Class of 1980 Spring 2017 Letter

Spring 2017


With spring on my mind, I (Barbara) hope everyone here in the Midwest has enjoyed our unusually warm winter, and for everyone around the country, I hope you have adapted to our ever-changing climatic environment.

Change is the constant in life. We welcomed a daughter-in-law into our family in September…change. Then we were asked to leave the parsonage we had been renting for eight years, as the pastor of the church we lived next to was called to another parish…change. I did not want to move because I loved the place I had made my home…change. With nowhere to rent with the parameters that I needed, I ended up buying a home in Viroqua, Wisconsin, where my mother still lives…change. This has turned out to be a wonderful change, being able to be so close by family. With the end of another school year upon us, the students of Luther will be faced with many new changes, some unexpected, some welcomed and wonderful…change.

The one thing that is a constant is the Luther class agent spring and fall letters, and what do we look for in them…change. Most importantly news of what has changed at Luther—the passing of Weston Noble ’43 this year Wendy (Hillesland) Coe died Dec. 25, 2016…change. We look for the news of our classmates, several have passed on as Weston, some have moved, like me, and perhaps others have found new employment or retirement, whatever the case may be. Perhaps others have expanded their families with grandchildren.

As life keeps changing, I am glad to know that Luther is still an excellent liberal arts college that continues to change for the better. This change is only possible because of you. I, myself, am thankful for Phonathon that the Luther students do each year. In our busy lives of ever-changing responsibilities, I am thankful to be reminded to remember our alma mater. I am grateful for any and all contributions each of us makes to uphold our part in ensuring Luther College continues to exist.

On that note, I wish you all the beauties of the upcoming spring season—may your summer travels be safe and blessed, and may you embrace the ever-changing changes that life presents.

From Kris:

Who makes up your community? The people who represent your value system often are a part of your community. Family enters into the nucleus of community that is the center of your existence. The description of family has a variety of connotations, yet love is the center. What about the past? The things that influenced you to become the person you are today reflect your values. Where does Luther College fit in? How do you identify with the family and community of Luther? When you receive the information on guest speakers, receptions in your region, concerts, tours, or receptions of the representative music ensembles, or perhaps create your own get together with friends, this is your opportunity to be a part of the Luther family. How do you plan to contribute to the community that includes this legacy of Luther College?  

With each year, change occurs around us. The passing of Weston Noble is one thing that has affected many of us this past fall. How did he have such an impact on Luther? What did he do to create the magic inside the Nordic Choir, and the greater community including far corners around the globe? The answer lies in the character that he reflected both on campus and everywhere else he traveled. His influence is felt throughout the musical community, as he was committed to excellence. This energy inspired students to do their best on a daily basis. Weston’s remarkable commitment to Luther resulted in alumni events on campus annually where we searched around campus for him just to share his humble spirit. Weston Noble exemplifies the community, family, and spirit of Luther. My life is richer with this relationship of knowing Weston Noble. I am thankful that Luther College allowed him to serve not only as a professor of music, but supported his worldwide influence in a variety of ways. The Luther community will celebrate his life on Saturday, May 13, at the Center for Faith and Life, Main Hall.

The new choir director, Andrew Last ’97, is a great choice to carry on the legacy of Weston as the new conductor of the Nordic Choir. Andrew has served as conductor of Collegiate Chorale and Norsemen in recent years and knows the importance of music to Luther.

Spring at Luther was magical. Did you fall in love? Were there times that included long walks in the park? What do you remember about your time at Luther in the spring? Your community of peers, teachers, Decorah folks, and your friends were most likely celebrated with the freshness of spring in a variety of ways. As we see the buds on the trees, plan our summer vacations, and look for the break to renew, think of Luther and remember the gifts you have received. Giving back is a great way to celebrate not only your generosity, but give thanks for the educational experiences that helped shape you to the adult you have become.
Have a great spring and remember to celebrate Luther in any way possible. Make giving a regular part of your personal mission and philanthropy. Every dollar makes a difference in the lives of students at Luther.
Until we meet again in the fall.

Your class agents,

Barb (Forde) Linnell        and           Kris (Skoglund) Tjornehoj
[email protected]                        [email protected]    


Debi (Effertz) Burns teaches music at Perry Township Schools in Indianapolis.


