Janet (Jerdee) Forde, 1948

Winter 2018 (January 13, 2018)

Janet (Jerdee) Forde passed away Oct. 25, 2017, in Cambridge, Minn. She was born Aug. 1, 1926, in Bemidji, Minn. She was predeceased by her husband, Nels Forde ‘50, and her siblings Joseph Jerdee ’49 and Dorothea (Jerdee) Ofstedal, both of whom were Luther alumni. She is survived by five children, Rebecca (Forde) Lansing ’74 (Dan Lansing); Steven Forde (Mari Metzgar); Suzanne (Forde) Tunnell ’79 (Christopher Tunnell); Barbara Forde ’82 (Alex Rad); and Christopher Forde (Jodi Forde); eight grandchildren, and many siblings, nieces and nephews.

Janet Jerdee entered Luther in 1944, eventually double-majoring in Latin and Music. She met her future husband Nels Forde (of Starbuck, Minn.) in her sophomore year. Both were children of Lutheran ministers, and Nels was also musically adept. Nels and Janet often performed together—she on piano and he on voice—and did some broadcasts on the Luther College radio station. Janet and Nels were married in 1949 and remained married for 65 years. Nels’ graduation from Luther was delayed for two years by military service in the aftermath of WWII. Janet, a new alumna, taught Latin and beginning Music Theory for two years at Luther while Nels finished his degree. She also directed the Luther Women’s Chorus.

After graduation, Nels went to graduate school, eventually becoming a professor of History. He joined the History faculty at Luther for two years, 1965-67. Janet, Nels and family lived for many years in Lincoln, Neb., where Nels taught at the University of Nebraska. He also served two terms on the Luther board of regents. Janet received a graduate degree in French from the University of Nebraska, and taught in the Lincoln Public Schools for many years. Among her other accomplishments, she developed and taught a novel course on English etymology, “Word Roots.”

After retirement, Janet and Nels moved to their beloved cabin on Whitefish Lake in Minn., and were active members of the Pine River Lutheran congregation. In 2010, they moved to Golden Valley, Minn., and remained in the Twin Cities area after that. Throughout their lives, they remained engaged with Luther College, attending numerous reunions, as well as the graduations of children and relatives.

Janet (Jerdee) Forde