Class of 1956 Spring 2018 Letter

Spring 2018

Dear 1956 Classmate:

It has been an unusual winter in much of the country. In late January, after annual physicals and getting tax work done, we set out for Arizona. It had been very cold in Northern Minnesota so we were happy to leave. The weather on the way was fine until we got to Arizona where it started to rain. Then, during our first month here there were seven straight days of rain, some of it very heavy which caused some flash floods due to soil density (that is, water doesn’t soak in; it just runs off). There were also several nights with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees and with frost, and many very cool days making the swimming pools rather unattractive. Feeling sorry for ourselves, we soon felt fortunate to have escaped the snow, ice, and rain in February that covered many states. So, all in all Arizona is a good place in which to spend some of the winter.

The other day I decided to study in detail the College’s website. There is a great deal of information available on it. I encourage you to visit You will find information on events, tours, and classmates who have passed away. You can update your personal information, look at the Luther Magazine, search for a friend, and much more. You can scroll around and catch up on music, lectures, sports, and happenings in academic and student life. There is so much more going on than in our day, and it is enjoyable to take note of it.

Another webpage you might explore is which tells how alumni can recommend high school students who would benefit from a Luther education.

Over the holidays I heard from a couple of classmates. Juanita (Zeman) Loven has had some physical challenges, to say the least. In late January she returned home after a two month stay at the Guttenberg (Iowa) Care Center rehab unit for physical therapy. Surgery had provided her with two hip replacements, metal in one wrist, and a plate and 14 screws in the right femur. Her husband Russ went daily for lunch and cribbage, and her book club and Bible study group met there for her convenience. Wow!  Russ’s news is less dramatic. He has decided, or is in the process of deciding, not to run for Mayor of Guttenberg yet again. It’s been a good tenure.

John Barstad still resides in Anchorage, Alaska. He says he keeps “plugging along.” He must be a bit of a techie since he says he uses the computer quite a bit for communicating, following the stock market, doing family research (he has lost count of the number of cousins he has located), and playing word games with friends.  He said his wife, Cheryl, recently “went outside.” In Alaska lingo that means going out of state.

Terry and Faith (Luzum) Fretheim (Park Ridge, Ill.) spent a week last August at Holden Village in the Cascade Mountains in Washington. Terry lectured for a week and they celebrated their 61st anniversary with the able assistance of daughter Andrea and two grandchildren. Also, in August they traveled to Calmar (Iowa) for the 65th reunion of her high school class.

I see Elaine (Forde) Larson frequently in Arizona. A few years ago she made Green Valley her permanent home though she spends several weeks back in Northern Minnesota. She continues to sing in the choir at Desert Hills Lutheran Church. The choir includes a number who have sung in college choirs and even the National Lutheran Choir. The church choir is very good.

Kristi (Hendrikson) Thompson is also now permanently in Green Valley. It is convenient for her since her daughter is a nurse in Tucson and her son is in Colorado. Though she has joined an Episcopal church which is more convenient, she still socializes with her friends at Desert Hills.

If there is anyone I have missed, I apologize. I invite you to resend and invite others to send news of self or others. Classmates do say how much they enjoy hearing about other class members. If you do not do email, a note by regular mail is fine. It need not be long.

According to the Luther website, three classmates passed in the last few months.  Harlan Bang and Edgar Hanson both died in 2017. Don Gandrud died in 2016. I think I noted Don’s passing in a prior letter, as well.

I don’t need to remind you that there is never a time not to send a gift to Luther, the place that did so much for us. It is always rewarding to see our class listed among the leaders in the percent of classmates making a gift annually. Thank you so much. I know Luther is grateful for your support. You can make a gift today by using the attached form and the reusable envelope or by visiting

Lastly, have a blessed Easter; a renewal of body, mind, and spirit in the spring; and an active and pleasant summer.



Mary R. (Kittelsland) Haaland
23228 County 80
Nevis, MN 56467
218-652-2082 (h)
218-252-4262 (c)
1105 South Alpine Circle
Green Valley, AZ 85614
520-399-1801 (h)
[email protected]



Harlan Bang of Albert Lea, Minn., died Oct. 1, 2017, age 86. 

Donald G. Gandrud, of Glenwood, Minn., died Aug. 4, 2016, age 85.

Edgar L. Hanson of McMinnville, Ore., died Aug. 24, 2017, age 83.

Full obituaries can be found on the Luther College website at:
If you would like a printout of the full obituaries from your class mailed to you, please contact us at:
[email protected], or 563-387-1509.