Class of 1979 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Grace and peace to you!

It’s strange to be sending a letter to you so soon after our reunion, but I just wanted to thank all of you who were able to attend. We had a delightful time! I hope the rest of you are able to connect with those of our class with whom you hold special bonds or memories. I’d love to regale you with stories from the reunion, but picking and choosing from menus of options is not something I do well. That’s why my family won’t take me out for supper!

I did hear from people who couldn’t make the reunion and one that I have to share because he was left off the last letter at the eleventh hour.

First, it was great to hear from Sandy Johnson, who married another Johnson. She has been in the Des Moines area for many years and shared some of the joys we had during our time at Luther. We reminisced about our days of running around Olson at night. Her grades may not have suffered as a result, but mine sure did. With Sandy, I learned how to laugh deep belly laughs and enjoy true and lasting friendship. That’s what Luther helped create. By the way, Sandy, during the reunion, I stayed in Cresco!

Then there was the letter I had to leave off last time because of length of the last letter (I do know limits now; I learned them raising my children!). Jeff “Max” Hansen didn’t write a word, but he did send me three copies of a photograph of the head of a dragonship. No return address except “Max the WIMI”, no word of explanation. But that was Max; always the enigmatic one. In my vivid imagination, I constructed three conversations, stories if you will. In one, Max is the curator of such precious memories. He is able to explain to me how these proud ships carried the Viking warriors forth to exploration and conquest. His breadth of knowledge far exceeded that of anyone I’d met before concerning dragonships. It was truly amazing and awe-inspiring. In our second conversation, Max was the modern sculptor of these works of art and explained how the Vikings, using primitive tools, would etch and scrape these designs into the right piece of wood. He demonstrated the techniques and taught me a bit more about woodcarving, a hobby in which I used to dabble. The third story was more of a dream of Max as a Viking warrior on a dragonship. Cap’n Max was a cruel, but fair, commander of the ship on which I served. And yes, the grog flowed easily and readily, just as it did the year we lived on the same floor in Olson. That’s what you get when you use “Max the WIMI” as your return address! But thanks, Jeff, for a walk on my wild side.

When I last wrote, I was just finishing Dave Faldet’s book,King: A Mystery. It was a wonderful read. I would recommend it if you like mystery and parallels. His deep understanding of human nature translated well into the book. I really felt that I met all these people in my travels, both then and now, to Decorah.

By now, you’ve read some about President Ward. Her inauguration was the weekend of November 1 -3. You’re probably curious about the results of our fundraising campaign, but you still have until December to make your pledge; I don’t want to jinx our final tabulation! Let’s just say that we’re looking respectable.

The campus is gearing up for Christmas at Luther (CAL). It will be unusual to go this year as my Luther enrollee is doing his semester abroad for his Spanish major. He left for Valparaiso, Chile, in July and will return just after CAL. I can at least see his girlfriend and all the other kids he’s met who have all become my children. He’ll turn around three weeks later to do the theater J-term in London (his other major). Like his old man, he’s milking his Luther experience for all he can get!

Thank you for all the things you do to help Luther thrive in the 21st Century. From donating to referring students to the Admissions staff, you help make the Luther experience one of incalculable worth. Just as we benefited from those who preceded us, we too can make a difference for those who follow.

In service,

Richard Tiegs, PhD
5 Chad Ct
Coralville, IA 52241
319-337-6667 (H)
319-330-1978 (C )
[email protected]


Greg Carrier is customer care advisor II at ACT in Iowa City, Iowa.

David Faldet of Decorah, is English faculty at Luther and published his first novel, King: A Mystery.

Mary (Burbridge) Kreger was named superintendent of the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan (Minn.) School District.

Barbara (Vaske) Norland is president at BKVN Consulting in Homestead, Fla.

Donna (Peterson) Rasmussen is Soil and Water Conservation District administrator for Fillmore County, Minn. She received the 2018 Outstanding Soil and Water Conservation District Employee award at the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ annual convention. She was cited for her oversight and coordination of the Root River Watershed One Plan in partnership with five other water conservation districts, and for her work as chair of the regional Basin Alliance for the Lower Mississippi in Minnesota (BALMM). In 2014, she helped to form the Friends of the Root River, a non-profit group made up of citizens who work to take care of the waterway.

Jeff Wettach, assistant professor emeritus and former head track and field coach, was honored by the NCAA with the Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award. The Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award recognizes a coach who has a history of continuous sportsmanship. Those who have received this award lead by example and promote positive fan involvement in and out of the competition setting. At Homecoming this year, Jeff was inducted into the Athletic Hall of fame—Congratulations!