Class of 1939 Fall Letter

Fall 2011

Dear Classmate:

Apparently I did not write a fall letter. I have been so notified. My thinking I had written a letter is probably confirmation of senility?  No one has complained among the recipients, however. Anyway, being close to Christmas allows me to use some Christmas reflections.

Luther has been busy celebrating its sesquicentennial with the highlight being the visit of Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway on October 13, 2011. His Majesty gave an appropriate speech and they both also spent an hour at Vesterheim. Both institutions celebrated their presence in a Royal manner, which they appreciated.  I did not get to Decorah but did go to Minneapolis, where I had a visit with Their Majesties―who have been friends over the years―and attended a great dinner with over a thousand others at the Minneapolis Hilton on October 16th. His Majesty gave a short speech of appreciation and Honorary Consul General Gary Gandrud did a fine job of arranging their Midwest visit.

We have lost another class member, SANFORD LESTER FORDE, at age 95. He was one of my closest friends at Luther but suffered Alzheimer’s Disease the past seven years. He lived with his daughter, Helen Kerscher, who saw to all his needs and also kept me informed as to his condition. Les was an outstanding athlete as a football halfback and captain of the baseball team. I still treasure an autographed baseball he gave me. I last saw him as manager of the general store with wife Grace in Strawberry, California. His obituary is appended.

We continue to live together in our condo these days but have slowed down in activities.  I am the cook with necessary instructions from Ollie. Take-outs come in handy at times. Her arthritis is a terrible disease with little help from medicines or advisors.

We have our Christmas trees up inside and outside complete with decorations. We look forward to a visit from son Jon and his wife Kim for Christmas. In checking on Christmas, I discovered there was a fourth wise man, whom history has forgotten. It seems he disgraced himself by bringing a fruit cake!

December is when Santa Claus is making his list and checking it twice – and about four months later, the IRS asks to borrow it. Speaking of our condo, I just checked the Betty Crocker cookbook and found that gingerbread house cookies have gone condo!

As we age we seem to cut down on Christmas decorations, especially the large decorated wreaths. Christmas decorations are fine but I think our neighbor overdoes it. When he opens his car’s glove compartment there is a nativity scene.

Did you hear that the atheists have produced a Christmas play?  It’s called “Coincidence on 34th Street.” What I like about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with the present.   

Last year I gave my wife a three-piece sweater set – a ball of yarn and two knitting needles. I haven’t seen any results yet, however. She claims she has everything she needs. I suppose the ideal gift for someone who has everything is a burglar alarm?

Last Christmas I ordered so many practical gifts I was practically broke. But anyway, we are a lot better off when the Christmas spirit comes from the “heartful” rather than the “snootful.”

On your gift list, don’t forget to help Luther College celebrate the 150th anniversary with a donation to the Annual Fund to provide a happy Christmas for all!

A blessed Christmas to all!

E.J.Nordby, M.D.
1939 Class Agent
[email protected]

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.  Here’s how your class is doing so far this year:

CLASS of 1939 TOTAL GIVING:  $550.00 from 35.29% of the CLASS*

Have you made your 2011 gift to Luther?  Please visit 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.

*as of October 21, 2011

Margaret (Rud) Glasrud of Madison, Wis., died from respiratory failure on March 9, 2011, at age 91. She earned a certificate in education from Luther and taught school in Ossian, Iowa. Among her teaching challenges was training Norwegian-American youth to read and write English―something she dearly loved. Margaret and her husband, Leslie, moved to Plainview, Minn., where Leslie began his long career with Skelly Oil Co. The family also resided in Pipestone, Aitkin, and Rochester, Minn., Madison, Wis., and Mesa, Ariz.  She enjoyed gardening, reading―always the daily newspaper – and watching the ever-changing Monona Bay across from her home. Margaret also liked to sit on an inner tube in the bay, attend sporting events, and ride in the car. She liked to travel and took trips to China, Japan, the Philippines, Norway, Mexico, and Canada. For many years, Margaret and Leslie wintered in Mesa and spent the summers in Madison. She was an avid people-watcher and enjoyed being around people, but not the center of attention. Margaret made sure that everyone was taken care of before taking care of herself; what her children and others perhaps most remember was her ability to snap her fingers to end any potential conflict or ill behavior. She is survived by her children, Bruce Glasrud ’62, David Glasrud, Judith Lynn, and Karen Wolf; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. Margaret was preceded in death by her husband, Leslie in 2001, and children, Robert Glasrud and Camilla Crawford.

IRENE (BAKKE) HART of La Crosse, Wis., died April 7, 2011, at age 91. She attended Luther, then nursing school in Chicago. Her husband, William Hart, a doctor, was a hospital commander in the U.S. Air Force. Upon his death in 1992, Irene stayed in San Antonio, Texas, then moved to La Crosse to be near family. She attended English Lutheran Church in La Crosse and enjoyed her friends, quilting group, walks with her dog, and visits with family. A luminous soul, she will be mourned by family and many friends. Irene was a proud Norwegian-American from the farms of Decorah, and it was there she developed a love of horses, dogs, hummingbirds, and dancing. She is survived by her children, WILLIAM HART ’67, GREGORY HART ’70, and CYNTHIA HART ’74; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Irene was preceded in death by a twin sister, Phyllis (BAKKE) Blair ’39, and a brother, Andrew.

SANFORD LESTER FORDE of Albuquerque, N.M., passed away October 21, 2011, at age 95.  He excelled in sports at Luther―especially football and baseball―and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. After graduation from Luther, he taught history and coached football in Minnesota. In 1941, Les entered the Army Air Corps, finished cadet training at Kirkland Air Force Base during World War II, and became a navigator-bombardier instructor as a second lieutenant. He instructed in the use of the once top-secret Norden bombsight, while stationed in New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. During his Army Air Corps career, Les flew training missions with actor Jimmy Stewart and had many tales to tell.  After the war, Les worked for 35 years in the labor relations department of Giddings and Lewis Machine Tool Co. in Wisconsin. Upon retirement, he moved to California, where he joined his daughter, son-in-law, and grandson to become the “branch” manager at their general store and resort in the Sierra Nevada town of Strawberry, Calif. There he enjoyed fishing in the Stanislaus River and several local lakes. Les also spent many a day playing golf, logging three separate holes-in-one as a scratch golfer.  He continued to shoot at or below his age into his eighties. Les and family moved to New Mexico in 1996, where he lived in Rio Communities and later moved to Los Lunas with his daughter.  Les had a love for animals; over the years, he adopted many strays, who faithfully made him their master. This love of animals and love for life was apparent in everything he did.  Les was a member of San Clemente Parish in Los Lunas. He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Grace.  Les is survived by his daughter, Helen Kerscher; a grandson; 2 great granddaughters; a half-brother; and half-sisters. He also leaves his favorite therapy cat, Baby, and longtime caregiver, Gloria Nevarez, of Los Lunas.


Fireworks over the football field - Homecoming 2011