Class of 1943 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Dear Classmates,

We missed homecoming this year but if we are still above ground, we will not miss next year for our 70th reunion.  Our hope is for a huge (?) turnout.  So, you survivors, be ready with canes and crutches and anything else necessary to get you to Decorah next October. 

My niece informs me that even Weston will finally reach 90 on November 30, 2012.  I think he was the youngest in the class, so that means all of us have passed that milestone.

While we cannot add younger members to the class, we do keep subtracting.  In the past few months Dick Savre and Don Gjerdrum crossed over.  Good guys… good records.

Items of interest gained from the Alumni Office include the following:

1. Luther has a search committee looking for a new president.  Rick and Judy Torgerson have been outstanding and are stepping down.

2. There are 681 new students, up from last year.  I discovered while talking to Paul Pribbenow, Luther grad now President of Augsburg College, that Midwest private college recruitment is very tough, so LC did well.

3. Luther has received a good deal of publicity regarding its environmental actions.  First, the big wind turbine and now a solar power development that will make Baker Village zero emission, the largest such development in Iowa.

4. The 585 Luther 2012 grads received $32 million in financial aid–collectively–during their college years.  The need will not recede in the years ahead.  LC needs and deserves our support

I have been working on a paper in which I seek to explain how two Preus cousins, Jack and I, could claim the same God, the same Lutheran Confessions, the same college and seminary, the same affection and admiration for our ancestral Lutheran leaders and for each other, and still not be able to keep our churches together.  I try to describe two theological trajectories by cousins who never lost their affection for each other, while leading two large Lutheran Church bodies in slightly (according to David) or very (according to Jack) different directions.   I think the differences are minor.  Jack saw them as major.  The toughest part is trying to be fair in describing the trajectories when Jack is no longer here to speak for himself.  It may well be another “unfinished symphony.”

Looking forward to next year!  God keep you well!

David Preus
1943 Class Agent
[email protected]

Don’t forget your Annual Fund giving! 

Each year nearly 9,500 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 27% alumni giving to the Annual Fund.  Here’s how your class is doing so far this year:


Have you made your 2012 gift to Luther?  Only 2 more gifts are needed to reach 27% for your class.  Please visit to make a difference for Luther students.  Thank you!

Please note: Your Spring 2013 class agent letter will include a listing of your classmates who gave to Luther during 2012.  Be sure to make your gift before December 31 to be included. 

*as of October 18, 2012

Donald Westby Gjerdrum of Mabel, Minn., died September 21, 2012, at the age of 91. After graduation from Luther, he joined the U.S. Navy and participated in the invasion at Salerno, Italy, as well as the D-Day invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach. Don was discharged from the Navy in 1946; his years in the service left him with a lifelong love of travel. He embarked on a career in music education, becoming a greatly respected band director and educator. Don began serving as band director in Independence, Wis., and after two years there, he returned to his alma mater to serve as instructor for the reed section of the Luther College Band. During his time at Luther, Don also taught woodwinds and band management, and directed the Varsity Band. In 1953 he became director of bands in Spring Grove, Minn., where he taught until 1967, greatly increasing the number of student participants in instrumental music. In 1968, after earning a master's degree in music education from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, Don accepted a position as band director in Burnsville, Minn. He enjoyed his fifteen years there, where he expanded the program, took the band on a European tour, and also served as president of the Minnesota Music Educators Association. Don met and married Doris Mae Olson in 1948, during his time in Independence, Minn. They retired in 1983 and moved to the Gjerdrum farm near Mabel, Minn., where they enjoyed life in the country. Doris died in 1993. Don married Linda Swenson Kjome in 1994, and they have been fortunate to have had almost 18 years together. Don was a faithful member of Scheie Lutheran Church in rural Mabel. He was a fine clarinet player―continuing to play into his 90th year―and enjoyed making music with family, friends, musicians, and fellow band directors. In 1973 Don received the Carlo A. Sperati Award at Luther's homecoming in recognition of meritorious achievement in the field of music. He is survived by his wife, Linda; children: Mary (Gjerdrum) Holman ’71, Sara Gjerdrum, Dorothy Gjerdrum, and David Gjerdrum; stepchildren: Peter Kjome, Kristin Kjome, Kari Kjome, and Catherine Kjome; five grandchildren; and two step-granddaughters. Don is also survived by a wonderful extended family and a wide circle of friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Pauline Overland and Karen (GJERDRUM) Myhre ‘50, and his first wife, Doris. 

Richard Savre of Faribault, Minn., died August 22, 2012, at age 91. Memorial services were held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Faribault, August 27, 2012, with interment at Cyrus (Minn.) South Cemetery. Born in Joice, Iowa, Richard graduated from Cyrus High School in 1938 and Luther in 1943. He married Avis Estensen in 1943, in Cyrus. Richard was a CPA and employed by Nutting Truck and Caster Company, in Faribault. He was recognized as an Unsung Hero by the Faribault Daily News, for his volunteer financial expertise at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.  Richard is survived by his wife, Avis; four children: SUSAN (SAVRE) ASHLAND ‘66, Russ Savre ’68, Paul SAVRE ‘73, and John Savre ’75; five grandchildren, including Elizabeth (Ashland) DeSUTTER ’91, RYAN ASHLAND ’94, and JESSICA (SAVRE) CARNEY ‘01; and ten great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, David Savre, and a sister, Exilona Savre.



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