Class of 1947 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Dear Classmates/Best Friends,

I am writing this from Decorah, where I am still feeling exhilarated from Luther’s Homecoming Weekend, which was like a 3-day pep fest! I surely wish you could have been there. The college treated the graduates celebrating anniversaries like royalty. They also showed genuine gratitude to the class agents and gave us assistance to help our letter writing. Every meeting began with “welcome home.”

What a program is the class agent program! Have you thought about the fact every class has a class agent—almost all do—which means almost every alumnus receives a personal letter twice a year? Incredible!

A class agent’s responsibility is to keep the lines of communication open, so that you know you are not forgotten by your alma mater and your classmates. But we also hope you’ll want to show appreciation for Luther by sending a gift; you may do so, and please know gifts of all sizes are welcome.  Foundations that award grants to Luther are very interested in knowing whether alumni are appreciative of their alma mater, and Luther keeps records of each class’s percentage of participation in giving. Let’s raise our percentage! We are so small in number now—40 or less; we could easily be at the top of the percentage chart! Let’s go for it!

Luther’s enrollment is up, its finances are in good shape, and the Sesquicentennial Fund’s goals are being reached. Someone asked President Torgerson how well graduates are doing in the job market, and we were told 98 percent have a job they prepared for within 6 months of entering their field of employment. Fabulous!

I wish I had more time and space to tell you about the new aquatic center under construction. It is “Luther-style”—the tops!—and built to Olympic regulations for athletes and will have wonderful rehab facilities for that purpose.  There will be 250 spectator seats for attending swim meets. It will surpass anything of its type in the Midwest and will certainly add to Luther’s attractions! God be praised!

SYLVIA (VAALER) VAHLE drove down for homecoming from Tracy, Minn., and ALICE (MICHELSON) COLLINGS ‘48 and EVY (FRUECHTE) ESTENSON ‘48 were also there. It was good to see them! Please let me hear from you and send a gift to Alma Mater, to which we owe a lot!

Most sincerely,

Norma (Quill) Fisher
1947 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 participation goal to the Annual Fund.  Here’s how your class is doing so far this year:


Have you made your 2012 gift to Luther?  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

WALTER “WALLY” MOE of El Dorado Hills, Calif., died April 26, 2012, at age 89. Born in Chicago, he graduated from Lane Technical High School (an all-boys school) in 1940 before enrolling at Illinois Institute of Technology and attending for a year. Wally entered the Army Air Corps, where he learned to fly the B-17. During World War II, Wally flew 18 combat missions into Germany and Austria. After the war ended, he enrolled at Luther--where he met, and later married, the love of his life, BARBARA (MORSE) MOE ’48. After graduating from Luther in 1947, Wally re-entered the Air Force and also earned a master's degree in jet and rocket propulsion from Purdue University. He moved his family to California in 1959 and worked at Rocketdyne, developing and producing rocket engines, and Edwards AFB. Wally volunteered for duty in Vietnam, flying 125 combat reconnaissance missions. During his time in there, Wally's family moved back to San Diego, where Barbara suffered a massive brain hemorrhage. Wally returned home to be with her, and Barbara survived her illness and regained her health after a long recovery. Wally served as the program director for the Titan 3 space booster vehicle and as an Air Force representative to NASA. Before retiring in 1974, he served as commander of the Air Force Propulsion Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio.  Wally began a new career at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, where he worked for 20 years on the stealth fighter and bomber.  Barbara and Wally moved to El Dorado Hills in 1992 and had ten wonderful years before Barbara became ill and died on New Year's Eve 2002.  Wally suffered a massive stroke April 19 and was removed from life support one week later. He is survived by his 2 children, Terry and Kristin; 4 grandchildren; and a brother, JERRY MOE ’49. He was preceded in death by his son Rick in 1977.

SHIRLEY MOE POSSON of Decorah died Jan. 4, 2012, at age 86. She graduated magna cum laude from Luther, with majors in social science and physical education―one of Luther's first two women to major in P.E.―and a minor in education. She was a charter member of Nordic Choir and president of the Women’s Recreation Association and the Board of Religious Activities. After graduation, Shirley taught physical education at Luther for a year before moving to Wheaton, Ill., to teach health and physical education courses in elementary, junior, and senior high schools, as well as supervise student teachers. She did graduate work at the University of Colorado-Boulder and earned a master’s degree in health and physical education at the University of Iowa in 1955. Shirley served as an instructor and professor of physical education at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In 1960 Shirley returned to teach at Luther for a year, before joining the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a teaching assistant. In 1971 she became community service officer for the Palatine (Ill.) Police Department. Shirley became a counselor, trainer, supervisor, and program manager at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., in the hospital’s substance abuse treatment programs. She became a certified Illinois alcoholism counselor in 1981 and certified senior addictions counselor in 1986. Shirley returned to Decorah in 1986 and began working at the Northeast Iowa Mental Health Center as a counselor and supervisor, developing groups for substance abusers, co-dependents, and compulsive overeaters.  She was a member of First Lutheran Church in Decorah, where she was active in circle, choir, Sunday school, councils and boards, Lay Minister, Stephen’s Ministry, and prayer chain. Shirley was involved in numerous organizations, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Luther College Woman’s Club, and West Side Study Club; she served as a Vesterheim Museum docent and Elderhostel woodcarving teacher; and she was on the board of the Aase Haugen Home and a member of Oneota Golf and Country Club. Shirley enjoyed golf, crosswords, reading, and the computer, and she was a devoted Chicago Cubs fan. She attended Lutherlag from time to time and had also served as class agent for her class. Shirley is survived by her sister, LOIS (MOE) JACOBSEN ’43; her cousin, DOROTHY (POSSON) HILL ’51; and two brothers, A. LAURANCE MOE ’53 and Paul Moe. She was predeceased by brothers William Moe, Jr. and Arthur Moe. Memorials may be given to Luther College. 

PAUL THOMPSON of Prescott, Ariz., died Sept. 13, 2011, at age 85, while under the care of Santa Fe House/Granite Mountain. Valedictorian of his Lyle (Minn.) High School graduating class in 1943, Paul participated in sports and band as a student. In July of 1944 he was drafted into the Army Air Force, where he became a cryptographer while in service for his country. While serving in Biak in the South Pacific, Paul contracted a severe case of malaria and was flown to Topeka, Kan., where he stayed hospitalized for 5 months before being honorably discharged after serving 19 months. Paul then returned to Luther, and after a year and a half was approached by his stepfather to help him in the bank, and for the next 25 years he settled into the banking industry. Later he returned to school and graduated as a public accountant. Paul partnered with a friend as a painter for a few years before retirement. During his working years, Paul and his wife, Wanda, along with their four children, lived in different areas of Minnesota, where they were active members of the Assembly of God Church. Paul and Wanda relocated to Prescott in May of 2010. He is survived by his wife, Wanda; children, Marsha, Brian, Daniel, and Joan, sister, Marlene, ten grandchildren, one step-grandchild, eight great-grandchildren, and one step great-grandchild, six nieces, and nephews.


Lower campus with wind turbine