Nordis Elizabeth Wanberg, 1948
Volume 46, Number 3, Spring 2013 (5/01/13)
Nordis Elizabeth Wanberg, 1948
NORDIS ELIZABETH WANBERG, 91, was born July 20, 1921, daughter of Rev. RICHARD T. WANBERG (Luther Class of 1914), and Mrs. R. T. Wanberg of Towner, N.D. Mrs. Elizabeth Shipman, a mid-wife in the Towner area, assisted in the home delivery of Nordis. Pastor and Mrs. Wanberg selected the name of Elizabeth for the middle name of Nordis in honor of this wonderful nurse. Nordis completed 12 years of school at Towner, graduating from high school in 1939. She placed first place in music, speech and typing contests. Following high school, Nordis enrolled at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. During World War II, she worked four years at the Pioneer State Bank at Towner, as a bookkeeper and cashier. She returned to Luther College and graduated in 1948 with majors in music, English and speech and minors in education and Bible. While at Luther College, she played flute in the band, violin in the orchestra, and toured with the Concert Choir to the West Coast. She was chosen as a coloratura soprano to sing “Lo Hear the Gentle Lark” at the Commencement exercises. In 1965, Nordis earned a Master’s degree in Education with a major in Counseling at Montana State University, Missoula, Mont. She received a fellowship to the University of Kansas and the Medical Research Center, Kansas City, for a Master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Learning Disabilities. She also did graduate studies at the University of North Dakota, Moorhead State University, MacPhail College of Music and Oregon State University. She studied under a Science Foundation scholarship at Oregon State University. She qualified for the MENSA society. Nordis spent thirty years in public education in N.D., Mont., and Minn. Nine of these years were at Detroit Lakes, Minn. She taught music, English and drama. Her students won first place in state competitions. She has received birthday and Christmas greetings from some of her students for the past sixty years. Nordis served as Dean of Women at Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa. She taught undergraduate and graduate classes for North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota, and University of Regina, Sask., Canada. Nordis set up reading labs. She was invited to help develop a pilot project in Learning Disabilities, which included a Reading Lab, for Southeast Saskatchewan, Canada, centered in Estevan. Nordis had ten years of business experience including the McHenry County Treasurer’s and Auditor’s office. After Luther graduation, she worked as a bookkeeper and payroll clerk for the college. Later she worked as a Statistician for the General Secretary’s Office of the American Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. With her brother, Larrie, she established Vanberia Scandinavian imports in Decorah, Iowa. The shop was named after the great grandfather’s sailing vessel in Olden, Nordfjord, Norway. She has been a member of many education, historical, state and community organizations: McHenry County Historical Society serving as Secretary and a Board member; N.D. State Heritage Center, Bismarck; LAND (Legal Association of North Dakota); Tri County Senior Meals and Services Board; McHenry County Commission on Aging serving as President and Treasurer; Vice President of the Turtle Mountain Cluster of the ELCA; President of WELCA for Zion Lutheran Church; Facilitator for Lutheran Brotherhood; President and Treasurer for Towner Senior Citizens; and President of the Towner Council of the Arts. Nordis has written grants for educational and community organizations. She has also done historical research and writing for preservation of local history. Through the years, she has provided vocal solos for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, funerals and community events. She has been a member of church and community choirs. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. She spent three summers in Europe: 1958, 1960, and 1969. The summer of 1958 was spent camping in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Holland, Germany and a week at the World’s Fair in Brussels, Belgium. The summer of 1959, Nordis and her sister, Dallas, went on a pack trip by horseback in the Rocky Mountains, on the border of Montana and Idaho near Hamilton, Mont. In October 1998, Nordis attended the 50th Class Reunion at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. She continued to attend workshops and travel. Nordis has had many hobbies including music, oil painting, reading history and biography, collecting and writing local history and family genealogy. Rev. Wanberg’s family can be traced to the year 900 and Mrs. Wanberg’s family to the year 600. Nordis enjoyed learning to use the computer and the internet. Nordis died Nov. 18, 2012, in Heart of America Care Center in Rugby. Survivors include her sister, DALLAS (WANBERG) KNUDSON ’56 (Warner), Towner; brother, LARRIE WANBERG ‘52, Northwood; and sister-in-law, BETTY (FEY) PETERSON ‘55 (Merle), Rochester, Minn.; six nieces, including ALANA KNUDSON ’88, AMY (PETERSON) SULLIVAN ‘92, and five nephews. Nordis was preceded in death by an infant brother, her parents, Rev. and Mrs. R.T. Wanberg, a brother, RICHARD WANBERG ‘54, and a sister-in-law, BJORG (LAHLUM) WANBERG ‘59. A Celebration of Life service will be held in early July 2013 at Zion Lutheran Church in Towner with burial in Union Cemetery.