Fall 2011 Class Agent Letter for 1932-38

Fall 2011

Dear Members of the Classes of 1932-38,

Greetings from Luther, where the sights and sounds of Homecoming 2011—made extra special because it was the culmination of our yearlong sesquicentennial celebration—are still being savored two months later.

Starting with a royal visit from King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, a gala Founders Day festival dinner complete with Norsemen singing-waiters dressed in white ties and tails, and an amazing sesquicentennial fireworks display, the weekend’s festivities went on and on, creating a splendid backdrop for alumni, current students, faculty, and staff to mark the historic occasion of the founding of Luther College 150 years ago.

“Transformed by the Journey,” our sesquicentennial theme, was also put to good use as the moniker for Luther’s latest history book, Transformed by the Journey: 150 Years of Luther College in Word and Image, compiled and written by Will Bunge ’53, professor emeritus of religion and classics, with assistance from Mary Hull Mohr, professor emerita of English, and Dale Nimrod, professor emeritus of chemistry, and published by Luther College Press.

The book’s preface states that Luther’s sesquicentennial “provides a special opportunity to trace the journey of those 150 years, from the founding Norwegian immigrant situation of the mid-19th century through the complexities of the multicultural 21st century.” Lots of photographs from the archives are included, and the book draws on the “Transformed by the Journey” theme to tell the story of the great transformation of the college, its mission, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and greater community.  Contact the Book Shop (1-888-521-5039) if you’d like to order a copy.

Another big campus news item is the 1.6 mega watt General Electric XLE wind turbine recently installed across Highway 52 to the west. The electricity from the turbine will serve Alliant Energy's customers on the west side of Decorah, including Luther.  The 5.2 million kilowatt hours of net electricity generated per year are enough to power more than 500 homes in Decorah and represents approximately one-third of Luther's annual consumption. More details can be found at http://www.luther.edu/sustainability/energy/windturbine/.

And before I sign off, I want to share the news about Chris Norton, the Luther student who was seriously injured during a football game last fall: Chris was named the winner of the 2011 “America’s Choice Honor” for “Courage in Sports,” which was announced on CBS’s The Early Show Nov. 12. You can view the announcement and interview with Norton and his family at: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7388024n.

This honor was the result of an eight-week Facebook voting competition that tallied nearly one million total votes. Chris returned to Luther this fall to resume his studies, while he continues rehabilitation.

In closing, please know how much Luther appreciates all the ways you support our students! We offer our very best wishes to you for a lovely holiday season.


Sue (Franzen) Drilling ’78
Director of Special Programs
[email protected]

PS. If you are a member of the Class of 1932 or 1937, you will have a reunion at homecoming next fall - October 5-7, 2012.  Make your hotel reservations now!

Don’t forget your Annual Fund giving!

Each year nearly 10,000 alumni, parents, and friends support the Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $50,000.  Strong support from alumni helps Luther secure additional funds from foundations and corporations, and your gift each year helps us to reach our goal of 30% alumni giving to the Annual Fund.

Have you made your 2011 gift to Luther?  Please visit www.givenow.luther.edu to make a difference for Luther students.  Thank you!

Please note: Your Spring 2012 class agent letter will include a listing of your classmates who gave to Luther during 2011.  Be sure to make your gift before December 31 to be included.

1936 Obituaries
MILTON GULSVIG of Kerkhoven, Minn., died Dec. 24, 2010, at age 96. At Luther he set records in track and field. Milton was a teacher and a coach, first in Walker, Minn., and then Postville, Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and returned to teach and coach at Kerkhoven and then in Montevideo.  Milton and served as dean of students at the University of North Dakota, while obtaining a master’s degree. In 1951 he returned to Kerkhoven and served as principal of the high school there for 26 years. Milton was active in the community and Kerkhoven Lutheran Church for many years after his retirement in 1977. He moved to Sunrise Village in Willmar, Minn., in 2006. Milton loved sports and enjoyed golf, music, and warm conversation with his family, relatives, and many friends. He is survived by a son, Stephen, and three grandchildren. Milton was preceded in death by his wife, Arline; a son, David; and five siblings, including: JOSEPH GULSVIG ’31, ELMO GULSVIG ’38, RUTH GULSVIG ’41, and STUART GULSVIG ’44.

FREEMAN REPPE of Eugene, Ore., died Oct. 3, 2010, at age 97. After graduation from Luther he earned a master’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 1947. Freeman, formerly of Davenport, Iowa, was a consultant for Kingscott Architects. He was later employed by Arden’s on Brady Street. Freeman is survived by his wife, Esther, and sons Ron and Larry.

GILLMER SEEGMILLER of Decorah died Feb. 7, 2011, at age 95. He attended Luther and worked as a manager for J.C. Penney in Waukon, Iowa, before serving with the 103rd Infantry Division in the Rhineland in Central Europe during World War II. Gillmer was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Bronze Star. Following the war, he was a station manager for the Milwaukee Road and a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. Gillmer retired in 1982. He was one of the first World War II veterans to join the Disabled American Veterans, where he also served as commander. In retirement, he researched and authored Decorah, City of Springs, a book about the history of Decorah’s Water Street. Gillmer traveled numerous times to Europe for genealogy research and spent time honing his wine-making skills, refinishing furniture, and being active in the local square-dance club. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor; two children, including Julie (SEEGMILLER) Braaten ’67; five grandchildren, including JAY BRAATEN ’89; and nine great-grandchildren. 

1938 Obituary
Erling Jordahl of Ankeny, Iowa, died May 12, 2011, at age 94. The son of Edward Jordahl ’10, a pastor, he was born in the parsonage of First Lutheran Church in Mitchell, S.D., and was baptized in that church by his father. After graduating from Luther, Erling attended graduate school at the University of Iowa, where he met his future wife, Audrey (Hexom) Jordahl ’48. He then pursued a teaching career in Calendar and Farnhamville, Iowa, interrupted by World War II. After entering the service in1942, Erling served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot until 1947. He then served as a high school principal in Lansing, Iowa, and later as a superintendent at Rake and Rippey, Iowa. Recalled by the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict, Erling served his country for an additional two years. He retired in 1980, having finished his career as an educational systems consultant. He is survived by his wife, Audrey; two sons, JONATHAN JORDAHL ’75 and Jim Jordahl; three grandchildren; and two brothers, Sig and David. He was preceded in death by a sister, Connie (JORDAHL) BRUE ’39, and two brothers, Edward and Bernard.

Will Bunge and Mary Hull Mohr book signing