Class of 1958 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017                                                     

Class of '58!

UFF-DAH! Our 60-year class reunion is coming up in one year, 2018. Keep that on the top of your bucket list this year, please!  Attending Roger’s 60-year class reunion for the Class of '57 this year got me thinking of 2018. Hope this is a good sign! Homecoming this year was held on October 6-8, but next year will be October 26-28, due evidently to the football scheduling.

Luther’s Development and Alumni Office has been in the process of changing the Class Agent Program. This is in the interest of improved efficiency and cost savings, so Luther can continue to thrive and be an amazing place for our Luther students to learn and grow. This all involves a change in the Luther staff. Due to restructuring within Luther's annual giving program, the Class Agent Program will be coordinated by Mariah Bringer Smith '95, director of development - current gifts. Sue (Franzen) Drilling '78 will now serve as director of stewardship and special events.

We began Homecoming weekend with the class agent and Alumni Council luncheon on Friday in Peace Dining Room. Looking out the windows, the new playing field was very outstanding in its new color, BLUE! You will know what I mean when you see it. Luther was able to defeat Nebraska Wesleyan in spite of intermittent rain and a long delay for lightning.

Our luncheon on Friday was very informative. Development Office highlights were presented by Jim Jermier, vice president for development. We met new Luther cabinet members, Lisa Scott, interim dean for institutional equity and inclusion, and Aimee Viniard-Weideman, vice president for communications and marketing.

We received strategic planning updates from Terry Sparkes, dean for institutional planning and mission, and Brad Chamberlain, professor of chemistry. The Alumni Ambassador Program was explained by Scot Schaeffer, vice president for enrollment management, and Alyssa Ritter ’11, assistant director of admissions. More info from these speakers can be found on the Luther website. Also, includes information on anniversaries, college operations, events, community, articles, creations, honors, and more.

Following the luncheon program, class agents attended a workshop and we also got a first look at planning for our reunion year. Interesting facts were shared, such as 2,500 extra visitors were on campus because of Homecoming and 65 additional events had been planned by the staff for the weekend. Evidently, not all colleges demonstrate the same loyalty in coming back as Luther College does. 

Roger's 1957 60-year celebration was Saturday. Our daughter, Kara, had her 25-year Luther reunion this year also, so we were able to visit with her several times during the weekend. She and two of her classmates were only able to get as close as West Union to stay overnight. 

The Class of '57 (also top givers) had a good attendance. It was fun to be a part of their celebration and see many friends. Marcia (Borreson) Engebretson and Leila (Hestenes) Gangstad were two with whom I had a chance to visit. Mick Lee was their master of ceremonies, and Donna (Ellefson) Fortney is class agent. Mick mentioned that it felt like home as he approached Luther College, and he feels that way whenever he returns. Following their lunch, each table was to discuss a topic chosen from a list of Luther College memories. The Wartburg Knight was the most popular topic and very interesting to hear the many details remembered.

A film, "Remembering Nordic Choir's First International Tour," was shown on Saturday afternoon. This took place in 1967 and many of the choir were in attendance. Weston Noble ’43 called a meeting for this tour. His influence was, and is still, felt on campus. Mr. Noble and Elwin Farwell, Luther president from 1963-1981, who both have recently died, were especially mentioned as special people for the history of Luther College.

Sunday was especially memorable since we were able to attend Luther’s church service with our daughter, who is now the Carthage College chaplain, and her two friends. It is difficult to even describe the service with five choirs, plus bell choir, instruments, organ, and spectacular congregational singing! It was an outstanding and meaningful service. Soli Deo Gloria!

The afternoon Homecoming Concert included Nordic Choir, Symphony Orchestra, and Concert Band! What a glorious way to spend a Sunday afternoon in October 2017!

We are so sorry to hear of the passing of four of our classmates: Harlan Bakken, Helen (Moe) Barth, Allen Hermeier, and Thomas Scharfenberg. Soli Deo Gloria!

As you may know, the Class Agent Program began in 1974 with volunteers sharing information with alumni about Luther and classmates, and encouraging gifts to the Annual Fund, now called the Luther Fund. Three key facts for this fund: our students are diverse; they come to Luther with needs as individual as they are; donations to the Luther Fund support these students and their varied needs. Our Class of '58 needs to think very seriously about this! Our donations have a hand in just about everything students need: scholarships and financial aid, field study trips, music tours, student organizations, volunteer opportunities in the community, college ministries, residence hall improvements, campus landscaping, building maintenance, intramural sports, and student/faculty research. The list is long!

One other sponsorship mentioned is the Choir Robe Sponsorship. In December 2017, Luther will launch a robe sponsorship program that will ask donors to support Luther's rich choral tradition.

Chips has recently reported that the majority of residence halls at Luther are still handicap inaccessible. This limits students from having full contact with all social spaces at Luther.

