Class of 1948 Fall Letter

Fall 2012

Dear Classmates,

Another year has gone by, and again I visited our Alma Mater at homecoming.  Very, very few classmates attended, so consequently I talked to many other people whom I recognized, and we all pretty much hung around together in the Union.  Ev Estenson and her two daughters, who are grads, too, drove down to campus from Northfield and I drove down from Minnetonka. And, of course, Katie Ulvilden made the solo trip again this year.  Ev has frequently been visiting June Smedstad Severson, who resides in a Northfield nursing home.  Editor’s note: We regret that June passed away October 27, 2012.  Her obituary is attached.

 I enjoyed seeing my granddaughter from Eden Prairie―a first-year Luther student living in Brandt West.  That residence hall looks better and brighter than it was while we were on campus. At this point all the buildings on campus have been remodeled or updated and the campus shines. We visited with Marilyn and Judge Veglahn, Marilyn’s sister Beth, Helen Peterson Hustad and husband, and Norma Quill Fisher.  Every year these get-togethers become more precious, and I urge all of you to make every attempt to get to our 65th reunion next year at Luther.  

I think many of you have already heard of the deaths of some of our classmates. Gerald Amundson of Sun City West, Ariz., died March 4, 2012, at age 90.  He had been a pastor and a WWII veteran. Roger Grindeland of Ames, Ia, died Dec. 3, 2011. He had been a marine during WWII, studied at Luther three years and graduated from Iowa State and worked for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for 30 years. Roger’s obituary is in the Spring 2012 issue of Luther Alumni Magazine Betty Hendrickson Josephson passed away Dec. 19, 2010. She was the wife of Bob Josephson ‘47 and the sister of Kermit Hendrickson.  Eldon “Eldie” Pritz of Colorado Springs, Colo., died March 15, 2012, at age 86.  His wife, Florence survives and was also a member of our class.

I enjoyed the Alumni Council and Class Agent luncheon on Friday noon, which I attended with Norma Quill Fisher ’47.  We are getting to be up there with the oldest alumni attending these functions.  I now include some of the interesting facts and figures I learned from President Torgerson, Keith Christensen-vice president for development, and the new Vice President and Dean for Student Life Corey Landstrom. Although the Aquatic Center was not initially included in the Sesquicentennial Fund campaign, the project was added and it will be finished in the summer of 2013, ready for a lot of activities.  I had never heard of a Myrtha Pool, but it is the only one in Iowa and if I try to describe it, I may be somewhat off.  It’s a steel pool with a lining. The Center will be used not only by the college but by the Decorah community and for therapeutic purposes.  President Torgerson will be leaving next summer, after 14 years of very diligent, dedicated, and meritorious service for Luther College.  He and his wife will move to a condo in Edina, Minn.  The outgoing Alumni Council president, Gregg Luther ’90, reported on the work of the presidential search committee   Most of their work has been kept confidential, but he could tell us (when asked) that both men and women have applied and there is still time to submit names any of us might suggest. 

President Torgerson went on to inform us that 96 percent of the last graduating class six months after graduation are employed, in grad school, or volunteering. The 586 May 2012 grads received $32 million, collectively, in financial assistance, with $2 million in endowed scholarships.That is where I see our contributions to the endowment fund really helping.  We have all heard about the huge loans most college grads are having difficulty repaying because of the economy. President Torgerson says he has Task Group 150 working hard to address the challenge of ever-increasing college costs. Other interesting data:

  • Luther has 681 new students enrolled this fall, more than anticipated
  • Luther had 3 Fulbrights, l McElroy, and 3 NCAA postgrad scholars
  • Kelsey Kittleson was 1 of 9 U.S finalists for NCAA Woman of the Year
  • Luther received the 2012 Climate Leadership Award
  • Luther’s solar energy field is one of the largest in Iowa; with solar panels, Baker will be a net-zero emissions facility, largest in Iowa,
  • 49% of food served on campus was grown locally

Keith Christensen also contributed interesting Luther details:

  • Luther’s endowment is worth $117 million; endowment provides faculty and program support, and scholarships,
  • the 50-year reunion class of 1962 has more than 62% participation in giving
  • the aquatic center wasn’t initially part of the Sesquicentennial Fund campaign, the pool comes in pieces, then assembled and is used by the Olympics and the Olympic trials,
  • the Decorah High School team uses the Luther pool and the new one will make Luther the first college in the Midwest to have a Myrtha pool.

A friend whom I have traveled with overseas many times told her bachelor brother about Luther.  My friend came with me to visit Luther one summer, and I introduced her to Dean Nelson '69 in the Development Office.  Dean eventually met with my friend's brother, who--lo and behold--decided to give his two farms away.  One went to his college--St. Olaf--and the other farm (worth more than $500,000) was given to Luther!  There were some stipulations that the State of Minnesota and its Department of Natural Resources then buy the farm from Luther, which was arranged, but the moral of the story is "please tell people what a great school Luther College is, and something very good may come from it." And we can all do our part with whatever size contribution we want to make. 

