Class of 1961 Spring 2016 Letter

Spring 2016

Dear Classmates,

I was thinking about what to share with you this time and came up with the “Three Fs.” Growing up as students who were measured only by the letter grading system, we have an immediate foreboding, anxiety-producing feeling of failure associated with that letter “F.” Right? So in this letter, I am changing the narrative. The “Three “Fs” will be positive: Fun, Flowers, and Forgiveness.    

Since this is the season of Lent, let’s start with Forgiveness.   

A sentence from the Lord’s Prayer keeps crossing my mind’s eye these last few months: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” It’s not a one-way request when we ask God to forgive our sins. We are required to take action as well, that is, to forgive others. (Sometimes our insights come slowly!)

I recently attended a faith formation class on this theme presented by Dr. Marty Stortz, a former seminary professor.  She put it this way. “We are forgiven by God so we can be forgiven forgivers.” She divided the process of being forgiven forgivers into three steps: Repentance, Remembering, and Reconciliation. I found it very interesting and thought you might as well.

Dr. Stortz assigned a temptation to each of the three actions. For Repentance it is revenge. When we feel hurt we often want to strike back at the person. We can carry this hurt/grudge for years, clogging up our mind-space with negativity and spite. You may be familiar with the “Dark Golden Rule”: “I will do unto others as they have done to me, and then some!” This eye for an eye response makes forgiving that person impossible. Thus, confession or repenting is the first step towards freeing ourselves to forgive. We can identify with Jesus who tells us his yoke is not heavy.

In the Remembering action, the temptation is denial. Contrary to the old adage of “forgive and forget,” being a forgiver involves remembering. With it we can possibly avoid some of the atrocities that have occurred, e.g., the Holocaust.

Lastly, the process of forgiving others involves Reconciliation. The temptation for not doing this step is living a life full of hatred. Jesus’ greatest story about this is the parable of “The Prodigal Son.” His father radiates joy, not hatred, when they are reconciled. You will recall the Rwandan genocide a few years ago. I recently read a story about a Hutu woman whose family had been murdered, meeting with a Tutsi man who had murdered them. The visual showed them hugging. This seems unbelievable, but what a wonderful example of putting into action not only loving your enemies, but forgiving those who persecute you. I wish you a Fulfilling journey if you choose to embark on the road to becoming a forgiven forgiver.

Next, let’s look at flowers. My local flower nursery sends out monthly emails titled “Nola’s Notes for February” (March, April, etc.).  Here’s a fun trivia tidbit. Valentine was a priest living in the year 270. He made the king mad and was sentenced to death. In jail he wrote a letter to the jailor’s daughter, signing it “From Your Valentine.” Through the ages this sentence has evolved into the biggest flower celebration of the year! Who can forget your Valentine?

For me, receiving flowers in the winter is the ultimate blessing. As a gardener in the summer, I miss all the beauty of flowers; the feel of soil on your hands, and the picking of that perfect green bean that you promptly put in your mouth to savor. Legend has it that in the winter there are three gardens: the hidden one outside, the pots of herbs in your kitchen, and the one in your mind’s eye. I guess I have to settle for a Fantasy garden and hope someone sends me flowers or maybe a trip to San Diego, where the birds of paradise are in full bloom!

Just before Valentine’s Day, I was helping my five-year-old granddaughter, Elsa, with her homework (true) and writing valentines for her classmates. The third “F” comes from creating words from “un”. The task is to add consonants to make the words – R un, S un, F un, etc. I don’t recall ever learning “un” words, but what a great idea!      

The valentine writing was next. Elsa started out great but soon was asking if I could help. She chose the longest names for me to do. Right? I looked closely at the list and was struck by how many foreign names were on this list of 27 students, e.g., Ibriham, Ah’Mya, Jean-Claude, Sudus. I attempted a pronunciation of the last name but was quickly corrected, “It’s Su-dus’ (long U), Grandma! The hardest word I had to pronounce when I was five was my father’s name. He was given the Norwegian name Bjarne (B-yarn’-e [long B and e] not B-jar’ne, short B, long e).

