Class of 1964 Spring 2019 Letter

Spring 2019

Greetings, Luther College Class of 1964,

It’s that time of year again! Spring is just around the corner, yet winter is stubbornly not quite ready to loosen it’s frosty grip. As if to show that winter still has a little power left, the last couple of weeks have been brutally cold for most of you. And even those classmates who have gone to warmer climes are being reminded of winters chilly breath as Florida and Arizona are recording record low temperatures.

As I recall, the Decorah, Iowa winter of ‘63-64’ set some record low temperatures. If memory serves me correctly (always an uncertain adventure these days), there was a thirty-day stretch when the official high temperatures never made it past zero degrees. In fact the tiny town of Burr Oak, IA, a few miles north of the college was the site of the lowest readings in the USA…TWICE! Can’t say what those were, but can say I remember that when February highs reached twenty degrees, there were a few crazy male students going about their campus business in nothing but t-shirts!

For myself and a few other guys, we spent the semester break that winter at an unheated cabin on Lake Kabekona just outside Walker, Minn. and YES, it was very snowy and cold there, too! So cold that our liquid refreshments of choice (Blatz and Old Milwaukee) froze even inside the cabin! The only place tolerable was an area of about ten feet square around the single pot belly stove. We hung blankets from the open rafters to create a small room around that stove. I’ll let you in on a little secret if you promise not to tell anyone. We slept buddy style to keep ourselves from freezing to death! That austere group of guys included our Student Body Prez, Luther Nervig, Tom Lawrence, Dick Ashland, Jim Matter, Bill Upton, Rich Amundson, and yours truly! Something good came out of that because all these years later, we still try to get together once a year to say howdy and lie to each other!

Our hearty congratulations are in order for classmate, Bob ‘Pony’ Naslund who was recently awarded the prestigious Spirit of Luther Award. Pony and Norse wife, Ann Aaker Naslund, came to Luther in 1960 and 61 and literally never left. In fact, they are still there even after retiring from active duty. Pony assisted the great LC football coach, Edsel Schweizer for a number of years before taking over as head football coach for many seasons following. Pony and Ann have served the Luther College community in many significant ways in the seven decades since their arrival. The Spirit of Luther Award recognizes individuals who have provided significant, sustained service to the college.  Nominees are persons, other than current faculty and staff, who have demonstrated a personal commitment to Luther’s mission, quality and character. The award was given to Pony, but anyone who knows them well, knows that he and Ann are a team in every respect. Congrats Pony and Ann, you two richly deserve to be recognized for your decades of dedication to the athletes, students, coaches, staff, faculty, and friends of LC. You not only uphold the Spirit of Luther, but also have greatly contributed to the model of how that spirit is demonstrated!

We received a thank you note from the most recent recipient of the Class of 1964 Scholarship. Her name is Helen Roets and she is a member of the Class of 2021. Helen is a sophomore dance major with a minor in physical education. She is a member of the Orchesis Dance Team; a member of the Cathedral Choir; a member of Tau Delta Gamma Sorority; and hails from the state of Connecticut. Her family has attended Luther for generations. Her grandfather is Tom Vaaler, Class of ‘63. Many of you know Tom. He distinguished himself in theater arts and music while at Luther. He still performs and participates in alumni music events.

Helen exemplifies the best in candidates for our class scholarship. If you’re not already helping to fund our scholarship, you may well want to restructure your giving to include a donation. It’s a great way for our older generation to have a positive influence on today’s Luther students! It just takes a few minutes to arrange an addition or a modification in your giving account to include the scholarship fund. So, if you’re sensing the motivation, do yourself and a future Luther student a favor by emailing Daina Bond ([email protected]) will be glad you did!  

Has anyone else noticed that’s it’s already been five years since our fabulous fifty-year reunion?

Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but this coming October marks the 55-year Reunion of our 1964 graduation. Homecoming events start on Friday October 4th and continue on through Sunday October 6th. If you are planning to attend and have not already done so, I suggest that you arrange your accommodations as soon as possible as finding a place to sleep in Decorah that weekend will be challenging.

There’s a mini-group of ‘64 grads who gather in Palm Springs, Calif. January thru March. Linda and I visited with them a few days in January. This was a great time to go because the Palm Springs Film Festival was in full swing. These human thespian memes are Emily and Joe Bodensteiner from Rhinelander, Wis.; Wynn and Linda Berven from Durango, Colo.; and a most popular ‘64 class author (Mom, Dad… Can We Talk), Dick and Pat ’63 Edwards. It was a fun few days in the California desert. 

Also, the Class of ‘64 was well represented in the most recent Luther Alumni Magazine. On page 40 is a photo of the remnant of the ‘64 Pi Sigma Omicron Social Society gathered around the Grand Pooh Bah of all the 1964 Social Societies who currently resides in a forest near Naperville, Ill. These die hard Greek Lettered Π Σ Ο men were there at the behest of their Most Esteemed Leader, Ron Dodd, to celebrate 20 years of annual gatherings. All had a grand time, but The Grand Pooh Bah was strangely muted, having not spoken since June 1964!

If you have news to share with your classmates, remembrances or 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! 

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]


Lester “Les” Wilbert Mahaffay of Monona, Wis., died Aug. 3, 2018, age 76.

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

We are pleased to announce Dr. Jenifer K. Ward as the 11th president of Luther College! For more information about President-elect Ward, visit

As you may remember from your Fall 2018 Class Agent letter, Luther has recently completed an extensive brand strategy research process.


As a result of our research and in collaboration with members of the Luther community, we have developed several statements that will guide future communications.

We know that you, our alumni, are often asked about your alma mater. What you say to prospective students and their families about Luther College can have a huge impact on their decisions to visit campus, apply and, hopefully, enroll.

You know Luther well. You matter to us and we’re interested in hearing from you.

We invite you to take a few minutes to preview some of our new statements and share your thoughts. The example statements, as well as a response survey, are available online:

Many thanks!

If you have any questions please email Catherine Dyer, Brand and Marketing Director at [email protected]