Class of 1964 Spring 2017 Letter

Spring 2017

Greetings, 1964 Luther College Classmate,

As I am writing these words, one of our classmates, Bill Upton, is riding his bicycle somewhere in the desert of Arizona on a sixty-three day, 3,100 mile journey from San Diego, Calif., to St. Augustine, Fla. This is not the first time ‘Wild-Bill’ has ridden a bike coast to coast. He did it seven years ago starting from Bremerton, Wash., and ending 78 days later in Portland, Maine, so no one can say that he doesn’t know what he is doing…because truth is, he does! I think you’ll have to agree it’s a pretty amazing undertaking for anyone, let alone a 75-year-old Luther College grad. This all started about 15 years ago, when Billy started riding a bicycle as part of a recuperation therapy following a heart attack. You might say that he got addicted to the exercise, and sort of like Forrest Gump did with running, just couldn’t stop! Bill raised hundreds of dollars on his first transcontinental ride for the youth of his hometown of Oregon City, Ore.

This time he is riding to raise money for the Oregon City Optimist Club youth sports activities, including football and wrestling. Some of you may recall that Bill was a LC grappler (for those of you don’t know jock lingo, grappler is another way of saying wrestler) back in the day when coach Foss started building the Norse into the powerhouse program they were and still are today. We had some classmates who were great wrestlers...Lenny Erdahl, Dave Schrieber, Terry Zastrow, Bob Wellner, and Doug Jacobson…those guys were fun to watch and a good excuse not to hit the books! Anyway back to Bill…his wife of fifty years, Ann Upton, is supporting him in this effort by accompanying him and his fellow riders by driving one of the support vehicles and supplying the many logistical duties involved in a ride like this. I understand that many of the nights will be spent in campgrounds sleeping in a tent, so what do you say ladies, is this above and beyond the call for a fifty-year spouse…I think so…way to go, Ann! If you want to follow Bill on Facebook, go to and click on the photo of Uppie (his affectionate nick name at LC) then six more clicks on the forward arrows to see what he has morphed into after all these years. Oh yeah, also on that site is a way to follow and financially support his cause if you’d like to honor him. Linda and I, Ron and Barb Dodd ’67 (snow birdz from Joilet, Ill.), Joe and Buernele Upton (snow birdz from Holman, Wis.) will be with Bill and Ann as they have a rest day here in Mesa, Ariz., next week. It’ll be a mini-mini-class of ‘64 reunion!

The 12th Annual Norse Athletic Association’s Kent Finanger Golf Classic here in Goodyear, Ariz., was held last weekend—120 mostly LC golfers and more than 200 for the dinner banquet—what a successful gathering it was! The money raised will fully fund the purchase of new NIKE game uniforms for the Norse Grid Warriors. Many dignitaries from Norse Land attended—former interim presidents Dick Hemp ’65 and David Tiede were there to support and current president Paula Carlson and husband Tom Schattauer were in attendance. Paula was given the first of the new NIKE uniform jerseys with a #1 on it to secure her position as the #1 fan of Luther College football! I suggested to the athletic director, Renae Hartl, and head football coach, Aaron Hafner, (both also in attendance) that the college permanently retire the #1 in favor of all LC presidents to come, symbolizing their status as #1 fan—haven’t heard if that’s going to fly yet. I remember how much the ‘63 team appreciated the then new president Elwin Farwell’s support as he huddled with the team before and after each and every game, often offering prayers over the players and coaches. Hmmm, I wonder if that had anything to do with that team having the last undefeated football season. I think 55 years without another one is enough, don’t you! Also in attendance were head track coach Jeff Wettach ’79, assistant AD Alex Smith ’03, and of course, many from the LC development staff, including new VP for development Jim Jermier, alumni director Sherry Alcock ’82, and crew. Many of our classmates were there too. Fay Henning-Bryant is a Golf Classic committee member and was very helpful in securing contributions for the new uniforms; Ron and Barb Dodd (Ron also is a committee member), Rich and Babs Amundson, Dennis and Suzanne Birkestrand (Dennis is on the committee for the 2017 Event), Hall of Fame footballer Bob Schroeder, Dick Hemp, Bruce Anderson, and Joe Upton. I’m sure some of you may be getting weary of me writing about this event, but I have to say attending an event like this makes a grad proud of their alma mater! If you can’t come to this one, I hope you can find another one that allows you to feel the joy of what was created nearly 60 years ago and what still carries on all these years later. Amen!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS—Next year’s Finanger Golf Classic will be held Saturday, March 24th. The emphasis of sponsorship will be women’s athletics, as all the money raised will go to women’s sports and the LC team to be honored will be the 1963 undefeated football team, so heads up Ashland, Boyce, Chellevold, Ellingson, Ibbotson, Jensen, Knudson, Lowmiller, Miller, Naslund, Schroeder, and Staffon—get this on your calendar now!

Speaking of football, (yeah I know I’m really pushing your tolerance here) have you already heard about the new artificial BLUE turf football field that will soon grace the Carlson Stadium? Renae Hartl made the official announcement last week at the golf event. Seems as though LC had to get special permission from Boise State University (home of the only blue turf football field in existence) as they, years ago, got a patent for blue football fields. Fortunately, Renae smooth-talked them into allowing the Norse to have only the second one in existence. Way to Go Renae! By the way, it does not come cheap, so any of you out there who would like to help financially, you can freshly contribute or make a pledge.

Just to let you know, we received a thank you letter from Bryce Pierce ’18, this year’s recipient of our class scholarship. He was most grateful for your generosity. As I have stated in these letters before, contributing to the Class of 1964 Scholarship is a great way for us old timers to have direct impact on the life of a future LC grad. If you’re not already giving something to this scholarship fund, you may want to freshly contribute or make a pledge. Just contact the Development Office.

