Class of 1949 Spring Letter

Spring 2012

Dear 49ers,

It is Friday morning, February the 24th.  One year ago I authored my newsletter on a Saturday evening after the Luther College men’s basketball team had won the Conference Basketball Championship.  This year I am a day earlier, following Luther’s loss to Coe in the semi-finals of the tournament.  Our Luther team had a good season, being in first place in the conference standings for most of the year.  However, late in the season everything went “south” as they lost five of their last six games, finishing fifth in the standings. They did beat Central College in the first round of the playoffs.  The women’s team had a very long season, winning very few games.

Enough about basketball.  I do attend most home games.  I rarely receive any news items from classmates, so I will write about a Peterson event.

Marilyn and drove to New Jersey the week of February the 12th.  The main purpose was to watch our youngest granddaughter play in a couple of her high school’s (Whippany Park) basketball games.  Yes, they won both games.  Julie is a sophomore and her coach seems to be very interested in her because she is nearly six feet in length!  While out East, we did go into New York City for a couple of days and one night.

We visited the “ground zero” site.  The total project is not complete, but visitors can enter the park area where all of the trees were planted.  More than 3,000 names have been etched into the black marble that surrounds the waterfall areas where the twin towers stood.  It is a very somber place.  The new tower is eighty-some stories high on its way to 104 stories, one higher than the former buildings.  Several other buildings are also under construction, but not to the height of the big one.  To visit the site, you must secure your tickets in advance and there is no charge.  The project is predicted to be complete by 2014.  I recommend a visit.

In addition, we did attend a Broadway play, Spider-man. The costumes, the music, the stage and all of the various sets, the equipment that made it possible to have performers “fly around” the theatre, etc., were beyond my comprehension.  In my opinion, you could be the best singer in the world, but if you were afraid of heights, you could not be a participant in this play.  Broadway theatre is the best.

Just a day ago, President Torgerson announced his intent to end his tenure as Luther’s president in the summer of 2013.  In my opinion, he has been a very effective leader of our College.  Also, I encourage all of you to remember our College and its need for our financial support.  It would be great if all 49ers could provide a gift, regardless of the amount, so that we could proclaim that our class had 100 percent participation.

Francis Peterson
1949 Class Agent
[email protected]

PS.  It's not too late to purchase a copy of Transformed by the Journey: 150 Years of Luther College in Word and Image. Richly illustrated with more than 350 photographs, Transformed by the Journey was compiled and written by Wilfred Bunge '53, professor emeritus of religion and classics, with assistance from Mary Hull Mohr, professor emerita of English, and Dale Nimrod, professor emeritus of chemistry.  Contact the Luther Book Shop at, or call 1-888-521-5039 or email [email protected] to place your order.

SYVILLA (TWEED) BOLSON of Decorah died Sept. 27, 2011, at age 83. After earning a degree in religion and elementary education from Luther, she took graduate courses at the University of Iowa. Syvilla briefly taught public school in Forest City, Iowa, and was associated with the Program Alternatives in Vocational Education, a cooperative project with Keystone Area Education Association and Northeast Iowa Community College. She served as a substitute teacher in the Decorah Community Schools from 1961-92, and was also a volunteer teacher in the primary art program. Her life was full of music, and she served as the organist at Decorah Lutheran Church for many years. Syvilla also served other area churches as organist and was a private piano teacher. In 1973 she began spinning and weaving—a craft she learned from her father, who created wheel rugs. Syvilla also studied with several well-known fiber artists at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum and traveled to Norway to study weaving techniques. She accepted numerous commissions for her weavings from churches, nursing homes, professional offices, and private individuals. Syvilla primarily used Norwegian Raumagarn and Roros-Tweed—special yarns imported from Norway—and her designs were largely inspired by Scandinavian folk art. She exhibited in several invitational solo shows as well as group exhibits and received awards for her weaving at Nordic Fest and other shows. In 2011 Syvilla was a featured artist in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. She taught workshops, demonstrated weaving frequently, and provided private instruction about the craft. Syvilla also founded Tweeds and Fleece, an importing and mail order business for fiber arts. She had a strong interest in the American Association of University Women, Decorah branch, and was heavily involved in the arts in the Decorah area, working with the Decorah Arts Council and the Decorah Community Concert Association. Syvilla had two commissioned weavings in the Luther College Fine Arts Collection—“Windows of Learning,” commissioned in 1989 for the newly renovated Koren building, and “Flower Garden” (Blomsterbed), purchased by the nursing department in 1980. In 2009 she received a joint certificate of appreciation from the Decorah Community Schools, Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, and Luther College “for her contributions to the promotion, teaching, and practice of Scandinavian fiber arts in the Decorah community and beyond.” Syvilla is survived by her husband, MARLIN BOLSON ’49; three children, Priscilla Carraway, Loren Bolson, and Lynn Bolson; eight grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and three brothers, Maynard Tweed, GERALD TWEED ’60, and Kerry Tweed. 

MARILYN (KIEL) MAALO of Iola, Wis., died Aug. 16th, 2011, at age 82. She attended Luther, later graduating from the nursing program at Chicago’s Norwegian American Hospital in 1952. Marilyn then worked at Lutheran General Hospital and St. Matthew's Nursing Home in Park Ridge, Ill. When she and her husband, Ed, moved to Iola in 1985, she first worked at the Iola Hospital and then the Iola Nursing Home. Marilyn retired in 1996 after serving as a registered nurse for 47 years. She enjoyed reading, traveling, doing crafts, and participating in church and community activities. Marilyn is survived by her husband, Edward Maalo. She was preceded in death by a son, KURT MAALO ’77, and two sisters, VILA (KIEL) THOMPSON ’51 and ELSIE (KIEL) ROTHMEYER ‘54.

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 reach our goal of 30% alumni giving.  Here’s how your class—and surrounding classes—did in 2011: 

Class of 1948 total giving in 2011:  $64,333 from 43% of the class

Class of 1949 total giving in 2011:  $20,899 from 53% of the class

Class of 1950 total giving in 2011:  $35,875 from 45% 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!



Men's Basketball