Class of 1979 Fall 2018 Letter

Fall 2018

To the members of the Class of 1979,

Grace and peace to you as we begin another academic year at Luther. We recently took our eldest for his third year. My car is now making so many trips to Luther that I joke that I have a button that says “Luther” and the car drives itself.

Luther hosted a very successful Dorian Choral Retreat this summer to which I took my wife. I reconnected with at least six other classmates for a few minutes. This took place a few weeks after President Carlson announced her intent to retire at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. As a Luther parent and Luther alumnus and now as the class agent, I am watching with great interest as the Regents take steps to secure the future for our college. Perhaps one of you will be tapped to be its next leader!

Homecoming is later than usual this year. October 26-28 are the dates during which the 50th anniversary of the Black Student Union will be celebrated along with the 40th anniversary of the Department of Nursing. And speaking of 40th anniversaries, we will be a year away from our own 40th. If you’d like to be a part of the reunion planning committee, email [email protected]. I have been on the planning committee for the last five of my high school reunions and can tell you that I get more out of them because of the preparations I do for the reunions. Now I get to work on reunions back to back (Luther 40th in 2019 and OHS 45th in 2020).

As a 2019 special anniversary class (it’s our Ruby Anniversary!), we will continue to have an impact on the college with a special giving opportunity. If you have fallen away from making an annual gift to the college, 2019 will be a chance to give a thank you gift to the college so other young people may come to experience a solid education. I know that our family is a beneficiary of gifts from others in Legacy and other scholarships that make the $50,000+ price tag of Luther affordable for our family. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done to help my son. Six weeks into his first year, he said that Luther had been the right decision!

Over the years, I have reflected on the good and the bad of my Luther experience. The good is still the stronger memory. As in our Alma Mater song, I now find that I do “sincerely yearn to return to Thee someday.” Oh, not in a permanent way; I like the life I now lead. But it is in a more spiritual, inspirational way. Rather than re-reading Giants in the Earth, I am reading the sequels Peder Seier and Their Father’s God, which have both long been on my reading list. I enjoy choir, band, and orchestra concerts when they are in my area. I make good use of my “Exposition” class with my periodic newspaper columns.

Luther continues to reach out to me and I do return at age 61. Luther still is a draw for me. Thank you to all the predecessor class agents for your years of service. Each classmate has a valuable story to share about what you have done with your life. I find them motivational as I hear them. You may write to me or tell the college what interesting things you have done and are doing. That’s what makes the class letter interesting.

In service,

Richard Tiegs
1979 Class Agent
5 Chad Court
Coralville, IA 52241
[email protected]


Steve Corson is co-owner of Kaiser-Corson Funeral Homes, Inc. of Waverly, Iowa. He was recently named a member of the Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community board of directors. 

Mary (Bunge) Docken of St. Paul, Minn., is vice president, outreach for Intellispark, an education technology company based in Va.

Phil Finanger retired after 35 years of teaching and coaching at Edina High School. He has been a member of the “chain gang” for the Minnesota Vikings in the National Football League for the past 23 years. His ten person crew gets front row seats at games played at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as they carry the stakes marking first downs, recording penalties, and signaling commercial breaks for games, and this year the group got to work the Super Bowl. 

Dayton Henderson of Kimberly, Wis., is retired.

Paul Jentz is senior recruiter of nurses and nurse supervisors for Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. He received the Caldwell Award for Dedication and Excellence from the Human Rights Campaign.

Ron Meddock of Phoenix, Ariz., is vice president of global client services at EWI Worldwide.

Barbara (Vaske) Norland is director of development and communications at YWCA of Greater Miami-Dade, Inc. In March, she was awarded the AXA Advisors Businesswomen of the Year Award for Outstanding Philanthropy from AXA Advisors and the Coral Gables Chamber.

Kim Wall is president of Baensch Food Products. She and her business were featured in an article, “Made in Milwaukee: Ma Baensch Herring.” Ma Baensch was founded in 1932 and Wall bought the company in 1999. Since then, Wall has implemented numerous changes to the label. She removed the apostrophe from "Ma Baensch's" (the label now reads "Ma Baensch") and swapped out a picture of Ma that Wall felt made her look mean for a friendlier-looking portrait. In recent years, Wall removed the photo of Ma altogether and replaced it with "kissing" lips, which reflects the tagline "kiss of health since 1932." "Those are actually my lips on the label," says Wall. Despite all the changes to the label, Wall kept the Baensch recipe exactly as Ma originally created it. The herring is available in two sizes, 12- or 24-ounce jars, and in two styles: marinated in wine sauce and onions or sour cream and chive.



LESLIE HUBBARD and Greg Corwin, Jan. 13, 2018



Gary Mark Cornelious of Ames, Iowa, died June 28, 2018, age 61.

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.