Class of 1964 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

Greetings ‘64 Grads,

Hot off the press! The Norse are no longer a member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference! Nor are any of the other eight former members. The nine member IIAC colleges have spent the last two years deciding on a new Conference name and image. This change was made necessary, when for the first time since it was created in 1922, the Iowa schools admitted a non-Iowa college. Nebraska Wesleyan University joined the Conference in 2016. Two years later all nine schools have approved a name change that reflects common characteristics: water, lakes, and rivers. Henceforth all these colleges will compete under its new name “American Rivers Conference”. Here is the new logo:

The new name centers on key geographic features of the birthplaceof IIAC. The Mississippi to the east, perhaps America’s most famous river, and the Missouri to the west, America’s longest river. The new name reflects the Conference’s regional and national reach for recognition not only among athletes and their families, but also among

educators, prospective students, and faith-filled people of all Regions. The dynamic ‘R’ in the logo exudes the power and strength of a flowing river! Yet at the same time for people of faith, an unintended connection I’m sure, is that it is reminiscent of the Rivers of Living Water mentioned in John 7:37-39 and Revelation 22:1.Yes, indeed, God does have a creative nature! Congratulations to the members of the brand new American Rivers Conference, may your vision be achieved!

The 2018-19 Class of ‘64 scholarship has been awarded to another third generation LC student. Hanna Dodd class of 2021 is the granddaughter of Ron and Barb Dodd class of ‘64 and daughter of Leah Dodd and Eric Dodd, both from the class of ‘92. Hanna has distinguished herself as a straight A, Dean’s List student. In addition, she was a member of the 2017 Norse Soccer Team and earned a 2018 Track Letter as a sprinter and relay team member competing for the LC Track team. Congratulations Hanna!

One of our class of ‘64 mates, Dennis Melin, recently received numerous awards related to his military service and life long community service to the City of Tucson and the State of Arizona. Congressman Tom O’Halleran wrote, “Through your service and your continued dedication to our great nation, you have helped make our armed forces the most respected in the world. More importantly, your bravery and sacrifice have kept us safe and protected here at home. Today we pay special tribute to you

for all that you have done. Your commitment to service is admirable and Arizona is a better place because of your dedication and leadership. For your achievements, courage, and dedication we honor you.” Dennis served in the United States Marine Corps. His service has been recognized with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition signed by U.S. Representatives Martha McSally, among others. He was also awarded a Community Service Award, a Medallion of Freedom Honoring Veterans, the LuLac Veterans Meritorious Award and the City of Tucson certificate of Appreciation and Recognition. He had a lifelong career as a Certified Public Accountant and presently serves as the Executive Director of Public Partnership. Any of you wishing to offer congratulations to Dennis may do so at [email protected]

For years, a number of our ‘64 classmates were active in the Weston Noble Alumni Choir. For 10 years this group offered Luther alumni an opportunity to gather during the summer and sing under Weston’s direction. Members of that choir had many wonderful performances and lots of fun preparing for them. Before last summer’s final performance, the group regrettably reached the decision to disband. This opened the door for expansion of the traditional summer LC Dorian Festival to include a new category of singers. Traditionally, the Dorian Festival was limited to students of high school age or below. This past summer’s Dorian Festival expanded to include adults of all ages. Naturally, many of the former Alumni Choir members descended on the LC campus to continue participation in their favorite musical exercise. Several of our ‘64 classmates joined the more than 200 voice Dorian Choral Retreat for a long weekend of preparation, rehearsal, and a concert performance. The performance was billed as Livssang, which is a Norwegian term meaning ‘life singing.’ These included Emily (Homstad) and Joe Bodensteiner, Jim Davis, Judy (Hoplin) Johnson and Paul Tobiason. A number of other Weston Noble Alumni Choir ‘64 regulars were unable to attend this year but plan to next summer. These are Bonnie (Curtis) Behnken, Maddy (Preus) Lawrence and Ann (Fritz) Woelffer (I apologize in advance if I missed anybody!). According to Emily, the 2018 summer Dorian Choral Retreat was a great combination of joy in singing, learning, performance, and FUN! The more than 200 voices included all ages from college-age students to seniors like us and even older! You don’t have to be a LC grad to sing. Just an adult who loves music. Andrew Last ’97, director of the LC Nordic Choir, is the Retreat Director. This past year’s staff also included guest musician Tom Trenney, a Lincoln, Nebraska Organist, Choral Director, and Writer. Emily encourages anyone who loves to sing to come and be part of the 2019 version of Dorian Choral Retreat!

This past March, the 13th Annual Kent Finanger Golf Classic was held here in Goodyear, Arizona. This year’s event was another huge success. 125 golfers and another 75 guests gathered on a near perfect weekend for golf, food, fundraising, and just plain FUN! The guest of honor was LC alum and long-time, now retired, girls’ softball coach, Betty Hoff ’60. Unable to attend in person, she attended electronically via Skype. Jane Hildebrand ’74, Betty’s protege, and retired LC head basketball coach gave the tribute. Nearly $40,000 was raised for Norse Women Athletics! Also honored at the event were several members of 1963 undefeated Football Team. These are the class of ‘64 players who were in attendance:

Co-Captain Dave Chellevold; Co-Captain Denny Ibbottson; Bob Naslund; Bob Thompson; Bob Schroeder; Dick Hemp; Earl Jensen, and Steve Messer. These guys were a part of something very rare.  So rare in fact, that no other Norse football team since then (55 seasons ago) has been able to do it. As part of the weekend celebration, these aging Norsemen, along with their wives, partied at Bob and Diane Thompson’s home in Surprise, AZ. Thanks boyz for making the effort to come and celebrate!

In closing, I feel compelled to mention that these times are very challenging for small American Christian Colleges. There are many diverse pressures aligning to challenge the future of places like Luther College. Not only are there economic pressures, there are also social and cultural pressures. In times like these the support of its alumni is critical to overcoming the challenges. There are many ways to help, but here is one that we all should be able to provide. Praying is not only something we all can do, it also happens to be the best thing for us to do. God’s Word says the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (James 5:16). It also says, we do not have because we do not ask God (James 4:3). I fully believe if we were able to unify even ten percent of Norse alumni to pray similarly and steadfastly the sheer spiritual force created would be heard by God in heaven. Then we could declare the truth of 1 John 5:14-15 knowing that we have what has been prayed...Thanks be to God!

Steve & Linda Messer

1964 Class Agents
15995 W. Mesquite Court
Surprise, AZ 85374-2009
608-393-2206 (Steve); 608-393-9035 (Linda)
[email protected]; [email protected] 

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...Soli Deo Gloria!


Dennis Melin of Tucson, Ariz., is treasurer of American Patriot Memorial’s board of directors. In May, he attended a veterans’ recognition dinner, sponsored by American Patriot Memorial and Knights of Columbus, where he received a total of seven awards and certificates-two medals, each with a Sash, and five on paper.


David Noennig of Lake Elmo, Minn., died July 13, 2018, age 73.

The full obituary of the classmate listed in this letter can be found on the Luther College website at:

If you would like a printout of the obituary listed above in its entirety mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.

A Special Thank You

Each year, our class scholarship provides much-needed funds to one (or more) Luther student(s).  And, many send thank you notes! Please take a look at a note from last year’s recipient(s).  We are making a difference!