Sweetheart Stories A-L
Gloria (Falk) '54 and Don Ambroson '53, Ankeny, Iowa
Laura (Blackmore) '68 and Ronald Bachman '69 Burlington, Wisc
Megan (Anderson) '07 and Joseph Beatty '07, Chicago, Ill.
Erin (Gallagher) '06 and Chris Bellinder '06 Columbia, S.C.
Amy (Brumm) '92 and Kris Bjorklund '92, Green Bay, Wis.
Kari (Petersen) '85 and Dwight Bullard '84 Oakdale, Minn.
Deloris (Smedstad Womeldorf) '50 and Warren Burstrom, Freeport, Ill.
Becky (Weaver) '05 and Jeromy Carlson '05, Minneapolis, Minn.
Karen (Aaker) '65 and Larry Chellevold '65 Tucson, Ariz.
Wendy (Hillesland) '80 and Dave Coe '80, Madison, Wis.
Mara (Grimm) '97 and Rockne Cole '97 Iowa City, Iowa
Audrey (Hovden) '59 and John Dahle '60 Decorah, Iowa
Ann (Blado) '00 and Andrew Dybvig '98 Minneapolis, Minn.
Linda (Klotzbach) '97 and Nathan Ferris '97 Dresser, Wis.
Ami (Shoup) '96 & Steve Hall '97, Littletown, Colo.
Nori (Greenlee) '97 and Ross Hadley '95, Decorah, Iowa
Robin (Friedrichsen) '83 and Scott Hanson '81 Farmington, Minn.
Denae (Erdman) '87 and Steve Harder '84, Spring Valley, Minn.
Linda (Rosholt) '85 and Lee Hash '84, Appleton, Wis.
Gretchen (Klaus) '06 and Matthew Hazelton '07 Saint Paul, Minn.
Kris (Stenson) '91 and John Helberg, Saint Louis Park, Minn.
Jaclyn (Ohnemus) '11 and Patrick Hussey '12, Iowa City, Iowa
Mindi (Scott) '07 and Josh Johnson '07, Ellington, Conn.
Sue (Hammer) '74 and John Larson '72, Lafayette, Ind.
Karin (Knutsen) '61 and Clay Lyon '61, Pebble Creek, Ariz.
Gloria (Falk) '54 and Don Ambroson '53, Ankeny, Iowa "Don transferred to Luther as a junior in 1951. I transferred to Luther as a junior in the fall of l952. In my dorm I met some girls from Mason City. Being from Northwood, Iowa which was just 20 mile from Mason City we had somethings in common so became friends in just a day or two. We had all arrived early before classes were to begin and one of the girls, Lorraine Herman knew Don and was wondering when he would be coming to campus. As we were walking across campus we passed Larson Hall and there on the steps of Larson sat Don. We stopped and the girls introduced me to Don. It wasn't but a day later that Don called inviting me out for coffee, and we have been together since.
My Mother called me a couple of weeks later informing me of my grandfather's death and that I needed to come home for his funeral. On arriving home I told my Mother I had met the man I was going to marry and needless to say, the folks came down the next weekend to look him over!
We became engaged that December. Don had attended summer school in '52 and was to graduate at semester time in l953. The Korean war was being fought and his draft board had allowed him to finish school before entering the service. So in January l953 he went into the service, came home for 10 days in July on furlough, and then spent the next year and a half in Korea. So except for those 10 days of furlough I didn't see him again until December 2, l954. We were married December 28, l954. This year we happily celebrated our 58th wedding anniversary! I'll be forever grateful that I transferred to Luther College!"
Laura (Blackmore) '68 and Ronald Bachman '69 Burlington, Wisc. "Luther - fall of 1965 - I was a sophomore and Ron a freshman. He worked in the post office with one of my roommates. A group of us often met at the Union to walk down to the field house for chapel. Because I dated several guys throughout that year, Ron and I were “just friends.” In May, riding home to White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Ron thought, “I wonder who I’ll marry.” An almost audible voice sounded, “You’ve already met her.” How cool! But who? He didn’t have a girlfriend.
The next fall, Ron didn’t return to Luther as his dad was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and he stayed home to help with his father’s care. We exchanged some letters, and he visited campus a few times through the years. When I graduated from Luther in 1968, I invited Ron to Chicago for the Fourth of July. What a whirlwind weekend - going to the Loop, attending a play, watching fireworks, meeting my big family. A week later, Ron’s dad died. I never got to meet him. I’d ended a long-term dating relationship at Luther but was seeing someone in Chicago.
