Class of 1968 Fall 2017 Letter

Fall 2017

Dear Luther Classmate of 1968,

Last weekend, Joan and I had the privilege of attending a meeting at Luther in preparation for Homecoming 2018, our 50th anniversary reunion! It was great to see so many friends there who will be making up our reunion committee. The committee is made up of twenty-nine classmates who will be developing plans for what is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. You will be hearing more from all of the committees with plans, updates, ideas, in the coming months. But first of all, mark your calendars now and plan to attend. Our Golden Anniversary Reunion is scheduled for October 26-28, 2018. A few of the activities will include

Friday, October 26, 2018

·         Reception, 2:00 pm

·         Alumni dinner and presentation of the Distinguished Service Awards and class gift, 6:30 pm

Saturday, October 27, 2018

·         Homecoming parade, 10:00 am

·         Class picture, 11:00 am

·         Class reunion luncheon, 11:30 am

·         Class reunion reception (5:30) and dinner (6:30)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

·         10:00 am Festival Eucharist – Main Hall, Center for Faith and Life

·         1:30 pm Homecoming Concert – Main Hall, Center for Faith and Life

These times are tentative at this time, but will be confirmed soon. PLAN NOW TO ATTEND! 

I want to urge you to be thinking about several things you can do now to help plan for the big celebration. A reunion booklet will be published which will contain news and photos from all of you. Share your story with your classmates, and tell us what you have been doing, where you are living, and what Luther has meant to you in your life and career. Your pics and copy may be sent to Annette Laitinen ’93 at [email protected]. Need a place to stay? Housing information is available at I can tell you from personal experience that hotels are filled, or are filling quickly. Don’t forget about housing possibilities in homes of Decorah residences. We have done that in the past and it was a great experience. I know that reunions can be a little scary for us all. Will I know anyone, recognize anyone, or meet anyone who knows me? Does anyone really care what I’ve been doing for the past 50 years? And so forth… Well, I assure you; we DO care, we ARE interested in you, and SO want to get together with you to share memories and catch up. So PLEASE make your plans now to come back to Luther for our 50-Year Anniversary Reunion.

Ok, on to other news… Did you know that our class has 371 living classmates including those with BAs AND those who have stayed connected with Luther? Did you know that our class lifetime giving is a grand total of $3,408,356.39? Did you know that 88.4 percent of our class members have made one or more gifts since graduation? Did you know that 45 percent of our class members have made one or more gifts since 2012? Our class ranks #9 in the top ten of total gifts to the Luther Fund (previously known as the Annual Fund). Our class ranks #4 in the top ten of Numbers of Donors to the Luther Fund.

At our Homecoming Planning Committee meeting, we offered the alumni staff some background as to what Luther was like when we were there. Since these people are SO young, times may have changed a bit since our time at Luther.  Do you remember: beanies, greased poles, women’s hours, smokers, pledge week, Marty’s, Ylvisaker Hall under construction, the new Fieldhouse, the first tower dorm, chapel time, Mabe’s Pizza, Preus Library, and more? We also remembered the political and social tensions of Vietnam and civil rights unrest. The times were changing, and we were all changing and growing with the times. What have the past 50 years done to us, to Luther, and to our country?

One last item for you: If you go to, you may browse digitally archived copies of the following Luther publications:

·         The College Chips, the school newspaper (1884-2015)

·         The Pioneer, the annual yearbook (1911-2015)

·         The Agora, the faculty journal (1998-2015)

Well, I see that I’m nearing the bottom of my second page, so it’s time to close out this letter to you. Please know that I always enjoy sharing Luther news with you. We have lived through many highs and lows together. We have shared happiness as well as disappointments. It’s time now to “bring it in.” Let’s get together, what do you say? Make plans now, don’t put it off. Our committee will be contacting you. If you have questions or comments, as always, let me know.

Until then,

Soli Deo Gloria

Len Bruce
1968 Class Agent
[email protected]


Laura (Blackmore) Bachman is an editor for Frederick Thomas USA, Inc., from her home in Burlington, Wis.

