Class of 1939 Spring Letter

Giving List

Spring 2013

Dear Classmate:

The only news I have received to impart to you is that Luther’s Sesquicentennial Fund campaign was completed on December 31, 2012, and 57 million dollars was raised, rather than the goal of 50 million! That recalls the days we were attending Luther, when they almost had to pass the hat to pay the meager salaries of the staff. Celebrating the accomplishments of Richard Torgerson's presidency of 14 years is also in full swing, with dinners and listening posts about the country. It is well deserved, as he has done a very good job advancing Luther in educational excellence, as well as in facilities for living and learning. Usually anniversaries are like martinis: after a few, you don't count them!

As I write this, it really doesn’t look like spring is only a day away in Madison, Wis., where we are shoveling out yesterday's 5.7 inches of snow. We are twenty inches above our normal quota of snow thus far and ready to see it all melt. A year ago this date it was 80 degrees here.

With all the problems going on in our world―financial, governmental, rebellions, and all―I was thinking of the development of Western civilization over time. It seems that five Jewish men were most influential in this evolving history. Moses said the law is everything; Jesus said that love is everything; Marx said that capital is everything; Freud said sex is everything. But Einstein said that everything is relative! So there you are.

It’s tough to pull out of the depression, or whatever they call our current financial troubles, but there is hope. The politicians try to instill confidence in order to keep their jobs. It is said that confidence is keeping your chin up, but overconfidence is sticking your neck out! The road to success is more difficult these days―just getting a job is tough. But the road to success is dotted with many temporary parking places that slows down the process.

The times affect people differently. Some turn to religion and others turn from religion in discouragement. A fellow asked God for a bike. But he really knew that God doesn't work that way. So he stole a bike and asked for forgiveness! The best index to a person's character is (a) how he treats people who can't do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can't fight back.

Well, in May I will retire from 55 years on the board of directors of Wisconsin Physicians Service (WPS), a health insurance company. I was chairman of the board for 30 years but resigned that position a few years ago when I thought they should have a younger person with more energy than I had. It proved to be the correct thing to do, as they got a very good replacement. I’m still trying to figure out how I went from collecting antiques to being one! I will miss the people I worked with, but my agenda will be easier to figure out without considering meeting dates.

I hope you are looking forward to October 11, 2014, when we will have our 75-year reunion celebration at Luther College. I hope we can have Dr. Weston Noble as our host, as he has done an excellent job at our last two reunions. At our ages people are after us to make our wills, if we haven’t done so yet. A will is your last chance to think outside the box! They say the wages of sin is death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it’s just sort of a tired feeling. I saw a sign in front of a church that says “Fed Ex is good — but it doesn‘t deliver us from evil.”

As I recall, we have lost our class president and valedictorian to the grim reaper, but I’m reminded of the fellow who claimed he was class president, valedictorian, and was voted most likely to succeed. He never once mentioned that he was homeschooled! He is probably the person who tells people that he has spoken in front of four presidents. That was at Mount Rushmore.

My wife, Olive, suffers from very bad arthritis, among other things, so she gets around with a walker and is unable to do her art work because of shoulder and hand disability. Vesterheim and the Norwegian-American Genealogy Center are publishing a retrospective of some of her artwork at a dinner on April 7, 2013. We hope she will be able to attend. I recall a hardware man who was said to cure arthritis. One day locals saw a little old lady, bent over on her cane, enter the store on a visit. Later she came out walking almost perfectly straight, with her head held high. The crowd cheered, “It's a miracle! What did he do?” She replied, “He sold me a longer cane.” So it goes.

Just because Luther College raised 57 million dollars doesn’t mean we shouldn't continue supporting the Annual Fund, to support students and programs. So greet the spring with a generous gift to the Annual Fund, and also save up for our 75th anniversary reunion next year!

Stay well and see you then!


E.J. Nordby, M.D.
[email protected]

Don't forget your Annual Fund giving!  

Each year nearly 9,000 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 reach our goal of 27% alumni giving.  Here’s how your class did in 2012:

Class of 1939 total giving in 2012:  $13,380 from 46% of the class

Your gift can boost the impact your class has on current students!  Please use the enclosed envelope or visit to show your support.  Thank you!

This list includes all gifts received January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012. Making a gift each and every year is an investment in the lives of Luther students and a show of support for the Luther College community.  Thank you for your support of Luther College through your giving. 

Hazel (Milbrath) Amundson*
Ruth (Roseth) Heimdahl
Louise (Naeseth) Hubbard*
Jack Layton*
Phyllis (Johnson) Leseth*
†Isabelle (Collins) Nasby*
Eugene Nordby*

* made a gift in each of the last five consecutive years. 

Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list.  If an error has been made, please accept our apology and contact the Luther Development Office at 800-225-8664, or email [email protected].

2013 Spring on Luther Campus