That August, one of my roommates and I camped along the Minnesota north shore, and we visited Ron upon our return. Because my Chicago boyfriend was in the Twin Cities too, Ron and I didn’t have a good visit. After one more visit in September, we decided to meet at Luther’s Homecoming. Ron’s Luther classmate Jack from the Cities had married one of my roommates (we’d both been in their wedding the summer before). Because Jack was still a student, we could stay with them in Decorah. In Chicago, as I boarded the train for LaCrosse - our rendezvous point, I told Mom, “I think Ron’s going to propose to me this weekend.” He did! He later sold his car to buy me a diamond ring. We never dated; we just got engaged. We rarely saw each other during our seven-month engagement. We wrote each other nearly every day. I was living at home, doing graduate work at Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois. Ron was living at home, finishing his B.A. at University of Minnesota.
I attended Ron’s graduation June 7. He and his family came for our wedding a week later. That was 1969. So, 2013 will mark 44 years of marriage. We have two beautiful daughters and three grandchildren. What a wonderful life. Ron is a Lutheran minister, and I’m a writer, editor, and worship dancer. We believe that the Lord brought us together at Luther. He has blessed us abundantly as we have been faithful to each other and to Him."
Megan (Anderson) '07 and Joseph Beatty '07, Chicago, Ill. "We met while working an over night for the Decorah middle and high school students with Young Life during our sophomore year. We ended up working the same rotations in the SRC and became fast friends. Well, you know the end...friendship turned into love...and the rest is history!"
Erin (Gallagher) '06 and Chris Bellinder '06 Columbia, S.C. "Chris and I met freshman year at Luther. At orientation we were split up into groups based on the month of our birthdays. Chris and I are both April birthdays (in fact only a day apart). In that sharing, we learned that we were both big band nerds in high school. Later that day, our floors were also paired up to go to the freshman dinner together and we sat by each other. In my head, I had to call him Chris from Kansas to try and remember who he was because of the amount of people you are meeting at the time! We started hanging out after that initial meeting. We drove to La Crosse for our first date in November of 2002. Here we are 10 years later and happily married for 4 1/2 years and expecting our first child (appropriately another April birthday). We couldn't be happier with our time at Luther and the fact that it brought us together. We can not wait for our future son or daughter to be brought up in the Luther spirit! We miss it like home everyday."
Amy (Brumm) '92 and Kris Bjorklund '92, Green Bay, Wis. "Kristofer and I met the first day of our sophomore year in Richard Simon Hanson's class, The Biblical Story. After class in Koren, we'd walk together to Main for our Norwegian and Greek classes, talking all the way. Our first date was to the movies at the Viking Theatre. Kristofer proposed in the CFL, on stage, singing and playing guitar. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary!"
Kari (Petersen) '85 and Dwight Bullard '84 Oakdale, Minn.
"Kari and I met in Oneota on a typical busy morning. The tables were all so full. I was a chess player and needed to fill out a postal chess card and there was only one spot open at a table. I knew one person at the table and she had to go so Kari was left. I noticed right away how cute she was and we started talking about how she had injured herself playing Racquetball. Kari never received any mail so I started sending her mail in her SPO. It all started from there!"
Deloris (Smedstad Womeldorf) '50 and Warren Burstrom, Freeport, Ill. This is Warren's story of marrying two Luther graduates: "Warren Burstrom would have graduated from Luther in 1946 but he went into the service in 1943 and came out in 1946. For the 1948 Sadie Hawkins dinner, Rosella Opsand '50 invited him to be her guest. He said yes and they double dated with Deloris Smedstad '50 and Howard Womeldorf '51. In 1952 Warren married Rosella and Howard married Deloris.
On April 23, 1981, Warren's wife of 28 years, Rosella, died of cancer. In December of 1981, Warren wrote to seven women who were in the Nordic Choir with Rosella. These women had formed a round robin and the round robin would circulate at least once a year between all eight. In December of '81, Warren informed all of the women in the round robin that his wife had died and to no longer send the robin to his address.
A week after Christmas Warren received a letter from one of the women he had written to and she was miffed. Warren had written to Mr. and Mrs. and she wrote and said her husband had died four years ago and that Warren should have known this. He did know that her husband had died but Rosella had not noted the change in her address book. Warren, not thinking, had just copied what was in the book.
Warren, because the woman was angry, decided to write to her and tell her that he had known of her husband's death but had absentmindedly just copied the address as it was written. Two weeks later he received another letter from this woman and this was a letter that informed him of what her life was about. He had to make a decision, should he return a like letter to her or just drop the entire matter. He wrote and soon they were sending letters to each other.
