Class of 1945 Spring 2017 Letter

Spring 2017

Dear Members of the Class of 1945,

Greetings from Luther and happy spring semester! As I write to you today in late March, Luther students are enjoying the last few days of spring break. Earlier this month, the Development Office participated in Luther’s second annual Giving Day on March 9, which proved to be a fun day of sharing Luther love all over social media and raising money for the Annual Fund. More than $500,000 was raised that day; thank you to all who made gifts!

You probably heard the news about our beloved Weston Noble ’43, who died Dec. 21, 2016. A celebration of his life will be held on campus at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at the Center for Faith and Life, Main Hall. More details about Weston’s life can be found in the Winter 2017 issue of the Luther Alumni Magazine and on Luther’s website.

While we’re on the subject of music, it was announced in January that Andrew Last ’97, assistant professor of music and conductor of Collegiate Chorale and Norsemen, has been appointed to the post of Nordic Choir conductor and director of choral activities at Luther. He will begin his new duties at the beginning of the 2017 fall semester. You can read more about Andrew Last on Luther’s website, and you can find lots more as well, including students’ J-term course blogs and other course blogs, Alumni Office travel tours and events, links to alumni profiles, comparisons and rankings, life after Luther, etc. It’s easy to find web content that interests you at by clicking the search button next to the “info for” drop-down box at the top right of the page. Type in the word “news,” click on the search button, and you’ll get all of the Luther news, for your reading pleasure.

Attached to this letter is the list of all who made gifts to Luther in calendar year 2016. Thank you for your generosity! Did you know you can sign up for monthly giving to Luther? It’s a great way to ensure a gift is made each year. Those who make a gift at any level for three or more consecutive years become members of Luther’s Loyalty Society. Visit for more details. Regular giving to Luther is a great habit to cultivate!

Do you have memories of past Luther experiences you’d like to share? I’m sure your classmates would enjoy reading about them; send me your stories!

I’ll write again in the fall,

Sue (Franzen) Drilling ’78
[email protected]

Your gift. Put to work, right away, where it is needed most.

Last year more than 10,000 alumni, family, and friends supported Luther’s Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $100,000. Your gift makes a difference for each and every student at Luther, and we are grateful for your support.


This list includes all gifts received January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2016. Making a gift each and every year is an investment in the lives of Luther students and a show of support for the Luther College community. Thank you for your support of Luther College through your giving.

Marjorie (Grimes) Broward
Judith (Solberg) Hatton
Elva (Sorenson) Steffenson

Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. If an error has been made, please accept our apology and contact the Luther Development Office at 800-225- 8664, or email [email protected]. (†deceased)


Constance (Dahl) Larson of Fargo, N.D., died Nov.14, 2016, at age 95. Born in Pierre, S.D., as a young child she moved with her parents to St. Paul, Minn., and later to Minneapolis, where she graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1939. Connie attended the University of Minnesota for two years before transferring to Luther, where she majored in sociology. Following her Luther graduation, she taught high school in Estherville, Iowa, for a year before working as a secretary in Minneapolis and Los Angeles. In 1950 she began serving as secretary to the Luther College president, retiring from the position in 1982. Connie married the Reverend Percy Larson ’45 on Nov. 27, 1981, at First Lutheran Church in Decorah. In 1987 they retired to Mabel, Minn., and in 2000 Connie and Percy moved to Moorhead, Minn., where they became members of Trinity Lutheran Church. The Larsons moved to Bethany Homes in Fargo, N.D., in 2007. Connie is survived by a sister, Elizabeth (Dahl) Hoeger ’45; sixteen nieces and nephews; and her husband’s children: Sandra (Larson) Hove ’73, Timothy Larson, Philip Larson ’75, and Mark Larson ’84. She was preceded in death by her husband, Percy Larson ’45; a brother; and three sisters: Joyce (Dahl) Fadness ’53, Joan (Dahl) Nordness ’54, and Karen (Dahl) Anderson ’57.

Opal Underbakke of Burr Oak, Iowa, died Oct. 18, 2016, at age 91. Born on a farm near Burr Oak, she graduated from Canton (Minn.) High School in 1942. Opal graduated from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, with a major in English and speech education before attending Luther from 1942-45. She married Harold (Bud) E. Smith ’60 in 1954, and they raised five children. Opal had a passion for learning and shared her knowledge in the educational field for more than 65 years. She taught in both private and public schools, tutored many individuals, and developed and implemented a large number of drama and speech programs. Opal motivated and inspired many students who went on to be successful in the fields of education, broadcasting, business, and politics. She had a love for reading, gardening, and traveling, and exploring the U.S., Mexico, Europe, and Bahamas. Opal was very community minded and frequently helped with youth and community projects; she had a strong religious faith and was actively involved in church outreach and charitable programs. She also won awards for horticultural design. Opal is survived by her children, Donny (Marcia) Smith, Brenda (Bill) Copp, Roberta Underbakke, Klee (Bich Ha) Smith, and Jennie (Lou) Espada; 12 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; brother, Dale (Eleanor) Underbakke; sister, Shyrlee (Underbakke) Hill ’62 (Craig); brother-in- law, Frank Sever; sister-in- law, Donna Underbakke; and many nieces, nephews, and friends. She was preceded in death by her brothers, Maynard and Robert Underbakke; sister, Roberta Sever; brother and sister-in- law, Mary and Kenneth Rose; and former husband, Harold (Bud) Smith ’60.