Class of 1950 Spring 2017 Letter

Spring 2017

Dear Classmates,

It is already 2017, 67 years since we graduated from Luther. Amazing. I hope you are managing your advanced years reasonably well, blessed by each day, month, and year of life that comes our way.

The major recent event tied to the college was, of course, the death of Weston Noble ’43 in late December. A memorial service was held at First Lutheran in Decorah a few days later, with a celebration of Weston’s life scheduled for Saturday, May 13th , on campus. It is not hard to imagine the glorious event that will be. Coincidentally, the new director of Nordic Choir has recently been announced: Andrew Last, an alum from the ‘90s and for the past several years, one of Luther’s choral maestros. You can take it from me that the college got this right. I have heard Andrew’s choirs perform numerous times and have a granddaughter who sang for him. He is terrific, both musically and personally.

Weston had been in frail health for several years, but he kept bouncing back. Just days before his death, I was seated next to him at a dinner, where we had some fun conversation. Now the memories come flooding in: the look he gave me one night on a Concert Band tour when the first note on a brief solo I had didn’t sound; him conducting the band at breakneck tempo when Glenn Evensen, Harry Krueger, and I had been reunited to perform our old trumpet trio for a homecoming concert after I had joined the faculty; getting a kind message from him on the occasion of my retirement,when he was still a dozen years away from his own retirement! How fortunate to have been at Luther in 1948 when this fabulous career began.

As usual at this time of year, we have been favored with brilliant homecoming-from-tour concerts by Luther’s major music ensembles. And the spring semester got off to a good start with an inspirational address by the ELCA’s presiding bishop Elizabeth Eaton, who spoke gently but squarely to the altered political environment we all are facing. The basketball season is heading into the final week of the regular season. The men have struggled to get wins, but have been fun to watch because of how hard they compete. The women, despite losing three all-conference players from last year’s conference champions, have exceeded expectations, securing the number two seed for the upcoming conference tournament and being the only team in the conference to defeat a very good and nationally ranked Wartburg squad. Baseball looks promising after winning the conference tournament a year ago and having its young coach receive a coach of the year award.

On a different note, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther’s leading role in it. There will be major celebratory events on campus this spring and again in the fall. A big weekend in April will culminate in a performance of Bach’s great Mass in B Minor, first on campus and then at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.

Once again I recommend that you check out some great student blogs on Luther’s website, written as they were traveling the globe during January-Term. And college Chips has just published an attractive “Special Edition 2017,” which also contains some fine student writing about varied experiences. It all testifies to the current quality of a Luther education.

Last but not least, do respond to the email you should have received recently as an alum, enabling you to participate in the new strategic planning process that is now underway at the college. They need to hear from us!

The best to all of you as we hang in there together.

Dick Ylvisaker
[email protected]

P.S. As I was completing this letter, word came of the death of our classmate Bud (Vernon) Bahr. Several months ago Bud had a fall that led to his moving into the Aase Haugen Care Center in Decorah. Until then his wife Donna had been caring for him at home, bringing him to church regularly on Sunday and to choir rehearsals Wednesday evening. Such a lovely man he was.

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.

H. Donald Abrahams
Phyllis (Lea) Abrahams
Margaret (Schroeder) Amo
Donald Aschom
†Vernon Bahr
Oliver Berge
Thomas Berge
Marvin Bertelson
Arne Brekke
Deloris (Smedstad) Burstrom
Holger Christiansen
Donald Ellickson
Verdie Ellingson
Harriet (Fritz) Esse
Rolf Giere
LaVonne (Roe) Gilderhus
Roger Goulson
Maryln (Johnson) Grimm
Richard Grindeland
Vernell (Stephens) Haugen
Marjorie (Olson) Hove
Tilford Ike
Robert Johnson
Theodore Johnson
Yvonne (Scharberg) Jondal
Daniel Jordahl
Elna (Feller) Knutson
Harold Krueger
Adeline (Lovstuen) Langland
Robert Lee
David Leirmo
Justine (Holum) Lionberger
Florence (Thompson) Moe Olson
Elizabeth (Hillesland) Nelson
Marilyn (Knudson) Peterson
†Le Roy Peterson
Betty Phelps Monson
Thomas Rossing
William Schmidt
Ralph Scott
John Spencer
Solveig Steendal
Alan Stoddard
Carl Teisberg
Herbert Von Arx
Donald Weber
Doris (Spelhaug) Weber
Richard Ylvisaker

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)


Marilyn (Trytten) Dain of Rochester, Minn., died Oct. 18, 2016, at age 87. Born in Ridgeway, Iowa, she met her husband, Roland "Rollie" Dain ’48, while attending Luther. Marilyn received a certificate in education in 1948, and she and Rollie were married Aug. 25, 1948, in Ridgeway. The couple pursued teaching careers, and Marilyn taught in Cresco, Iowa, for 15 years and also in Fennimore, Wis. In 1971 Marilyn received a bachelor’s degree from Luther,majoring in elementary education. After retirement the couple moved to Fredericksburg, Texas, where they lived for 20 years before moving to Rochester. Marilyn enjoyed cooking, sewing, golfing, and spending time with her family. She was a member of Bethel Lutheran Church. Marilyn is survived by two daughters, Laurie (Dain) Braun ’73 (Jack) and Kristin Dain; a son, Bradley Dain (Jennifer); two grandchildren, including Sarah (Braun) Ekenberg ’04 (Randy); and a great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her husband, Rollie, on Aug. 20, 2014.

Arlan Knutson of Janesville, Wis., died Aug. 7, 2016, at age 91. Born in Iola, he served in the U.S. Army and majored in sociology at Luther. Arlan married Idamae Prell ’49 in Stevens Point on Aug. 5, 1949. He was a member of the Optimist Club and Faith Lutheran Church—serving as its business administrator for 29 years—and he held the position of class agent for his Luther class from 2010-12. Arlan is survived by his wife, Idamae (Prell) Knutson ’49; three children: Kathy (Knutson) Geary ’74 (James), Eric Knutson ’76, and Signe Knutson ’80 (William Winans); three grandchildren, including Marte Pohlmann ’06; and brother, Bob Knutson.