Warren's adult children asked if, during the coming summer, they could drive to St. Paul, Minnesota, and go to the public radio station and see a program live, "A Prairie Home Companion". They decided to go and see this program and Warren wrote to Deloris and told her about the coming trip. Since she lived close to St. Paul she invited him over for supper but Warren said he would take her out for supper instead. They went out for supper and she came to see the radio production the following night. All went well and Warren and Deloris Smedstad Wolmeldorf were married eight months later. They celebrated thirty-three years together when this story was published in 2013."
Becky (Weaver) '05 and Jeromy Carlson '05, Minneapolis, Minn. "We met as Freshmen - but it was not love at first sight! Jeromy was dating someone else and thought I was a little brazen. I thought Jeromy was standoffish. By the next school year, he was single. We started hanging out and quickly became good friends. People asked us what we going on between us (because it was obvious there was something,) but we were still in denial. But during finals of the first semester, Jeromy asked me to be, "more than friends." We dated the rest of college, were engaged in 2006, married on October 6, 2007, and had our first child on August 8, 2011. Luther Love!"
Karen (Aaker) '65 and Larry Chellevold '65 Tucson, Ariz. "We met as freshmen, shared the drive back and forth to our parents' homes in Wisconsin during school breaks, became great friends, started dating our Junior year and friendship turned to a love that has lasted and grown for 47 years."
Wendy (Hillesland) '80 and Dave Coe '80, Madison, Wis. "When Dave and I attended Luther in the late 70s, the directors of student housing were Pete and Sue Smith. They coined the phrase "shoebox couples" for Luther students/alumni who married each other because we come in pairs. Dave and I met serving banquets. He belonged to the Sigma Chi fraternity and I was a Tau Delt. We earned money for our organizations by serving the various banquets held on campus. Dave was substituting one night for someone and he held the tray of salt and pepper shakers that I was putting on the tables in the Oneota Room. He kept asking me questions like "Where are you from?" and "What is your major?" and I thought he was kind of pesky. However, he worked up the courage to ask me to the Sigma Chi formal a couple of weeks later. The rest is history. We've been an item for the last 36 years. Ironically, that was the only time we served a banquet together. We were meant to be!"
Mara (Grimm) '97 and Rockne Cole '97 Iowa City, Iowa "Rockne and I met our senior year at Luther College in Larsen Hall in 1996. We lived on the top floor, the only co-ed floor on campus, and he was my RA. He likes to joke that he took advantage of his position.
Two years earlier he had stood directly in front of me in Cathedral Choir - he as a Bass II, I as an Alto II. Rockne is a very tall, blonde, Nordic looking man. At the time I thought he was a Norwegian foreign exchange student with an incredibly low voice.
Our senior year we met one morning as I was heading to the shower in my bath robe. It was surprising we had never officially met before, since we had several friends in common and were in choir together Sophomore year. Once we got talking I realized he did not have an accent and was not, in fact, a foreign exchange student, but a native of Decorah. We had lots of great talks those first few weeks of school over endless cups of coffee, and he ended up asking me to the Flamingo Ball for our first official date. We dated our entire senior year and ended up parting ways after graduation.
That fall we reunited in Iowa City, and got married the following Christmas of 1998 in Decorah with many of our Luther friends returning for the celebration. This year will mark our 15th year of marriage, and our daughter Nora's 5th birthday. She was named for the strong character Nora in Ibsen's "A Doll's House", a play we both saw our Freshman year at Luther. We hope she someday will attend Luther as well, and have as transforming an experience as we both did."
Audrey (Hovden) '59 and John Dahle '60 Decorah, Iowa" John and I have been life-time members of Madison Lutheran Church. We were confirmed on the same day, and we were loyal Luther Leaguers. Attending Luther at various times we saw each other at daily chapel. I received my two-year elementary education teaching certificate, and then I taught in Lutheran day school in southern California followed by one year at Clarion, Iowa. Upon returning to Luther, John picked me up for dates in his father's Chevy at Brandt Hall. (My graduation photo which also became my engagement photo was taken the morning following the gym fire.) I receive my BA degree and marriage certificate in August 1962."
Ann (Blado) '00 and Andrew Dybvig '98 Minneapolis, Minn. "We first met on a J-Term study abroad trip to South Africa in 1998. Andy was a senior and I was sophomore. Andy was interested in me, but I didn't think too highly of him at first. (I thought that him and his friends on the trip were obnoxious and immature!) But, by the end of the trip, I had gotten to know him better. We had our first date on the last evening of Cape Town and we continued dating once we returned. We were married the summer after I graduated."
Linda (Klotzbach) '97 and Nathan Ferris '97 Dresser, Wis. "I don’t know how we didn’t meet Freshman year. I met many of his friends that year. I had, in fact, been in his room Freshman year. And yet, it was second semester our Junior year at Luther when I noticed him from across the bench press in Weight Training class. Little did I know at the time, he was taking notice of me, too.
