Class of 1982 Fall 2019 Letter

Fall 2019

Dear Classmate,

First off, a very big THANK YOU goes out to Katie Hansen for doing an exceptional job for this class for the last 27 years.  That is a half a lifetime ago!

But don't stop believin’! Riding in on a horse with no name, it is I, the Headless Norseman!  I'd like to try something a little different so just bear with me. First off, before I get caught up in you, please understand that I may not be politically correct, or may not use your married name.  Even though it is hard to say I'm sorry, I apologize, I'm headless. In no way am I trying to offend anyone at any time.  I am trying to evoke memories. Great memories from our past. I will also leave subtle hints as to who I am.  If you would like to guess, please send your response along with a brief memory of your time at Luther so I can share.  It can be just a sentence like, "I loved going to Happy Joe’s and getting the Happy Joe’s Special (Canadian bacon and sauerkraut)  And no, the sauerkraut was not made in Professor Tjostem’s microbiology class.  And who could forget that and making cheese! This goes for anyone that is mentioned in this article as well. If you respond, you will be sent a gift for your participation. Now, please close your eyes and let yourself drift back.  Hold it. You can't drift with your eyes not being able to read this. Okay, leave them just slightly closed then. Squint, if you will.

Also, if you think that there may be any reason that your address/email/phone number may be an old one, let's get that cleaned up so come reunion time, you get your announcement so that we have the best turnout ever!  I found out that the email address they had on file for me was one from at least 25 years ago!

Alright, it is 1978 - 1982. Yes, those ancient days when it was expected to get a degree in four years. Take a trip with me. Fall has returned and you sit with your eyes closed and your back against an old oak on campus. Your favorite old oak. You take a deep breath in and you can smell fall and you hear the sounds of the campus coming alive. Parents are unloading their vehicles and sending their young adults to lead their own paths from the one they started them on. On the practice field by the fieldhouse, you hear Coach Naslund shouting instructions as Mike Woodhouse has the eye of a tiger and spins a perfect spiral to Scott Chesley, who narrowly avoided the meet and greet Eugene Johnson was having in his house roaming the middle. You can almost hear it whistle by your head.

Life is good. The Assistant Head Residents and Resident Assistants are doing their best to alleviate the trepidation parents have leaving their kids for the first time. Far off in the distance, you wonder if your ears are deceiving you as Money for Nothing is blaring out the windows of Ylvisaker; probably Gatchell.  Music, ah the music. This new MTV thing just may catch on!  Might be a great time to take out the Walkman, put in your favorite cassette and just drift off. Are you playing Earth, Wind & Fire - Fantasy? But NO!  We've got things to do and places to see before time passages!

Are you still with me?  Good.

Anyone hungry yet?  I'm going to slide on in to my SPO and check to see if mom wrote me and then let's call down to the Oneota cafeteria and order an egg cheeseburger with special delivery from one of the AEP's. Scott Gomer is on his way. By the way, does anyone know if the Kapps still suck? Just wondering.

Oh yea, almost forgot the important stuff regarding what is going on right now, even as we speak! There I go again. Not speaking..... headless.  Do you realize how many presidents Luther has had since we started with Farwell?  Ring my bell, it has been five!  Five before Farwell and now five since!

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!

Now, I'm going to be heading (Ha! Heading! Thank you folks, I'll be here all week) out to go to Messiah practice so I don't miss out on anything.  Can't wait to be a part of that again as it is 1978. Always a bit shaky though on the risers with everyone standing at once but it will be fun to see the style and grace to which Kari Nottleson is playing violin and listen to the beautiful Basso Profundo voice of Ed Overholt with his solo!  After that, a quick trip in the tunnels between Brandt and Ylvisaker and we'll call it a night.

I hope you have enjoyed a quick memory trip and speaking of trips, come on back to Luther to see all the changes!  Keep those cards, emails and letters coming and don't forget to guess or send in a note whether you were mentioned or not. For those that have been mentioned, if you recognize your name and you are that person, let us know a particular quick favorite memory and we'll get something in the mail for you. If you were named and you don't recognize your name, well, we are getting older but maybe have someone else read through it to see if you are mentioned. If you are not someone mentioned, get us a memory anyway. I've got lots more memories and about 485 more people to go through so how about a little help.

Anyone watching MASH tonight after dinner or just going to listen to the musical stylings of Tim Gustafson in Dante’s?  Have a fantastic fall everyone and thank you all for being a part of the memories and Class of 1982!  I was thinking about ordering a Mabe’s large regular pizza tonight but it is $4.95!  $4.95!  Sheesh. Maybe have to see if someone wants to go in on it.

For some reason, life just feels like a song much of the time.  If you recognize the songs from the 70s and 80s mentioned in this letter and can correctly identify them, the first person will also get a little something.  It also serves as class mix #1!  Ah, remember all the time it took to record a mix tape? Ask your grandkids how to get this mix. They'll likely have it in less than five minutes!

Let me know if you like this format, what was written, anything, just feedback.  If you're All out of love and just want to complain, please make it short. I'd rather think of happy things. Too many good things to do to dwell on negative.  So how about one last dance before we go. Don't tell me you didn't have enough time. You had all the time there was.  Until next time!


Editor’s Note: We are trying to locate this Headless Norseman but in the meantime, please forward your Class of 1982 responses to: [email protected]. When this Norseman is located, we will ensure that your message is transmitted.


Karen DeBauche teaches band at Urbana (Ill.) Middle School. She was named the 2018 Middle School Teacher of the Year for the Champaign-Urbana Area by Napleton Toyota of Urbana. Last fall, she was also one of five national finalists for the Dr. William P. Foster Initiative that recognizes quality programs serving historically disadvantaged student populations. This exciting initiative honors select educators, and their band programs, which are challenging students and reaching a high level of excellence.

Nancy (Nickerson) and Hans Lee ‘83 reside in Minneapolis. Hans is pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Nancy has retired after more than 21 years in Minneapolis Public Schools. Her 35-plus-year teaching career was featured in the Southwest Minneapolis’ Community Newspaper. Now she plans to focus on an intensive summer theater program she founded for college students near her hometown of Osage, Iowa, and to find more professional theater opportunities in the Twin Cities

Jim Whitesell of Synder, N.Y., was inducted into the Lewis University (Romeoville, Ill.) Hall of Fame celebrating a 12-year run guiding the Flyers to unprecedented levels of success. Whitesell led Lewis' men's basketball team for 12 seasons guiding them to 10 winning seasons, eight seasons with at least 18 wins and four seasons of 20 wins or more and five trips to the NCAA Tournament. His best season came in 2001-02 when he led the Flyers to 25 wins matching the school record set by the 1985-86 team. Whitesell's 214 wins and his .629 winning percentage rank third all-time in Lewis history. Whitesell just completed his fourth season as associate head coach on the University at Buffalo men's basketball staff, helping the Bulls to their third NCAA tournament appearance in four seasons. Whitesell has also served as head coach at Elmhurst College and Loyola-Chicago. He was an assistant coach at Saint Louis and St. John's before taking job at Buffalo. He was named interim head coach on March 27.


Catherine M. (Knudsen) Eisert of Oregon, Wis., died May 22, 2017, age 56.

The full obituary of the classmate listed above 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.