Class of 1967 Fall 2016 Letter

Fall 2016

Hello, Luther ’67 Classmates!

He stood with his two frail hands on his cane and his eyes closed, and breathed in deeply the scent of the past. “Sometimes," he sighed, "I think the things I remember are more real than the things I see.”Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

To reminisce with my old friends, a chance to share some memories, and play our songs again. ― Ricky Nelson

I’m still smiling and thinking about the ’60s. I’m writing this the day after meeting with a group of our ’67 classmates who gathered at Luther to plan our 50-year reunion coming next October. Several other classmates on the committee joined us remotely via webinar or phone conference for part of the session.

Three years ago, the Luther College Development Office initiated a Reunion Launch Summit to help class committees in planning celebrations for the 10-, 25-, 35-, 40-, and 50-year milestones, to make those gatherings as meaningful and fulfilling as possible. The five reunion classes met together for briefings concerning the condition of the college, reaching out to classmates, and lunch, and then met as classes to make some decisions and do some basic organizing for the event.

To facilitate the session, the Luther staff member assigned to work specifically with our reunion committee over the next year gave us a tough task to help her understand our class: she asked us to reminisce! And reminisce we did! As she requested, Jo, Eileen, John, Carol, Tim, and I thought back about the most significant memories we had of our time at Luther, what our view of the state of the world was at the time, and what Luther student life was like in the ’60s. 

Truthfully, the reminiscing had begun as the coffee cups were being filled when we arrived, and continued through the day, with stories flowing about Weston Noble, Edsel Schweitzer, the Larson Hall “fishbowl,” and many others, with each memory triggering others: stories of WWII-era Quonset huts used for music lessons and practice, and according to one classmate, also used for cold weather make-out sessions; a reverse panty raid conducted in Ylvisaker Hall by a group of “nuns”; the Rakeop bus, and the bologna, cheese, and lettuce sandwiches they would sell in the dorms; and the smell of decaying oak leaves on a brisk autumn morning walk across campus.

Part of the reunion plan is to contact every member of the Class of 1967. If things have gone according to that plan, you should have received a save-the-date mailer in October, and a personal contact later from a committee member with reunion updates, and encouraging you to plan a return to campus October 6-8 during Homecoming 2017.

I hope you were able to respond in the positive and can make arrangements to be here. If you have not been back in a while, or ever, you will be most surprised at the changes, and surprised that much of what you remember is still there—friendliness, commitment to excellence, and stunning beauty of the campus. 

As an aid to the committee, please take a look through any personal photos or artifacts that you might be willing to share from our time at Luther. We would like to gather photographs or copies of those items to use in a short slideshow documenting those years. A future communication will provide info on that project.

Luther needs your help, too! Like almost all private institutions of higher learning, the college is facing a new threat in the modern era. States around the country are deceasing their funding of public colleges and universities, and, in response, those institutions are actively becoming formidable competitors for students. 

Although public colleges generally cost less, we think the Luther experience provides a better preparation for life outside college by building a sense of vocation in a curriculum that develops the whole person toward a life of service and faith.

Please do what you can to support the mission of Luther College with donations, bequests, and planned giving. Every contribution, no matter the size, is important in keeping Luther strong.  

In addition to your dollars, an additional way to support Luther is to encourage youth in your family, church, or circle of acquaintances to give Luther a good look for their undergraduate education. We know they will like what they see!

To stay up-to-date on our college, check out, and “like” the Luther Class of ’67 Facebook page to get reconnected with classmates.

Best wishes! And I hope to see you all in October!

Art Johnson
1967 Class Agent
[email protected]

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

Each year more than 10,000 alumni, parents, and friends support the Annual Fund with gifts from $5 to $100,000.  Strong support from alumni helps Luther secure additional funds from foundations and corporations, and your gift each year helps us to reach our goal of 27% alumni giving.  Here’s how your class is doing so far this year:

CLASS OF 1967 TOTAL GIVING: $40,837.40 FROM 19.37% OF THE CLASS*

Have you made your 2016 gift to Luther?  Only 20 more gifts are needed to reach 27% for your class.  Please visit to make your gift today.  Thank you!

Please note: Your Spring 2017 class agent letter will include a listing of your classmates who gave to Luther during 2016.  Be sure to make your gift before December 31 to be included.

*as of October 19, 2016

Class Notes

Rosanne Bliss of Minneapolis recently compiled a PowerPoint presentation consisting of vintage postcards and photos of her maternal grandmother’s first twenty years in America after emigrating from Hedmark, Norway, in 1905.

Terry (Thiele) Rasmussen of Fort Collins, Colo., has completed half marathons in 30 states in the past six years. She hopes to run half marathons in all 50 states, before turning 75 in 2021. She has also run in Washington, D.C., and did one international race in Cancun, Mexico. 


Doug Blair of Palatine, Ill., formerly of Decorah, died July 4, 2016, at age 70. Born in Chicago, he grew up on a farm and graduated from Decorah High School in 1963 before enrolling at Luther, where he majored in psychology. Doug married Jane Holthaus July 1, 1967, at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Decorah. He received a master’s degree in psychology in 1971 from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. Doug’s work focused on transferring Air Force Technology to the commercial sector; he retired from civil service in the Air Force in 2004. Doug enjoyed woodworking, hunting, archery, collecting guns, and watching NASCAR, and, while living in Miamisburg, Ohio, he attended Bible study classes. Doug cherished the time he spent with his children and grandchildren. He is survived by his two daughters, Jennifer Blair and Katie (Mike) McConnell; four grandchildren; brothers- and sisters-in-law: Willard (Mary Ellen) Holthaus, Inez (Dan) Schmitt, Judy (Norbert) Bullerman, Dave Holthaus, Connie Sande, Max (Karl) Klotzbach, Elaine Holthaus, Lorraine Holthaus, and Sue Holthaus; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Doug was preceded in death by his wife, Jane Holthaus Blair, Sept. 6, 2010; son, Philip Blair, August 1, 2012; uncles and aunts; father- and mother-in-law; sister-in-law, Pat Seiler; and three brothers-in-law, Ken Holthaus, Ron Holthaus, and Adrian Holthaus.

John Hagberg of Carrollton, Texas, died Dec. 16, 2015, at age 72. After graduating from Luther with a biology major, he attended the School of Physical Therapy at the University of Iowa. John retired from work as a physical therapist at Harris Hospital in Newport, Ark. He is survived by his wife, Nancy (Chapman) Hagberg ’66.

Art Johnson