Class of 1975 Spring 2017 Letter

Spring 2017

Dear Classmates,

I am now retired. After 36 years of ordained ministry, including the last 15 years at Hope Lutheran Church, I decided it was time to move on to the next chapter in my life.

When I posted the announcement of my retirement on Facebook, a cousin of mine from Omaha commented, “Now, Chris, our mission counselor here in Iowa-Nebraska says there is not the word ‘retirement’ in the Bible. So I suspect God has other plans for you!”

What plans might God have for me? For now, I plan to keep up my volunteer work. This includes going to state prisons to teach mindfulness meditation once a week and serving once a month as the overnight chaplain at a hospital in Madison. I may take cooking classes (Sylvia’s request!) and even piano lessons (something I started at Luther, but dropped in order to study Kierkegaard). I’ll do yoga and read and drink coffee. I’ll go to our cabin near Ely, Minnesota, and visit grandchildren in Baltimore and Seattle. Sylvia says, “I’m not worried about you.”

One of the things I liked about parish ministry was that every week was different. When people would ask me what I did every day, I was always at a bit of a loss, because no day was like any other. I’m hoping retirement will be like that as well—although just staying at home once in a while sounds pretty nice, too!

But it is not mere variety or vacation that I want for retirement—it is vocation. I want to continue living out my life’s purpose in some way. That’s probably the question that was most important to me as a freshman at Luther and the reason I took up philosophy as a major. Does life have meaning? If so, for what purpose am I to live?  

These are questions that Luther is good at. Classes, lectures, and readings provide opportunities to ask, reflect on, and discuss issues of purpose and value. I was very glad to have faculty who were willing to ask these questions with me, to sit with me as I struggled with them. Perhaps that was also true for you. I know it is true for others year after year.

Thanks to those questions and that guidance—along with many other people along the way—I have been able to live out a life of purpose. I intend to continue doing so. I intend to seek living out God’s purpose for me. And I intend to stay in contact with you, Luther friends and classmates!

Thanks for that friendship! Thanks for all you do for Luther and for all you do in your own lives, whether in retirement or in employment!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Chris Lee-Thompson
[email protected]


Laurel (Schletty) Hoff retired as Anoka (Minn.) County’s community health and environmental services director following a 38-year career in nursing and public health. She was awarded the Jim Parker Leadership Award from the Minnesota Department of Health and State Human Health Services Committee. The award, formerly called the Community Health Services Leadership Award, was established to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to community health services at the state and local levels through their commitment and leadership. According to a state health department press release, Hoff was chosen for the award “for her commitment to public health and leadership in improving public health in Minnesota. She is a strong advocate and distinguished leader in the field of public health and is highly regarded by her colleagues as a true public health leader, mentor, and friend.”

Sue (Berger) Oltrogge is manager of administrative services for Deloitte in Minneapolis.


Mary (Hovda) Fluehr of Leland, Mich., and Naples, Fla., died July 29, 2016, at age 63. Born in Volga, S.D., she spent her early years in Madison, S.D. Mary graduated from Thomas Roberts High School in Decorah in 1971 before enrolling at Luther, where she majored in art. She taught art for 12 years in Minnesota and Florida and worked as an IBM sales person for 10 years in Philadelphia. Mary married James Fluehr in 1993 and they became the parents of twin daughters. An accomplished artist who painted beautiful landscapes of Leelanau County, Mich., she also enjoyed playing tennis, singing in the choir at the Leland Methodist church, and taking care of her 17-year-old dog, Abby. Mary loved flowers and gardening but was happiest spending time with her husband and daughters, and watching them participate in running events. She is survived by her husband Jim; daughters, Erika and Kathryn; six siblings, Debby (Michael) Olson, Richard Hovda ’77 (Christine), Craig (Mary Ann) Hovda, David Hovda ’82 (Jayne), Kristin (Peter) Sneed, and Joan Hovda (George Stoffan); aunts and uncles; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

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.

Michael Adams
Anthony Albert
Liza Alton
Kathryn (Scarvie) Anderson
Mark (Underleak) Andrlik
Lois (Swiggum) Appel
Steve Arneson
Melissa (Pratt) Arthur
Ruth Bachman
John Bailey
Ann (Christensen) Beatty
Julie (Wohlrabe) Bengtson
Sandra Berg-Holte
Bonita (Bohning) Bock
Janet Brandt
Karen (Johansen) Brownawell
Jana (Tatman) Bruns
Karen (Gesme) Brunssen
Jerry Buchheit
Charles Bursch
Debra Campbell-Potter
Rebecca (Wieck) Curtis
Thomas Dahle
Jananne (Zellers) Dietrich
Paul Dinger
Donald Dowd
Barbara (Fisher) Eliason
Mark Finholt
Marjorie (Shaulis) Froeschle
Curtis Gilbertson
Bonnie (Willrett) Greenwood
Kim Greenwood
David Halland
Elizabeth Hansing Moon
David Hanson
Linda Harris
Loretta (Wahlman) Hazlett
Dennis Healy
Ann (Mahon) Hedges
Thomas Hellie
Linda (Peterson) Herman
Randi (Brye) Hoffman
Denice Hoggatt
David Hovde
Dennis Hove
Donelly Ike
Naomi Jacobs
Mark Janda
Jay Jeffries
David Johnson
Edward Johnson
Paula (Ekle) Johnson
Terry Johnson
John Jorgensen
Theresa (Ingberg) Klein
Craig Knutson
Michele (Venne) Krause
Richard Lee
Chris Lee-Thompson
Ann Leon
Lynne (Heiler) Liles
Joseph Lindsay
Steven Lovick
Mark Magnuson
Marcia (Christianson) Mahlman
Deborah (Olson) McCann
Kyle (McCausland) McCullough
Kristen (Sterenberg) McKlveen
Richard McKlveen
Thomas Mittman
David Moore
Becky Murray
Jeffrey Nelson
Ramona (Feller) Nelson
Constance (Ringen) Nesseth
Deborah Norland
Barbara (Buhr) Okerson
Renee (Miller) Olson
Michael Osterholm
Gordon Peterson
Connie Plaehn
Kenneth Potter
Jeannine (Johnson) Prince
Ruth (Bruemmer) Procter
Ellen Quandahl
Kim (Schultz) Remien
Judith (Grotegut) Robinson
Carolyn Rod
Sharon (Selander) Rossing
Mark Rugland
Cynthia Running-Johnson
Gerald Saboe
Julie (Miller) Saboe
Aaron Schmidt
Robert Schmidt
Dale Schroeder
Frederick Schultz
Kent Schwitzer
John Sersland
James Shaffer
Jacqui (Paul) Shanda
John Shanda
Beth Anne (Moody) Shields
Carol (Barth) Stoddard
Charles Storla
Paula Stuart
Thomas Thomsen
Deborah (Flage) Timmerman
Deborah (Wold) Trefz
Cary (Shaffer) Tuckey
Diane (Njus) Valade
Ruth (Schemmel) Van Steenwyk
Annie (Schuchmilski) Weilgart
Steven Wettach
James Wiederhoeft
Beth (Hesterman) Wilkins
Mark Wilkins
Linda (Knipp) Williams
Timothy Williamson
Robert Wilson
Jacquelyn Wright
James Wrolstad
Jan (Zinnel) Wrolstad

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].