Anne Elizabeth Ofstedal, 1981
Volume 46, Number 2, Winter 2013 (1/11/13)
Anne Elizabeth Ofstedal, 1981
ANNE ELIZABETH OFSTEDAL of New York, N.Y., died August 9, 2012 at age 53. Anne Elizabeth Ofstedal was born August 5, 1959, in Park Falls, Wisconsin, to PAUL ESTREM OFSTEDAL ’54 and Dorothea Ann Jerdee Ofstedal. She was the granddaughter of RUDOLF OFSTEDAL ’21, and the great-granddaughter of ANDREAS OFSTEDAL, Luther Class of 1878. Anne’s schooling began in Park Falls and continued in Lakota, Iowa, and Sioux City, Iowa. She graduated from high school in Storm Lake, Iowa, in 1977. Anne attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, from 1977 to 1979. She transferred to the University of Iowa that fall to pursue an English major. Uncertain about her life’s calling, a providential 1:00 a.m. phone call from her cousin, Heidi Hauge Pramuk, led her to Taiwan in 1981 where she studied Mandarin Chinese, supporting herself by teaching English. Anne returned to the University of Iowa in the fall of 1982 with a new focus, and added a major in East Asian Studies. Upon graduation in 1984, she received a scholarship from the University of Wisconsin, where she attained a Master’s Degree in East Asian Studies in 1986. Anne took a paid-volunteer position with Amity Foundation and taught in Nanjing, China, from 1986 to 1988. She then moved to Beijing as Director of the Wellesley College Chinese Language Immersion Program until 1990, with a brief and hasty exit to Hong Kong during the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Afterwards, Anne was eager to return to Beijing for reasons that soon became clear – his name was Lu Wei, and he ran a coffee shop she enjoyed visiting (in spite of its lukewarm instant coffee). The fall of 1991, after a civil marriage ceremony in Beijing, Anne and Lu Wei came to the United States. They were married in a Christian service at First Lutheran Church in Williston, North Dakota, where Anne’s father served as pastor. After a brief time in Minneapolis, and a variety of short- term positions, Anne accepted a position with the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA), a non-profit in New York City. Anne and Lu Wei moved to the upper west side of Manhattan in March 1993. She served at UBCHEA as Program Director from that time – living in NYC and one year in Beijing - except for a brief hiatus working with the Yale China Center in New Haven, Connecticut. Anne and Lu Wei were blessed with the births of Christina Ofstedal Lu on August 26, 1994, and Dustin Nathaniel Ofstedal Lu on February 27, 1997. Anne and Lu Wei have found real community in New York City with neighbors, co-workers, members of Advent Lutheran Church, and families they have met through their children’s classmates and involvement with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. Anne has been a faithful, active member of Advent Lutheran Church, bringing Christina and Dustin to Sunday School and encouraging them through confirmation. She was always a welcoming presence as usher and greeter on Sunday mornings. Most recently she chaired the task force on education as part of Advent’s strategic planning process. Anne seemed to have unlimited reserves of positive energy to care for her family. Even while traveling extensively to Asia on a regular basis for work, she skyped and video chatted with her children to help with homework and make sure things were running smoothly at home. Additionally, Anne was committed to serving others in a thousand different ways, entering races for good causes and being a loyal friend to many. Anne is survived by her husband, Lu Wei, their children, Christina Lu and Dustin Lu, her parents Paul and Dorothea Ofstedal, her brothers Dan Ofstedal (and children Edie, Wolfie and Opal), Joe Ofstedal (and children June and John), and her sister Ruth Ofstedal. Anne is also survived by her aunts. uncles and many cousins. She was also deeply loved by Lu Wei’s parents, brother, four sisters and their children. Anne was a rare gift, a humble servant, a beautiful spirit, and will be dearly missed by the many who loved her. SOLI DEO GLORIA.