Wendy (Hillesland) Coe of Madison, Wis., died Dec. 25, 2016, at age 59, after a recurrence of breast cancer. Born in Rochester, Minn., to Jean and Lavern Hillesland ’49, she graduated from Stewartville High School in 1976 before enrolling at Luther, where she majored in English and management. While at Luther, Wendy fell in love with a classmate, David Coe, and five months after their Luther graduations they were married, on Oct. 18, 1980. Wendy held a variety of positions in not-for-profit organizations, including the Wisconsin PGA, North Central College, Meriter Foundation, and the Madison Community Foundation, before joining the Rees Group, Inc., in January 2005. She served as executive director for the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) and received Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and Certified Association Executive (CAE) fundraising professional credentials. Wendy was actively involved at Bethel Lutheran Church, singing in the Bethel Women's Choir and completing a term on Church Council, and had been serving as president of the Bethel Foundation. She had also served as a member of Luther’s Alumni Council for 10 years and as class agent for 12 years, and for the Madison East Band Parent Association, Leadership Greater Madison, and Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), as past president. A voracious reader, Wendy also enjoyed sewing, knitting, and gardening, and was a talented quilter. She loved her home, being part of a close neighborhood, and spending time with family. Together with David, Wendy enjoyed traveling to favorite destinations, including Scotland; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and New York City. They had recently traveled to San Francisco by train with their son, Robbie, and his fiancée, Amber. Wendy is survived by her husband, David Coe ’80; son, Robbie Coe ’09 (Amber Svoboda); parents, Jean and Lavern Hillesland ’49; sister, Betsy (Jerry) Busch; nephew, Zach Busch ’09; nieces; father-in-law, Robert Coe; sister-in-law; and many dear friends. She was preceded in death by her mother-in-law, Barbara Coe. Memorials may be sent to Luther College.

The Annual Fund – make your gift today:
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.

Priscilla (Monson) Abraham
Linn Adams
Thomas Adams
Janelle (Jahn) Albee
Amy Alton-Stonebrook
Valerie Anderson-Jones
Karen Angell
Pamela (Skare) Baier
Diane (Fure) Bazey
Cynthia (Taylor) Benson
Christopher Berg
Carol (Clauson) Bergan
Beth (Eide) Bird
Connie Biwer Yaqub
Jeffrey Boeke
Fay (Rasmussen) Bohn
Daniel Boos
David Brandt
Keith Bruening
Timothy Bungum
Dennis Bushkofsky
Lisa (Simonson) Cash
Keith Christensen
Diane (Ridder) Clemmer
David Coe
†Wendy (Hillesland) Coe
Yvonne Collie Pendleton
Kristine (Jacobson) Davison
David Devlin
Sara (Reek) DiCecco
Rodney Dir
Loretta Dooley Wetzel
Jeffrey Dotseth
Carole Engelhart Sand
Judson Fisher
Susan (Hansen) Fogelson
Jean (Holdefer) Forti
Erick Gandrud
Margaret (McCormick) Gardon
Sonya (Offerdahl) Gindorff
Hugh Hadlund
Sandra (Chapman) Hanley
Mary (Christianson) Hansen
Ellen (Wait) Hansing
Scott Hanson
Raymond Harney
Mary (Smith) Harris
Alan Hecht
Charis (Johnson) Hovden
Terry Hovden
Daniel Johnson
Lisa (Saboe) Johnson
Scott Johnson
Brian Jorgensen
Dan Kilen
David Kittleson
David Kust
James LaBelle
Mark Lamb
Christine (Lee) Levesque
James Lillibridge
Barbara (Forde) Linnell
Lorri Lobeck
Ruth (Vaaler) Logar
Janis (Miller) Lovell
Barbara (Perry) Lutz
Maureen (St. Martin) McElroy
Esther Menn
Barbara (Hodge) Miller
Anne (Koch) Minske
Wayne Minske
Douglas Moard
Sherrill (Pretz) Moard
Lucia Moburg
Diane (Wood) Morris
Russell Morris
Catherine (Barton) Mullen
Kathleen (McComb) Munks
William Musser
Susan (Schroeder) Nesheim
Gladys Noll Alvarez
Russell Norman
Shauna (Anderson) Novak
Christi (Munson) Nowland
Naomi Nowland
Lisa (Engelhart) O'Brien
Laura Olson
Elizabeth Opat-Wiger
Gregory Orwoll
Timothy Overlund
Kurt Peterson
Stephen Preus
Jeffrey Ripperton
Barbara (Bruemmer) Saiz
Kirsten Scarseth
Lauretta (Ike) Scherf
Darrell Schmidt
Curt Schroeder
Mark Schroeder
Timothy Schweizer
Katherine (Thronson) Seitz
Julie Serra Lund
Arne Sorenson
William St. Angelo
Lori (Van Gerpen) Stanley
Marguerite (Cochrane) Stevens
Kristin Swanson
Susan (Langlas) Syvertson
Jonathan Temte
Kristin (Skoglund) Tjornehoj
Peter Traeger
Joseph Whitters
David Wilke
Mark Williams
James Wold

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]. (†deceased)