Class of 1963 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017

Class of 1963

It’s a blustery fall day in West Central Wisconsin. The colors have peaked, the winds are strong, the leaves are falling like rain, and the temperature drops are signaling what’s to come. We are in for change.

Change is happening at Luther College, too. All good.

Luther has started the process of developing a new, dynamic strategic plan for the challenges and opportunities ahead in higher education. Working from Luther’s  position of strength, the process will gather and incorporate input from an array of stakeholders including faculty and staff, students and alumni, regents and Alumni Council members, parents, and the Decorah area community—inclusive and comprehensive. We’ll keep you posted as the plan materializes.

The Annual Fund, a signature resource gathering activity of the college, has been renamed the Luther Fund, to better communicate its purpose of supporting students. Your gift to the Luther Fund is critical. The money is unrestricted and put to work immediately to help support the varied needs of all students. Please give what you can, whenever you can. Thank you.

On a sad note of change, the Luther College family has said good-bye to two beloved icons: Emeritus President Elwin D. Farwell, who died May 5, at age 98, and his life partner, Helen, who died July 27, at age 97.

The Farwells served Luther College officially from 1963 to 1981. They served Luther unofficially until their ends. They were a true team. The Farwell years brought Luther into its “new day.” The spirit of community and collaboration were strengthened. Growth of the physical campus mirrored growth of academics excellence and student enrollment: new dorms, new library, CFL, Field House. What a legacy the Farwells have left us!

Classmate Phyllis (Dankers) Yes, emeritus professor of art at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, has added ‘playwright’ to her impressive credits of artistic accomplishment.

Phyllis has written a two-act play dealing with the family life experience of aging parents and adult children, of caregivers, and friends. The play shares elements of Phyllis’s personal experience in this life transition. Good Morning, Miss America will premiere at the Coho Theatre in Portland March 10-31, 2018. Spread the word to your Portland-area family and friends. Congratulations, Phyllis!

Reunion ALERT! How can it be? Our 55-year reunion is set for Homecoming 2018, October 26-28. Mark your calendar. Make your plans. Remember what a good time we all had at our 50-year reunion. Come back. If it’s been awhile since you were on campus, treat yourself and come to our 55th. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did. Here is a link to lodging info:

How can I say this delicately? Be direct. HELP! I need you to send me news of you, news I can share with our classmates. What are you doing in retirement? What books are you reading? What hobbies or avocations are you pursuing? Trips you recommend? Life lessons to share? Send me stuff!

The Luther Magazine is full of good reading. The back page is a calendar of upcoming events and gatherings on campus and throughout the country. Check out the alumni tours planned for 2018: Nordic Choir Companion Tour of Germany, Prague, and the Czech Republic; Crystal Coastal Cruises from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas; and a tour of Sicily and Malta. Call the Alumni Office to learn more about these great travel opportunities.

Amid the changes and transitions of life, we alumni are grounded in our Luther College experience, the values and traditions of our Alma Mater. We are blessed!

I wish you and yours joy and all good things as we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, and as we prepare to transition to a New Year.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Patti McCullough Edwards
1963 Class Agent
[email protected]


Sandra (Sellers) Hanson of Brooklyn, N.Y., received the 2016 Francis Andrew March Award for her work as a teacher and administrator at LaGuardia Community College.


David Teske of Manchester, Iowa, died Feb. 7, 2016, at age 75. After graduating from Manchester High School in 1959, he enrolled at Luther, where he majored in speech and sang in choir. David moved to New York City in 1963, where he served as the morning announcer for classical music station WBAI. Through Hayden’s Planetarium, he produced a radio program, Arm Chair Astronomy, which played twice a week, was broadcast on all Pacifica Stations, and noted weekly in the New York Times. David also worked with CBS in filming the construction of Kodak Pavilion at the World’s Fair. In 1966 he moved to California and worked in Los Angeles as a stagehand delivering scripts to TV and radio programs and movie sets. In San Francisco David produced an astronomy program that was broadcast to the Armed Forces Radio worldwide, and he participated in a number of Renaissance fairs, selling star maps he created. Known as the most-published star mapper on file at the Library of Congress, his maps were described by the National Cartographic Center as the “most accurate and artistic star maps ever.” David created eight different star maps; he knew the names of the 8,602 stars, their origin, number, and constellation. One of his maps, Original Size, was an award winner in a design competition sponsored by the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Navigators, stargazers, planetariums, astronomers, and universities have purchased his maps, and they were used in the movie Star Gate. In 1970 David returned to Manchester and continued to refine his maps and create versions for the blind. He also enjoyed talking on his ham radio, listening to music, and riding his bike. David is survived by his sister, Diane Drake; niece, Carolyn Radda (Steven) and their five children; and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, niece, and nephew.

Joan (Gulsvig) Whiting of Rochester, Minn., died March 23, 2017, at age 76. Born in Sunburg to Esther and Joseph Gulsvig ’31, she graduated from Wanamingo High School before enrolling at Luther. Joan began working fulltime at Mayo Clinic in 1976, spending most of her career in human resources. She retired in 2000 but continued to work on a part time basis until 2009. Joan married David Whiting Sept. 25, 1965, in Wanamingo. She was a member of Zumbro Lutheran Church and its Miriam Circle. Joan and David wintered in Gulf Shores, Ala., and enjoyed traveling, golfing, and visiting their adored grandchildren. She is survived by her husband, David Whiting; two children, Christine Metzke and Chad (Susanne) Whiting; three grandchildren; and sister, Karen (Gulsvig) Johnson ’61. Joan was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Margaret (Gulsvig) Lunde ’64.