We support students, so please consider supporting the Luther Fund, Class of '58! Actually, charitable foundations and corporations that support Luther consider your annual gift a vote of confidence in your college. Our gifts encourage their gifts. Thank you, and thank you for whatever support you give!Remember - CLASS OF '58!  60th Reunion Oct. 26-28, 2018!  Be thinking of what we can do!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Marilyn (Sorlien) Skatrud
1958 Class Agent
[email protected]


Harlan Bakken of Waukon, Iowa, died Dec. 27, 2016, at age 78. He attended Luther for two years. Harlan’s wish was to donate his body to the Mayo Clinic Department of Anatomy in Rochester, Minn., for medical education and research. He is survived by his partner, Dana Waters; daughter, Michelle Bakken; son, Michael Bakken; grandson; and two sisters, LeAnne (Bakken) Upward ’63 [Gerald] and Andrea (Bakken) James ’61 [Wendell].

Helen (Moe) Barth of Lindstrom, Minn., and Cozumel, Mexico, died Aug. 24, 2016. After graduating from Decorah High School in 1956, she attended Luther for two years before enrolling at the Minnesota School of Banking in Minneapolis. Helen worked in Minneapolis at Marquette National Bank and Dayton’s department store. She married her high school sweetheart, William “Bill” Barth ’60, June 4, 1960. Much of their married life was spent in Lindstrom, enjoying life on the lake, and at their winter island home in Cozumel. An accomplished swimmer, Helen loved to swim and snorkel in the ocean. She enjoyed traveling with Bill, visiting many foreign countries. They retired from Dayton’s in 1992 and have been long-time volunteers at community and church events, for Family Pathways and Ebenezer, and in Cozumel. Helen is survived by her husband, William “Bill” Barth ’60; daughter, Juliana Barth ’86, and her friend, Lane Schwarz ’89; son, John Barth ’84 (Kathy); and two grandchildren.

Allen Hermeier of Decorah died April 4, 2017, at age 80. Born on a rural Waukon dairy farm, he played football and was active in speech, drama, and debate before graduating from Waukon High School in 1954. While a Luther student, Allen majored in theater and history and he married his high school sweetheart, Helen Ruen, on Aug. 18, 1957. After his Luther graduation, he enrolled at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, graduating in 1962. Allen interned at First English Church in Fergus Falls, Minn., and was ordained at Glenwood Lutheran Church on June 17, 1962. He went on to serve Lutheran congregations in Burr Oak and Hesper, St. Paul’s in Atlantic, First Lutheran in Northwood, and St. Olaf in Fort Dodge before retiring in 2000. In retirement Allen served interim roles at First Lutheran in Mabel (Minn.), Immanuel Lutheran in Cresco, and St. Paul’s in Postville before settling in at Waterloo Ridge of rural Dorchester for the past 11 years. He also taught at Buena Vista College for many years and was active with prison ministry, Urban Ministry, and Interfaith Forum, serving on more than 60 Brothers in Blue weekends at Iowa and other prisons. Allen received multiple awards for his church and public service, including two Iowa Volunteer of the Year awards. For 12 years, he was a member of the Waldorf Board of Regents and served several years as its chairman. In his 55 years of ministry, Allen mentored dozens of interns and pastors. In his free time, he enjoyed trout fishing and, together with his family, summer vacations at the cabin he built on Leech Lake in Walker, Minn. An avid reader and scholar, Allen accumulated a library of thousands of books. He enjoyed baseball—attending more than 25 Twins home openers with his children—and travel, having taken many trips to Israel, prison trips to Belize, and trips to Alaska, Europe, and Africa. Allen is survived by his wife, Helen Hermeier; two daughters, Elizabeth Hermeier ’83 and Ami (Glen) Campbell; son, John (Julie) Hermeier ’85; five granddaughters, including Amy Hermeier ’14 and Sarah Hermeier ’16; grandson; brother, Gene Hermeier ’53 (Ruby [Totman] Hermeier ’53; sister, Carol (Ron) Stockdale; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Robert (Wanita) Ruen, Lucille (Ruen) Christianson ’63 and Dean Christianson ’61, and Diane (Ruen) Lovstuen ’74 and Norbert Lovstuen; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and other family. He was preceded in death by his son, Steven, in 1963 and niece, Kristi Hermeier ’78.

Thomas Ames Scharfenberg of Edgerton, Wis., died July 3, 2017, at age 80. After graduating from Edgerton High School in 1954, he enrolled at Luther, where he majored in physical education. Tom married his high school sweetheart, Judy Burdick, June 20, 1959, and they lived in Delavan, Wis., where they raised their family, and Tom spent his 38-year career in education at Delavan-Darien High School, teaching history and health, and coaching football, basketball, baseball, and tennis. He also served as the school’s athletic director for 10 years. Tom received a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1972. In his free time he enjoyed working in his yard, helping at Central Lutheran Church, where he was a lifelong member, serving as a member of the election board, played dart ball with his church team, and going out for breakfast every Wednesday with friends. For many years, he and Judy wintered with friends in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. In 2017 Tom was elected to the Edgerton Athletic Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife, Judy; son, Steve (Barbara); two daughters, Stacey Ryan (Tim) and Susan (Chris); seven grandchildren; two brothers, Jim and Gary (Edith); sister, Laurie (Pierre La Plante); sister-in-law, Dorothy Martinek (John); and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives.