Class of 1976 Fall 2019 Letter

Hi Classmates,

Here's to another summer.

All is well in Minnesota. It was a wet summer in most areas so the golf tee times have been down a bit. Geri is still working at Crystal Lake Golf Course in Lakeville. Rod keeps things under control at the house.  Presently our home of 25 years is on the market. We are ready to downsize, especially because of our time spent in Florida. 

Our daughter, Deidra, was married this summer in Des Moines to a wonderful young guy who is an associate athletic director at Drake.  It was a beautiful ceremony at Hope Lutheran in West Des Moines and the reception was an evening of fun, family, friends and celebration at Curate. After that we spent our annual fishing trip at Lake of the Woods, Sportsman’s Lodge near Baudette, Minn. Our twin boys are at their same positions. Dalen, married to Bailey, is teaching and coaching at Apple Valley High School and Devin is employed at Moneygram. 

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:

Hopefully life is going well with all of you.  It's always fun to stay in contact with our Luther Family and Friends. 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!

Rod and Geri (Grimm) Dirth
1976 Class Agents
222 Pier Drive
Ruskin FL 33570
651-660-0503; 952-215-7854
[email protected]
[email protected]



Ruth Drews retired as an ELCA clergy person in 2017, but continues to be an ordained Lutheran minister. She preaches regularly in the Springfield, Mo., area. 

Jerry Klevan is a millwork shop worker at Root River Hardwoods in Preston, Minn.

Ron Larson of Mc Farland, Wis., is retired from his position as librarian at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Paula (Hermeier) Meyer was named a co-chair of the 2020 Delaney for President Campaign in Iowa.

Lisa Peter Howard retired from full time orthodontic practice in Maine and now divides her time between Ft. Myers, Fla., and Harrison, Maine. She is involved in the New England Society of Orthodontists and will become president in the fall of 2022.


James “Jim” P. Rixen of Waukon, Iowa, died Dec. 3, 2018, age 64.

Michael G. Spangenberg of Council Bluffs, Iowa, died Jan. 10, 2019, age 69.

Dalen P. Wanless of Waukon, Iowa, formerly of Hesper, Iowa, died Jan. 8, 2019, age 64.

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.