood.  Before the beginning of WW II, the family returned from North Dakota to Iowa to reside in the little town of Stratford, near Webster City, where O. Jay’s father worked as a butcher and meat cutter in a locker plant. O. Jay’s first name is Ole, the same as his father and paternal grandfather.  His mother, however, always called him Jay, convinced that he would need considerable psychiatric help just to get through grammar school with a handle like “Ole”.

After graduating from Stratford High School, O. Jay attended and graduated with a BA degree in Economics from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  He married Patricia McCarthy, a St. Olaf classmate, in 1958.  O. Jay worked as a field examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (a division of the U. S. Treasury Department) in Minneapolis for two years and then as a field examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for and additional six years, while residing in Ames, Iowa.  An additional eight years passed while O. Jay worked (pursued his banking career), first as Vice President of Operations at Bankers Trust Company in Des Moines and then as Executive Vice President for the Marquette National Bank in Minneapolis.

Bank regulation work, large cities, and large banks had provided a wealth of experience, but O. Jay longed to return to his roots of rural Iowa and become involved in the ownership of a community banking institution. The opportunity presented itself with the acquisition of the Citizens National Bank in Charles City in 1973 from the Olds family.  The Citizens National bank held deposits of approximately $13 million at that time.

In the ensuing years since 1973 the Citizens National bank has served as the catalyst institution, with O. Jay at the helm, to expand through mergers and acquisitions of other neighboring banking institutions to become the largest commercial bank domiciled in North Iowa, with headquarters here in Mason City.  The name became First Citizens along the way.  Assets of the institution have exceeded $760 million, and its wholly owned trust company manages an additional $300 million in investments.  The bank and the trust company serve nine communities in the North Iowa neighborhood, including five county seat cities, and employs 210 people, serving agriculture, business, real estate, and consumer customers. The bank is significantly involved in industrial development efforts, job creation funding, and various economic expansion activities in this area of Iowa.

The First Citizens National Bank Charitable Foundation serves as the vehicle to donate funds back into the communities served by First Citizens National Bank.  Donations have exceeded $200,000 annually for the past few years, when combined with direct donations from the bank.  Patricia Tomson presently serves as Executive Director of the foundation.

O. Jay has served his industry trade associations as President of the Iowa Independent Banks Association and as President of the Independent Community Bankers of America, the national trade association for community bankers located in Washington, D. C.

He served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for six years (1980-1986). He served as a Regent of Wartburg College in Waverly for nine years and presently is a Regent of St. Olaf College (his alma mater) where he has served for ten years.

He also serves as a director of the Promontory Interfinancial Network, Washington, DC, and the Norwegian-American Historical Association, Northfield, Minnesota.  He serves as a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and is a member of the Mason City Noon Lions Club.

Besides, banking, O. Jay has been active in farming in Floyd county where he is partners with Dean Holzer in a 1,600 acre row crop and livestock operation.  Agriculture, reading, skiing, and fishing are his primary avocations.

O. Jay’s family consists of his wife of forty-seven years, Patricia, and three daughters.  Kris Schultz, the eldest, resides with her husband, Rich, and their two sons, Tommy and Barry, in Mora, Minnesota, where they manage the Kanabec State Bank, owned by the family since 1973.  Marti Rodemaker lives here in Mason City with her husband, Bill, and serves as President of the First Citizens National Bank.  Marti and Bill have two daughters, Mackenzie and Meeghan. Sara Tomson-Hooper, the youngest daughter, resides in Wilmington, Delaware, with her husband Kevin.  Both are employed in various capacities with the Salvation Army in social work and disaster recovery efforts.

Patricia Tomson has served as a counselor for Parents United here in Mason City for many years. Parents United is involved in working with dysfunctional families and abused children.

Class of 1959

Bill Montgomery (’59): My hometown was St. James, MN where my father worked for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad as an office clerk and my mother as a home maker, and I grew up as the youngest of four children.After high school, I entered St. Olaf in 1955, hoping to major in mathematics and then switched to Economics and History my second year.