An article in the Star Tribune predicted that whites will be in the minority by the year 2040. A footnote commented that this was a fact already in the Minneapolis kindergarten class rooms. I was reflecting on how Elsa’s experience as a minority will shape her relationships. Will these potential Luther students grow up with love, toleration, and a mutual respect for differences an integral part of them? Will these kids be the ideal example for multi-cultural co-existence? Will they be able to resist the temptations of revenge and hatred because they gave valentines to each other? Will they be the catalysts that can stop horrific persecutions of Christians in the Mid East because they’ve learned how to be merciful on the monkey bars or in the lunch room? I hope so.

Finally, the fun I am thinking about involves seeing all of you at our 55-year class reunion this fall. Homecoming is on the weekend of September 30-October 2, 2016. Make your reservations now to come and celebrate. It would be great fun to see you. More information will be sent around the end of May.

I wish all of you an abundance of blessings. Just to let you know, my five-year term as your class agent is up this fall. Please let me know if you would like to be our next class agent. I have really enjoyed writing these letters and feeling more connected to our outstanding class. Thanks for putting up with my varied topics! If you have someone to nominate in mind, let me know. Thanks.

You may want to check out the redesigned homepage on Luther’s website. Also, a video was created presenting the dancing controversy and changes Luther faced in the 1960’s: You can also access the video at by searching for “Dance Revolution: Students’ Reaction to an Unjust Policy.” The controversial change was completed between President Ylvisaker’s resignation and the naming of the next president. Remember, this was the year after we graduated! 


Karin (Wolding) Abel
1961 Class Agent
4104 S. Sheridan Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55410
[email protected]

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

Each year over 9,000 alumni, parents, and friends support the Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $75,000. Strong support from alumni helps Luther secure additional funds from foundations and corporations, and your gift each year helps us reach our goal of 27% alumni giving. Here’s how your class—and surrounding classes—did in 2015:

Class of 1960 total giving in 2015:  $63,765 from 42.13% of the class
Class of 1961 total giving in 2015:  $86,756 from 49.17% of the class
Class of 1962 total giving in 2015:  $87,156 from 49.38% of the class

Your gift can boost the impact your class has on current students! Please use the enclosed envelope or visit to show your support. Thank you!


This list includes all gifts received January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2015. 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.