If you have news to share with your classmates—remembrances, gratitudes, or comments you’d like included in future class letters—please email us at [email protected] or better yet call us at 608-393-2206.

Until next time,

Steve and Linda (Ladd) Messer
[email protected]


Emily (Homstad) and Joe Bodensteiner of Rhinelander, Wis., donated their family home in Decorah to the Winneshiek County Historical Society. The Greek revival home at 509 W. Broadway was built in 1860 by Joe’s great-grandparents, and the only occupants have been four generations of the family and Luther faculty renters. The Historical Society is beginning plans for restoration.


Blake Berven of Klamath Falls, Ore., died Sept. 29, 2016, at age 73. Born in La Crosse, Wis., he graduated from Luther with a major in chemistry and the University of Chicago with a medical doctorate. Blake completed his residency at the University of Michigan; after receiving his medical degree, he moved with his family to Klamath Falls, where he was an internist in private practice and later became a well-known specialist in geriatrics and infectious disease. He most recently worked at Sky Lakes Medical Center as a hospitalist, enjoying many teaching opportunities and consultative service. Blake also chaired the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee for Sky Lakes Medical Center, co-directed the Infectious Disease Committee, and served as master of ceremonies for the Annual Infectious Disease Conference. He also took great pride, through the OHSU Education and Research Program, in teaching the next generation of doctors to be kind, compassionate masters of their craft. In addition to caring deeply for the people and community he served for more than 40 years, Blake had a deep love for Klamath Falls and for the beauty of the Basin. He often walked the trails of Moore Mountain with his daughter, Gwen, and her dog, Milo, or zipped across Klamath Lake, his kids flailing behind his boat as they tried out their water skis. Blake was also an avid alpine skier, which meant winter weekends at Mt. Bachelor, teaching his wife and children to ski. Other fun times for Blake were the annual fishing pilgrimages to Brookings, where he and his close friends, many of them local physicians, would take their boats out on the big waves to come back with fresh salmon, and there were many family trips to Harris Beach. He also enjoyed traveling, especially his trips to Hawaii and Australia, and to Philadelphia and Houston, Minn. Christmas was a special time for Blake, as it was his and Nancy’s wedding anniversary, and because he could bring out his model trains and set them up around the tree. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; children: Shawn, Gwen, Mike, Ric, Angie, and Allen; nine grandchildren; three honorary grandchildren; mother, Fran; siblings, Pam and Wynn; former spouse, Marilyn Pile; mother-in-law, Edna Hunnicutt; and numerous nephews and nieces.

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.

Dawn (Asp) Aarsvold
Richard Amundson
Magnhild (Ostensen) Andersen
Marvin Andersen
Bruce Anderson
Richard Ashland
Eleanor (Roe) Ault
Karen (Wardell) Austad
Sandra (Edgren) Ayers
Bonnie (Curtis) Behnken
Dennis Birkestrand
Susan (Maclay) Blackman
Emily (Homstad) Bodensteiner
Joseph Bodensteiner
Roxann (Berg) Bonde
James Boyce
Jessie Butts
Lester Caltvedt
David Chellevold
Kathrine (Droen) Clauson
Gary Conn
Jerald Dahlen
James Davis
Marilyn (Utke) DeWitt
Ronald Dodd
Richard Edwards
Jane (Pfister) Ellickson
Karen (Johnson) Engelhardt
Carole (Leistikow) Evenrud
Allan Ewert
Carol (Steensgard) Fell
Sandra (Smith) Flugstad
James Fogdall
D. Jonathan Forde
Jerilyn (Westgor) Forde
Elaine (Miller) Fretheim
Emory Fretheim
Carol (Hedstrom) Gissing
Rolfe Gjellstad
Ruth (Magelssen) Green
Karen (Woinowsky) Griffin
Elsa Groe
Leah (Johnson) Grove
Margaret Hanson
Kay (Vogelsang) Harmon
David Haugen
Richard Hemp
Fay Henning-Bryant
Thomas Henzler
Nordis Heyerdahl
Darrel Highum
David Hilton
Rosemary (Sande) Hilton
Norman Hjelmeland
Karen (Mahlke) Holtz
Marguerite (Agena) Horn
Dennis Ibbotson
Douglas Jacobson
Gloria (Flugstad) Jacobson
Janet (Folvag) Jordan
Norlie Knudson
Thomas Knutson
Paul Krause
David Kundert
Lynn Kvalness
Madelyn (Preus) Lawrence
Thomas Lawrence
Richard Luedtke
Lester Mahaffay
VaLois (Ellingson) Mandsager
Dianne (Lenth) Marston
Ann (Carlson) McAlpin
Dennis Melin
Barbara (Berven) Miller
David Miller
Bjorn Monson
Dale Mundahl
Kathryn (Hardy) Mundt
Carolyn Nasheim
Luther Nervig
Robert Niedringhaus
Joan (Gunther) Niemiec
Eloise (Mosbo) Obman
Gerald Ode
Duane Osheim
Martha (Hovde) Paulson Bergsrud
Sybil (Brown) Pavey
Janiece Piltingsrud
Brian Rainer
Maureen (Rude) Ramsett
Gary Richardson
David Rowe
†Karen (Hess) Saxvik
Karen (Stensrud) Schiotz
David Siefken
Linda Storlie
Robert Strube
Rodney Thorland
Douglas Tolman
Richard Ulland
William Upton
Laurence Urevig
Donna (Wangsness) Weigle
John Welch
Lyle Welch
Marlene (Natvig) Wellner
Robert Wellner
Ann (Fritz) Woelffer
Elizabeth (Fulmer) Zetah

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)