Dave Hagemeier of Sioux Falls, S.D., is retired.

David Hanford of Columbia, S.C. is a life coach and a church mission consultant.

Bill Pettit is provost at Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Center for Health Sciences, senior associate dean of OSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, associate dean of the Department of Rural Health, and a professor in the Department of Family Medicine. In April 2017 he received the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association Doctor of the Year Award.

Alex Rowell of Eden Prairie, Minn., is retired. He is chairman of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, serves on the executive committee of the Minnesota Twins Community Fund, and is chair of the program committee for Minnesota Youth Athletic Services. He was invited to join the 2019 NCAA Final Four Advisory council.

Robert Sathe is chairman of MCF Advisors, LLC., in Covington, Ky.


Barbara (Bauman) Finger of Janesville, Wis., died March 10, 2017, at age 70. Born in Colorado Springs, Colo., she graduated from Lancaster (Wis.) High School before enrolling at Luther, where she majored in sociology. Barbara married Thomas Finger on August 26, 1972, in Lancaster. She worked for more than 38 years as a social worker for Rock County Human Services, mainly in foster care, until her retirement. An active member of Rock Prairie United Presbyterian Church, Barbara had been a longtime member of Zonta Club and had been active in Girl Scouts, serving as a troop leader and board member. She also served many years as board president for the Janesville Community Day Care Center. Barbara loved antiquing, and she and Tom enjoyed their trips to Mexico, Caribbean cruises, and, in past years, spending much of the winter in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla. Barbara is survived by her husband, Tom; three siblings: Kenneth (Gail) Bauman, Jr., Jody (Octavio) Portu, and Kim (Bob) Elliott; sister-in-law, Penny (Paul) Hendrickson; several nieces and nephews; grandnieces and nephews; and many friends.

Thomas Van Horn of Lafayette, Ind., and Louisville, Ky., died Sept. 12, 2015, at age 70. Born in Marshalltown, Iowa, he majored in biology at Luther and received a master’s degree in economics from Penn State University in 1972, and a doctorate in soils and land use from Purdue University in 1985. Tom married Deborah Hedrick in 1978, and they later divorced. For more than 20 years he worked as a city planner for the City of Lafayette and also served as Boy Scout troop leader, chauffeur for his children’s soccer and gymnastics practices, and amateur architect. Tom retired in 2010 but was always quick to volunteer for city events and his children's activities, including Dancing in the Streets, A Taste of Tippecanoe, and the Jefferson High School Haunted Mansion. He spent his retirement years studying history, researching his family's genealogy, and drawing various versions of his dream house. Tom had recently moved from Lafayette to Louisville to be closer to his daughter, Erin. He was a member of Faith Presbyterian Church in West Lafayette for more than 30 years, where he served as an elder, sang with the choir, and played in the hand bell choir. Tom is survived by his son, Kyle Van Horn (Kim Bentley), and daughter, Erin Van Horn. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Marcia Van Horn.

Thomas Tuttle of Alameda, Calif., died April 7, 2017, at age 73. Born in Charles City, Iowa, he enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating from Clear Lake High School in 1961. Following his honorable discharge from the Army, Tom attended the University of Iowa, then enrolled at Luther, where he majored in political science and sociology. He continued his studies at Vanderbilt University and Iowa State University, receiving two master’s degrees. Tom had an award-winning career in journalism as a sports and news writer, editor, columnist, and editorial director working at newspapers in Iowa, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and California. He was proud to have recently served on the Alameda County grand jury for a year and enjoyed reading, writing, music, sports, and daily walks with his dachshunds. Tom is survived by his wife, Mary Jacobs Tuttle; daughter, Denise Tuttle O’Donnell (Kevin); grandson; three brothers: Gary (Lara) Engebretson, Robert (Sarah) Engebretson, and Dennis Engebretson; two brothers- and sisters-in-law: Nancy Wonder (Rob) and John Jacobs (Patty); and many nieces, nephews, and extended family.