Class of 1960 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Classmate,  

October 9-11, 2020: Please mark your calendars so you can join us in celebrating our 60-year Class Reunion at Homecoming 2020. Yes, it has been that long and getting together to share our lives and memories will be a wonderful time. 

Classmate memory: Most of us have either moved on or are soon to move on from our 80th birthday.  Jerry Buerer shares the following experience he had a couple weeks after his big day of turning 80 last year. On February 27, he went to a local clinic to have a hearing test. When the receptionist pulled up his account on the computer, she said, "Oh, I see you had a big birthday earlier this month. Happy Birthday!" Jerry responded with "Thank you" and said, "I may be eighty and the old body may be showing a bit of wear and tear, but thankfully my mind is still sharp as ever. For instance, I not only know and can use the word 'octogenarian' but I can even spell it!" She chuckled and then said, "I'll see if the doctor can see you now. Since you're early, there might be a problem." Jerry replied "Early? "I thought I was right on time. My appointment is scheduled for 12:30, right?" "Well, yes," she replied, "but it's actually for MARCH 27th, not February 27th." We all have had and will continue to have experiences similar to Jerry's but at our age, we can laugh about them and not be as embarrassed as we might have been in our earlier years. Getting older does have its blessings!

A new beginning: It promises to be an exciting year for Luther. In November, the college inaugurated its eleventh president, Dr. Jenifer K. Ward. President Ward joins the Luther community with more than three decades of experience as an educator, scholar, and academic leader after serving, most recently, as provost and dean of the college at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Prior to joining Centenary, President Ward served in several leadership roles at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, including dean of the college, interim provost, and associate provost. She was also a faculty member at Gustavus Adolphus College, where she taught German. 

In a message to the Luther community, President Ward said, “Our work together must be strategic, collaborative, creative, and—most importantly—must articulate what it means to be both grounded in Decorah, Iowa, with a face to the world, and set goals for how we can adapt Luther’s past and present for a sustainable future.” 

A self-described extrovert and lover of art, film, and literature, President Ward started her duties at Luther July 1 and her official inauguration took place November 1–3.

Learn more about President Ward—including her thoughts on food, art, Twitter, Decorah, and higher ed—on Luther’s YouTube channel (, then search “Luther College President Ward”) or in the fall issue of the Luther Magazine:

Also, while you’re at it, use this checklist to up your Luther social media game:

❏    Follow Luther College on Twitter: @LutherCollege

❏    Follow Luther College on Instagram: @LutherCollege

❏    Follow the Luther College Alumni Facebook page:

And, finally, keep in mind that Christmas at Luther takes place December 5–8. This year’s theme is Whom Angels Greet with Anthems Sweet. Luther would be happy to see you there!

Classmate memory: As we think back on our days at Luther, we realize the many ways that Luther changed and expanded our lives. For me, its impact continues to this day. That certainly can be said for classmate Rosalyn (Haugen) Rulifson who shares the following story. "Where would you go to celebrate your 57th wedding anniversary? My husband and I decided to take a sentimental trip back to Luther where it all began in June 1960. I was working for Weston Noble that summer when one of my assignments was to take inventory of all the pianos on campus. When checking out pianos in Olson Hall, my instructions were to make sure that I had one of the residents with me when I went to Rec Room. Remember, women were not allowed to freely roam a men's dorm then. Four fellas were studying in the lounge. I stated my mission and one guy volunteered to help me. Little did I know that I was meeting my future husband. We dated that summer and married in 1962 at Decorah Lutheran Church. Divine intervention for sure." Rosalyn and Dennis continue to enjoy their lives together in Raleigh, North Carolina.

​Supporting Luther: Thanks to all of you who continue to support Luther with your prayers and resources. Luther provided us with a strong foundation for our life journeys and we can provide that same support to the students and college now. 

​Best wishes: As we all grow older with some increased challenges, may you be surrounded by those who can provide what you need. God does continue to sustain us. Please reach out to Ken or me and share one of your Luther memories as Jerry and Rosalyn have done. Getting together at Homecoming in 2020 will be another way to treat yourself to a weekend of reconnecting with each other and sharing memories. Ken and I look forward to seeing you then!

Warm regards,

Karen Julesberg

1960 Class Agents:

Karen Julesberg
2820 Mickelson Parkway, #304
Madison, WI 53711-6482
[email protected]

Ken Melby
705 Serenity Drive
Decorah, IA 52101
[email protected]


Harolynn L. (Aasen) Bergtold of Bloomington, Minn., formerly of Westby, Wis., died April 17, 2019, age 80.

Joan K. (Youngdahl) Olson of Sparta, Wis., died Oct. 16, 2017, age 78.

Darleen M.  (Morken) Pacovsky of Austin, Minn., died July 7, 2019, age 81.

Robert Roble of Sioux Falls, S.D., died Dec. 30, 2018, age 82.

Rachel A. (Sandsness) Vatland of Mabel, Minn., died April 15, 2019, age 81.

The full obituaries of classmates listed in this letter can be found on the Luther College website at:

If you would like a printout of the obituaries listed above in their entirety mailed to you, please contact us at: [email protected], or 563-387-1509.