I thought I blew it when, out of shyness, I didn’t respond to his hellos when we passed each other on campus. He thought he blew it (after we finally started speaking) when he asked me how I was liking my Freshman year at Luther. (Remember, we were both Juniors.)
Neither of us had, of course. Our interactions and flirtations picked up speed at the very end of the semester (SPO messages to each other, throwing candy at me in class, studying for a final together) and we exchanged addresses and phone numbers. We discovered that we were both from the Twin Cities area and officially started dating that summer.
A few short and amazing months later, we were deciding on a wedding date for the following year. Luther played a part in our final decision: We both loved the month of October, but didn’t want to have the wedding on the same weekend as Homecoming. We were married the week prior, and on our return trip from our honeymoon were able to take in our first Homecoming as Alumni.
In the years since, our Luther class reunion years have been falling very closely to our anniversary date. It has been fun for us to celebrate our “milestone” years together in the place where it all began! This past fall was 15 years, and we along with our 6 year old son were able to introduce our then 2 week old son to the campus Homecoming weekend."
Ami (Shoup) '96 & Steve Hall '97, Littletown, Colo.
"Freshman year, Steve and I were both interested in each other. He showed me by asking out my roommate. He says he flirted with me, but I didn't recognize it. Sophomore year to senior year, we were good friends. Steve took a year off so I graduated one year before him and started dating a man who had the same last name as him. Finally we figured it out. God sent him the message to find a girl in Brandt 106, God told me to get the last name - we just needed a couple tries. Married 14 years this August."
Nori (Greenlee) '97 and Ross Hadley '95, Decorah, Iowa "Ross and I met when I was in the Symphony Orchestra at the time that he was running lights at the CFL for a concert in 1993. Of course, there's more to the story, but that's the 'clean' version."
Robin (Friedrichsen) '83 and Scott Hanson '81 Farmington, Minn. "It was the fall of 1979, my freshman year, when we first met in Spanish class. We soon became best friends. In October 1983, we were married. Nearly thirty years later, we remain best friends and are so thankful for our time at Luther. We received a wonderful education and even better, carried the Luther traditions into our marriage. Luther is a special place. Even though our three children didn't attend Luther, as we visited colleges we always looked for and pointed out the things that made Luther special."
Denae (Erdman) '87 and Steve Harder '84, Spring Valley, Minn.
"The first time I saw Denae was at a pizza party the Men's and Women's Swim Team had to get to know the new swimmers sometime in October of 1983, my senior year and her freshman year at Luther. Just another new face. We actually met in the pool as we shared a lane for at least a week's worth of practice at the beginning of the season. At that time both men's and women's teams often practiced at the same time as we had small teams. I was dealing a chest injury and was moved over to an outside lane, where Denae and a couple teammates were, to work on my kicking. I got to know her and the other new swimmers that week but got better and eventually moved over to the men's lanes. The season progressed we rarely saw each other, or frankly, thought of one another. It wasn't until the last month or two of school that we caught each other's attention and spent more time together, mainly with other mutual friends. After my graduation, I helped her and her mom Audrey, who had signed my diploma as secretary of the Board of Regents (ever been nervous about meeting someone's mom?), pack her up as she left for the summer. We figured that we probably wouldn't see each other much, if at all, as I was going to be in Des Moines at school and she would be at Luther. As "luck" would have it, my dad severely fractured his leg that June and ended up in the hospital for several weeks in Denae's hometown of Rochester. That led to weekend visits to visit him and a chance to see Denae. During the week, she visited my dad daily and kept his room supplied with fresh flowers. We continued seeing each other, maintaining a long distance relationship, and were married on December 20th, 1986, midway through her senior year (she had finished her studies in 3 1/2 years). Now, 26 years later, we live in Spring Valley, MN and have been blessed with 3 fantastic kids... twenty year-old twin boys Jacob (at UMD), Trenton (at Luther) and Rachel (age 16) at home. We have fantastic memories of Luther. It occupies a special place in our hearts. And we're still sharing the same lane..."
Denae's version: "The first time I "noticed" Steve was hearing a laugh coming from the guy's side of the table at the pizza party. I was shocked to find out the giggle had come from a large man! We spent the rest of the season just hanging out as a group that had a lot of workouts and meets in common. If it had not been for the pool and our Fellowship of Christian Athletes gatherings, we never would have crossed paths since we never even had a class together. If it also had not been for his father's injury, I'm not sure our story would have turned out the same. Our hometown's were in different states and schools were in Decorah and Des Moines. We weren't even sure if we would be able to stand each other after we were married since our entire relationship was long distance! I'm thankful for the time I had at Luther and for introducing me to my best friend and husband."