I hope all of you will start making plans for our 65-year class reunion next year.  I know the difficulties which probably face all of us, but it will give us something fun to look forward to.                                          

Soli deo Gloria,  

Alice (Michelson) Collings
1948 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 4 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

Class Note
AUDREY (HEXOM) JORDAHL of Ankeny, Iowa, is listed in the Marquis Who’s Who in America 2012 edition.

GERALD AMUNDSON of Sun City West, Ariz., died March 4, 2012, at age 90.  Born in Gully, Minn., Gerald graduated from Twin Valley (Minn.) High School in 1939. After graduating with honors from Luther, he attended 3 years of seminary training at Luther Theological in St Paul, Minn. He served 3 1/2 years in the U.S. Army during World War II. Gerald was married to Ethel Twedt of Hingham, Mont., for 62 1/2 years. He is survived by daughters, Judie and Patty, and a son, David. Gerald was a member of Heritage Club at Luther College.

BETTY (HENDRICKSON) JOSEPHSON of Greenwich, Conn., died Dec. 19, 2010, at age 82. Born and raised in Decorah, she was a graduate of Luther, where she met her late husband, Robert Josephson ’47. They moved their family to Rye in 1963 and made it their home. Betty was a resident at Greenwich Woods Nursing Home for the past four years. She will be remembered for her gregarious nature and joy for life. Betty loved playing bridge, cooking, and entertaining. She is survived by her children, Marc Josephson, Brita Gleason, Thomas Josephson, James Josephson, and 10 grandchildren.  Her brother, Kermit Hendrickson ’48, also survives her.

JUNE (SMEDSTAD) SEVERSON of Northfield, Minn., died on Oct. 27, 2012, age 86.  A Starbuck, Minn., native, she was the oldest of four sisters. At Luther she majored in math and history, graduating in 1948. She taught high school math in Thief River Falls, Minn., where she met Arnold (Lars) Larson, another math teacher, whom she married in 1950. They had three children and in 1961 moved to Northfield, where Lars became principal of Northfield Junior-Senior High School. Lars passed away in 1968. June became the first woman realtor in Rice County in 1968 and continued to sell real estate through 1998. She married Harland Severson in 1975, and they became a blended family with seven children that included five teenagers. June and Harland enjoyed traveling to various places, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Norway, as well as to their cabins in the summer and Tucson in the winter. Harland passed away in 2002. June continued to spend summers in Northfield and winters in Tucson. She is survived by her children: Julie Larson Windler, Craig Larson, Kevin Larson, Susan Aldorfer, Deb Severson, Jackie Severson Hallock, and Scott Severson; 8 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; and 3 sisters. June was preceded in death by her parents and husbands, Arnold (Lars) Larson and Harland Severson. 

ELDON PRITZ of Colorado Springs, Colo., died March 15, 2012, at age 86.  He was born in Minot, N.D., and his father had immigrated from Norway when he was only 16 years old. Throughout his life, Eldy was proud of his Norwegian heritage. He was the youngest of three children. Eldy dearly loved Flo, his wife of nearly 63 years, as well as his three children - Kristan, Peter, and Andrea. He received great joy from his five grandchildren―Holly, Mary, Anders, Ava, and Cole―and one great-grandchild, Camryn. Eldy attended Luther where he met his wife, JUNE FLORENCE (OLSON) PRITZ ‘48. Eldy majored in business administration. He also took advanced courses at Colorado College of Education in Greeley for two summers and attended the University of Minnesota. After graduation in 1948, Eldy served as a high school coach and teacher in Minnesota for three years. Eldy and Flo were married in 1949. They moved to Minneapolis where he was associated with the Knutson Company, serving as executive vice president in charge of mortgages and real estate sales.  Eldy left Minneapolis in 1964 to join the Intermountain Mortgage Company in Colorado Springs. After four years, Intermountain was sold to Exchange National Bank. He became senior vice president for mortgages at Exchange and left the bank after six years to begin his own appraisal company - Pritz and Company. Eldy was a member of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and Certified Property Managers and a member of the American Right of Way Association. He served two years as president of the Colorado Lenders Association and was twice president of the Southern Colorado Chapter 49 of Residential Appraisers. Eldy served on the County Industrial Bond Committee, County Planning Commission, and County Board of Adjustment. He was a member of First Lutheran Church and sang in their choir for many years. Eldy enjoyed golf, tennis, skiing, basketball, bridge, poker, and walking his dog, Luke. He was a member of the Broadmoor Golf Club and the Garden of the Gods Club.                                                

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