Irvin Aal
Karin (Wolding) Abel
Vern Barlow
Sandra (Sundberg) Bergman
Maryellen (Amundson) Boe
Dagny (Hexom) Boebel
Carol Borson
John Bostrom
Michael Brunsvold
R. Eric Carlson
Shirley (Udstuen) Carpenter
Jack Christensen
C. Gerald Christenson
Ronald Christian
Marilyn (Branstad) Cornell
Laurene (Olson) Davidson
Leilani (Hovden) De Muth
Gregory Dotseth
Sandra (Swenson) Eliason
Audrey (Pederson) Erdman
Daryl Erdman
Jerry Erickson
Lois (Wiebke) Erickson
Karen (Kiland) Erlander
Barbara (Sanden) Fett
Shirley (Lilleskov) Fjoslien
Paul Forde
Ronald Fretheim
DeLyle Fure
James Gesme
Naomi (Borreson) Hanson
Greggory Harmon
Dianne (Foss) Hartzell
Rodney Hatle
Garnet (Johnson) Haugen
Thomas Haugen
†Joan (Torvick) Hayashida
Jane (Hurd) Helgeson
Ronald Hested
Gloria (Kach) Hove
Priscilla (Holt) Jacobsen
Andrea (Bakken) James
Carol (Rasmussen) James
Charles Johnson
Karen (Gulsvig) Johnson
Shirley (Stark) Jorde
Wayne Kivell
Judith (Hestenes) Knutson
Bonna (Anderson) Krafts
James Kroneman
June (Olson) Krull-Bonderman
Karen (Mostrom) Larson
O. Dale Larson
Geraldine (Freeman) Lee
Nancy (Rovang) Lee
Ronald Lee
Frank Liston
Dagny Lund
Karin (Knutsen) Lyon
William Lyon
John Mathre
Janet (Amundson) Moen
Loren Moen
Earl Mullins
Dale Mundt
Barbara (Kumm) Nelson
Judith (Haugen) Nelson
Helen (Seffrood) Nenneman
Kay (Thomas) Nodolf
Alan Nordhem
LaMay (Sexe) Nybroten
Elaine (Redalen) Olson
Gary Olson
Janice (Gulbranson) Olson
Rosaaen (Skifton) Olson
Gene Olstad
Anita (Haugen) Omodt
Norman Omodt
Glen Orr
Roger Osmundson
Marjorie (Myrah) Parkos
Jonathan Preus
James Ringlien
Audrey (Wogen) Rober
Deanna (Blunt) Roen
Robert Rosedahl
Ann (Knutson) Rotto
Alma Rotto-Morgan
Richard Rud
Helen Sand Schaeffer
Frederick Schneider
Jack Schultz
Daniel Seidelmann
Barbara (Coupanger) Servatka
Richard Simmering
Janet Skaar
David Smedstad
Cynthia (Vasey) Smith
Paul Solberg
LaVonne (Leng) Solomonson
†Lynn Steen
Ronald Sundberg
Gene Svebakken
David Swenson
Owen Thorson
Anita (Buss) Turck
Helen (Dregne) Urban
Dean Vigeland
Robert Von Haden
Jane (Baker) Wallestad
Darlene (Johnson) Wheeler
Carolyn (Forde) White
Kayla (Pederson) Wieme
Anita (Thurin) Wildermuth
Barbara (Gumz) Willis
Jon Wogen
Darlene (Peters) Wold
David Wold
Norbert Wurtzel

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].


Class Note

BILL BAILEY of Burlington, Iowa, was inducted into the Minnewaska Laker Athletic Hall of Fame last October. Bailey was the head football coach at Starbuck, Minn., for 20 seasons. His teams had an overall record of 127 wins and 65 losses. In addition to being successful in the Pheasant Conference, the Bucks played in four state tournaments in a span of five seasons, including a run to the state championship game in 1981, the same year Bailey was inducted into Luther’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Bailey recently retired and returned to his hometown of Burlington. He is member of the board of directors for the Purple and Gray Foundation that is spearheading a multi-million dollar project to renovate Bracewell Stadium. The foundation aims to support the Burlington Community School District’s athletics program.


ROBERT “BOB” ZAISER of Burlington, Iowa, died Nov. 23, 2015, at age 79. After graduating from Burlington High School in 1955, he enrolled at Luther, where he majored in business administration. Bob married CAROL (FRESHWATER) ZAISER ’58 in Fairview Park, Ohio, on July 2, 1960. He studied landscaping at Iowa State University and founded Zaiser Landscaping, where he worked as a horticulturist and landscaper, retiring in 2009 for health reasons. A member of First United Methodist Church, Carthage Lake Club, and Moose Lodge #579, Bob was a past member of Des Moines County Conservation Board, SCC Agriculture Program Board, and the Burlington Noon Kiwanis. In 2009 he received a Distinguished Service Award from Luther. A naturalist, gardener, sheep herder, cattle breeder, and bird watcher, Bob enjoyed ski trips with family and friends, fishing in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the companionship of his dogs. He is survived by his wife, CAROL (FRESHWATER) ZAISER ’58; three children: R. Scott (Nina) Zaiser, Vicki Cassabon (Rick Koeller), and Marc (Lea) Zaiser; four grandchildren; sister, Betty Stiles; two nieces; grandniece and grandnephew; and cousins. Bob was preceded in death by his parents and a niece. Memorials may be made to the NORBERT PRUISNER ’61 Scholarship Fund at Luther.