Class of 1959 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017

Dear Classmates,

We hope all is going well for you as we come to the close of another most interesting year. Few could say 2017 was routine. The 500-year anniversary of Reformation, nuclear threats, terrorism, a solar eclipse, floods, hurricanes, odd weather patterns and, of course, watching our Federal government.

Homecoming was another huge event with 65 scheduled events and about 2,500 attendees. Some 1,800 alumni attended class reunion receptions and dinners. We hope you are looking forward to our 60th in 2019.

The class agents learned lots of detail on the new Alumni Ambassador Program. We can all be involved in helping Luther recruit students in a very challenging time for private colleges. Competition for students is intense and we all need to step up and help. We can contact prospective students, distribute Luther information to our local schools and churches, and even represent Luther at local college fairs. The college invites us to refer prospective high school students to the Admissions Office.  Each student we refer will receive a $1,000 scholarship each year for four years if they enroll at Luther.  If you can help and need details, contact Alyssa Ritter in the Luther Admissions Office (563-387-1438 or [email protected]) or visit

Class Notes

Marva (Paulson) Baldwin is retiring after 33 years of directing community, public school and church handbell choirs. She is a former state and district officer of Handbell Musicians of America as well as a clinician at handbell functions. She is co-author of a handbell education book and represented the United States at several International handbell symposiums. Gary and Marva have been married 57 years and live in Evergreen, Colorado. Congratulations Marva!

Class Agent, Walt, was recognized at the class agent luncheon at homecoming for ten years of service to his classmates. 

Class Giving

Thanks again for your loyal financial support. Our loyal 59ers rank seventh out of 83 classes reporting in percent of participation in giving to all funds for calendar year 2016. We are a bit over 46% participation. Thank you, thank you.


Brief obituaries are included for Charles “Chuck” Austad and Kinley Eittreim. We also received notice of the recent death of Loren Behm, Ardis (Fiskerbeck) Christen and

William Tjaden.  Tributes for these classmates will be prepared and included in our spring 2018 class letter.

In addition to our classmates, the Luther Community is deeply sadden by several deaths these past twelve months. Our esteemed Professor Weston Noble and two contemporaries from our student days, Emeritus Vice-President A.Thomas Krable ‘56 and Emeritus Professor Russel Rulon ‘58. The deaths of Emeritus President E.D. Farwell and Helen Farwell will leave a large void in the Luther community for years to come.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families who have lost loved ones this past year.

New Memory Brain Teasers-

1.    What color is the new Luther football field, new outdoor tennis courts, and outdoor track?

2.    What state has the most living Luther alumni?

3.    Classmate in Norsemen’s Quartet our sophomore year?

4.    Three classmates leading the Luther Debate Team our sophomore year?

Memory Brain Teasers -answers to spring 2017 teasers.

1.    Junior year editors of Pioneer yearbook:  Owen Emerson and Walter Rugland

2.    When did Asiatic flu hit our classmates?  Junior year, 1958

3.    Christmas special food at Boarding Club:  Lutefisk and Lefse

4.    This issue dominated student discussion our junior year:  Dancing on campus

For Your Calendar-Homecoming 2018 is October 26-28. Remember our 60th in October 2019.  See you then.

Please keep in touch with your friendly and interested class agents!

Best regards,

David J. Roslien
1959 Class Agent
[email protected]

Walter Rugland
1959 Class Agent
[email protected]


Marva (Paulson) Baldwin of Evergreen, Colo., is retiring after 33 years of directing community, public school, and church handbell choirs. She has been a state and district officer of Handbell Musicians of America as well as a clinician at handbell functions, co-authored a handbell education book and represented the U.S at several international handbell symposiums.


Charles “Chuck” Austad of Bemidji, Minn., died Jan. 23, 2017, at age 79. Born in La Crosse, Wis., his first job was to deliver milk and newspapers from his red wagon, with his dog, Mopsy, when he and his family lived in Zumbrota, Minn. Chuck and his family moved to Rushford when he started 10th grade, and he met Ann Ferden ’58, who became his high school sweetheart and, later, wife. Chuck and Ann were married at Highland Prairie Lutheran Church, Peterson, Minn., on June 13, 1959, after he graduated from Luther with majors in biology and chemistry. He was employed as a teacher in Cambridge and at Winona State University and is a counselor in North Branch and Moundsview. Chuck received a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969. He served as a professor at Bemidji State University for 23 years, chairing the education department and enjoying a distinguished career. Chuck also played cornet with the polka band Just Because for 27 years, and Ann would often travel with him. He was involved with First Lutheran Church and the local Parkinson’s support group. In the weeks before his death, Chuck and Ann had moved from their home of 45 years on the north end of Lake Bemidji to WindSong, an assisted living facility in town. He is survived by his wife, Ann (Ferden) Austad ’58; sister, Louise Bell; sons, Christopher and Jim (Erica); daughter, Jana; seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and four nephews.

Kinley Eittreim of Huntsville, Ala., died June 3, 2017, at age 84. Born in Decorah, he played the bassoon in the Decorah High School Band and graduated in 1950. Kinley attended Luther for a year before enlisting in the U.S. Navy, where he served four years in the Silent Service as an electronics technician, on board the USS Sabalo submarine. After his military service, he returned to Luther and graduated in 1959 with a major in classical languages. While at Luther, Kinley met Ann Neiswanger ’60, and they were married Aug. 6, 1960. He attended Luther Seminary in Minneapolis and interned at Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, Calif. In 1963 Kinley was ordained at First Lutheran Church in Decorah. He served as a pastor in Sarles, N.D.; McVille, N.D.; at Trinity Lutheran in Newman Grove, Neb.; Messiah Lutheran in Vestavia Hills, Ala.; Prince of Peace Lutheran and All Saints Lutheran in Huntsville, Ala.; and Faith Lutheran in Birmingham, Ala. For 32 years, he was active in the naval and marine corps reserves as a chaplain, receiving the rank of commander, Chaplain Corps. Some of the highlights of Kinley’s career were the swearing of his son, Mark, into the Navy, and being asked to be the commissioning ceremony chaplain for the USS Annapolis, his son’s boat—the only reserve chaplain ever asked to do so. He earned a Navy Commendation Medal for service in the Navy's fleet hospital and was surreptitiously given a coveted drill instructor's hat. Kinley served as director of Vestavia Hills (Ala.) Counseling Center at Messiah Lutheran Church and as a police and hospital chaplain for the community. He loved making and sharing homemade fudge, bread, and donuts and relaxed during his down time by working on cars and riding his motorcycle. Kinley is survived by his wife, Ann (Neiswanger) Eittreim ’60; daughter, Susan (Mark) Power; son, Mark (Debra) Eittreim; two grandsons; two sisters, Marlyn Eittreim ’47 and Janice (Eittreim) Imse ’58; aunt; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his four brothers and a sister.