Following graduation, I joined the US Navy, as my home draft board was about to draft me, and  spent the next three and one half years serving in the following areas: Newport, RI for Officer Candidate School;  Brunswick, GA for leadership, communication, radar and air control school  in preparation for serving on board the USS Ranger, CVA-61, as a CIC (Combat Information Center) Watch Officer and Air Controller, and Deck Watch Officer in the Pacific Ocean and Far East.  Karen (Kay) Matthews,  class of ’61,  and I were married in June 1961 inDodgeville, WI and we moved to Alameda, CA and Kay followed the ship around the Far East from Japan to Okinawa to Hong Kong.Upon completion of  my tour of duty in 1962, we moved to St. Paul, MN where I attended classes at the University of Minnesota and then enrolled at Luther Seminary where I developed an interest in Pastoral Care and Counseling through Clinical Pastoral Education.  My seminary internship was spent in Brooklyn, NY in a joint parish and hospital chaplaincy ministry. Upon graduation in 1967 I was assigned to a two-point  parish in Bancroft, South Dakota and several years later we moved to River Falls, WI.  As part of the staff at Ezekiel LutheranChurch, I served first as the campus pastor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, then full-time associate, and finally as Senior Pastor,  until my retirement in 2002.  During those years I completed my MTh at Luther Seminary in Pastoral Care and Counseling and became a member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. We continue to live in River Falls, WI. and have two adult children, Anne (and her partner Lynda Olson), in Eau Claire, WI, and Jon (and his spouse Stephanie, and two children, Jack and Hannah) in Silver Spring, MD. Kay worked as a librarian at the University of California, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls; during those years she also received a degree in Piano Tuning and Technology from UW-RF and developed her own business as a piano tuner. Although I never made professional  use of my Economics degree, it, along with my History and broader liberal arts education provided excellent  background and preparation for both my Naval duty and pastoral ministry. However, it is fun to note that my son also graduated with a degree in Economics, from Knox College, then pursued graduate work in International Economics at the LaFollette School of Public Policy, UW-Madison, and currently works for NASA in the Aeronautical Research and Mission Directorate.
While at St. Olaf, I enjoyed singing in both the Viking Chorus and the St. Olaf Choir,  and today still sing with the Croix Chordsmen Chorus in Stillwater, MN; other hobbies include annual duck hunting trips to St. Ambroise, Manitoba with my son, pheasant hunting in SD, gardening, reading, and enjoying the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra concerts and Guthrie Theatre productions. We are active members of Hope Lutheran, a young and active mission congregation in River Falls.  Other current community activities include serving on the boards of the River Falls Community Foundation and Our Neighbor’s Place, providing shelter and support for homeless people. Both Kay and I are ten-year cancer survivors, following our surgeries in 2004, and continue to enjoy life to the fullest, grateful for each new day.

Bruce Halverson (59′): I graduated from St Olaf in 1959 with a double in History and Economics. At STO I was very involved in Athletics being on the Football team in the years 1953, 54 , and 55. I attended the Air Force, receiving my MBA while in the Air Force.  I received my Commission  while in the ROTC program at STO. My working years were spent  in the Sales Division of Alcoa Alum.   I left Alcoa to get into a small Retail Deparment Store business as one of the part owners. The last 27 years I worked as a Broker selling small Business’s primarily in the Twin City area, but I was had license’s in Wis, Iowa, and the Dakota’s. I have been retired for seven years. My Wife and I have five Children and twelve Grandchildren. We make our home in Edina and spend our winters in either Mexico or Florida. St Olaf College has a very warm spot in my heart, and always will.

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1930s Economics Majors

1940s Economics Majors

1960s Economics Majors

1970s Economics Majors

1980s Economics Majors

1990s Economics Majors

2000s Economics Majors

2010s Economics Majors


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