Linda (Rosholt) '85 and Lee Hash '84, Appleton, Wis.
"We actually did meet at Luther. Lee was a junior AHD in Miller, and I was a sophomore living in Dieseth. My good friend Lisa was also an AHD in Miller and she introduced us one of the first days of school. Our first date was to see the on-campus movie, “Psycho.” Don’t try to figure that one out!"
Gretchen (Klaus) '06 and Matthew Hazelton '07 Saint Paul, Minn. "Gretchen and I played in the Orchestra - I played bass and she played violin. We met my Junior year at an Orchestra social, "wine and cheese party" and just started spending more time together after that!"
Kris (Stenson) '91 and John Helberg, Saint Louis Park, Minn. "Kris and I initially shared Norwegian class with Prof. Harley Refsal. I was intrigued, but since we had Norwegian names for class, I had to use the trusty "herd book" to find her real name, which I believe was listed as Kristin. Unfortunately, no one ever calls her by her full name, so I was broadcasting how I got her name every time I passed her and greeted her with her full given name. Eventually, Kris and I signed up for the same J-term trim with Prof. John Moeller to Washington DC - she was a Senior, me as a Sophomore. Soon after, we began dating - and will celebrate 20 years of marriage on 10 July 2013!
A special thanks to Professors Refsal and Moeller for their roles in matchmaking - however unintentional!"
Jaclyn (Ohnemus) '11 and Patrick Hussey '12, Iowa City, Iowa "In December of 2008, Luther hosted auditions for its first J-term "Dancing With The Stars" competition. Having heard about the competition, I decided to audition because it sounded like fun and I was going to need something to do on campus while my friends traveled abroad for J-term. Patrick, on the other hand, was dragged to the auditions by his friend Julie Shiely, an instructor for the competition.The second night of auditions consisted of pairing the guys and girls together to see who would make good partners. While dancing swing style together, Patrick and I officially met. Though we only had time for introductions and small talk, a lasting impression was made! Unfortunately Patrick and I were not picked to compete as partners, but we reconnected during January after Patrick tracked me down and found out that I was an RA in his friend's building. The occasional drop by visit turned into a daily ritual and we quickly became close friends. We had our first date at Mabe's Pizza in April of 2009.
Patrick and I became engaged in April of 2011 and were married on July 28, 2012. We were surrounded by many members of our "Luther family" including a choir 25 Luther students/alumni who sang during our wedding ceremony. It was an awesome day!"
Mindi (Scott) '07 and Josh Johnson '07, Ellington, Conn. "We met on the 2nd day of freshman year. We both played basketball at Luther, and have been together ever since. All 4 years of college we played and traveled together with the basketball team. We moved to Chicago, got married in 2008, had our first son in 2008 and another son in 2011 before moving to Connecticut. We even met a couple at our church who are also Luther alumni."
Sue (Hammer) '74 and John Larson '72, Lafayette, Ind. "John and I met through mutual friends in 1973. Although I turned down a date to the Whippy Dip the first time he called, (I told him I didn't like ice cream,) we were married in June of 1974."
"I was born in Bergen, Norway. In 1950, after World War II our family immigrated to Winnetka, Illinois. I attended New Trier High School graduating in 1956. I chose to attend Luther College because its heritage was rich with Norwegian history, as well as a small, very lovely campus.
I met a young man by the name of Clay Lyon. He was from Albert Lea, Minnesota, played basketball and baseball at Luther and, I thought, a fairly nice, handsome young man. In March, 1958 Clay called me to say he had an emergency in that he was supposed to babysit Coach Kent & Lucia Finanger's two boys Mark and Philip, and his roommate was supposed to help him but had a test the next day so he had to babysit alone. He claimed he didn't know anything about taking care of children and asked if I could help him out. I thought this was a new line I hadn't heard before and he asked so politely that I said yes. That was the beginning of our dating and two years later we were engaged and were married on November 24, 1961. We will be celebrating 52 years of marriage in November. We have two daughters, Pamela and Elizabeth, and four grandchildren, Isabella, Gabriella, Finn and Dalton.
Now we live in Pebble Creek, Arizona after living in Palos Verdes, CA for 29 years and Minnesota prior to that. The reason we moved to Pebble Creek was retirement which brought us full circle from Luther. Clay came to Pebble Creek to play in a golf tournament for Luther put on by Coach Kent Finanger. Clay and I have lived in Pebble Creek, very close to Coach Kent and his wife Lois."