Luther Alumni Magazine

Class Notes, 1938–1999

1938–1939 / 1950–1959 / 1960–1969 / 1970–1979 / 1980–1989 / 1990–1999

1938

Minnard “Dusty” Hanson recently celebrated his 101st birthday in Burr Ridge, Ill. He sold his retail business of 44 years and has been retired for 12 years.

1958

Felice (Hahn) Bastian received the 2016 Wisconsin Conference Love in Action Award from Tom Rossmiller, the Conference Disaster Committee chair. Bastian has participated in 114 trips with Volunteers in Mission (VIM) for the United Methodist Church and Wisconsin Conference since 1989. She has also served on the National VIM committee.

1959

Louis “Lou” Accola of Mesa, Ariz., retired following the 50th anniversary of his ordination and 50 years of continuous ministry in the TALC and the ELCA. He is a certified master ceramist and ceramics teacher.

1960

Gerald Anderson of Boone, Iowa, retired last March as president of Woodward Youth Corporation (WYC). He continues to serve on the WYC Board of Directors as chairman.

Kathy (Fjone) Richardson of Cincinnati is retired. She is active in OLLI, a learning-in-retirement program at the University of Cincinnati. She teaches courses in novels and poetry and takes classes, including how to play the harmonica. She also enjoys plays, concerts, and operas and writes poetry.

Gale “Tex” Vathing of Vienna, Va., translates poems and plays from French, Farsi, and Norwegian.

1963

Carson Ode has published the third and final book of his Iowa book series, Iowa Culture—Past and Present, featuring Iowa museums. The volume is available in Iowa book stores and online at carsonode.com.

1967

Rosanne Bliss of Minneapolis recently compiled a PowerPoint presentation consisting of vintage postcards and photos of her maternal grandmother’s first 20 years in America after emigrating from Hedmark, Norway, in 1905.

Terry (Thiele) Rasmussen of Fort Collins, Colo., has completed half marathons in 30 states in the past six years. She hopes to run half marathons in all 50 states before turning 75 in 2021. She has also run in Washington, D.C., and in one international race in Cancun, Mexico.

1968

Tom Carlisle was named chief legal counsel of the Illinois Department of Historic Preservation in Springfield, Ill.

Carl Rowe is a professional fine arts painter in Boise, Idaho. He was a professional choreographer for 40 years and earned many awards, including three fellowships in dance from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (Boise), and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts from the state of Idaho.

Neal Skaar of Hayward, Minn., was inducted into the Albert Lea High School Wrestling Hall of Fame last July. He taught mathematics and English at Albert Lea High School (his alma mater) and also served as head wrestling coach from 1979 until 2004, after serving 11 years as assistant coach. Retired from teaching, Skaar continues to serve as assistant wrestling coach at Albert Lea.

1969

David Ellingson of Edmonds, Wash., retired as a professor of children, youth, and family studies at Trinity Lutheran College and was granted professor emeritus status. This fall he intends to kayak the Erie Canal/Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty.

Myrna Petersen-Konajeski is director of corporate and foundation relations in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore.

1970

Bruce Hansen of Racine, Wis., retired from Gemini Inc.

William Kobler was reelected to his second term with the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. He is a board-certified family physician in Rockford, Ill.

Judith (Johnson) Olsen teaches English online at Villanova (Pa.) University.

Ken Varland of New Ulm, Minn., retired as regional wildlife manager for the southern region of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources after 39 years as a wildlife biologist.

1971

Jackee (Larsen) Gonzalez of Lake in the Hills, Ill., works part time for Dundee Park School District in early childhood and an afterschool program. She studies Alive and Well Immanuel Prayer lifestyle skill training with her husband, Ramon.

Roger Larson is owner of A Writer’s Touch in Westminster, Md.

Becky (Linnevold) Shaw is assistant professor for the Department of Specialty Medicine at Des Moines (Iowa) University.

1972

Amy (Christian) and Daryl Dodd live in Anaconda, Mont. Amy is owner and operator of Beyond Necessity Gifts. Daryl retired after 41 years as rehab department director and physical therapist at Community Hospital of Anaconda.

Phil Holtan retired as pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Perham, Minn., after 40 years of service in ministry. He led the church in various missions, including packing one million meals for Feed My Starving Children, raising $200,000 in Perham, and many other missions around the world.

Joan (Heusel) Rowney of Marseilles, Ill., is a retired teacher and works with standardbred horses.

Steven Sorenson is a shareholder with von Briesen and Roper, S.C., in Oshkosh, Wis. Steve was elected as president-elect of the Senior Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

1973

Colleen (Fiebiger) Carlson is retired after 25 years of working for the Harmony (Minn.) School District.

Mary (Runningen) Monsted of Metairie, La., published a children’s interactive musical CD called Miss Mary’s Musical Gumbo. The CD can be purchased at the Luther Book Shop.

1974

Randy Keehn was awarded a master of arts in ministry degree at the Nashotah House Seminary in May. In June, members of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Cartwright, N.D., welcomed him to the ministry.

Solveig (Sperati) Korte is an instructor at the University of South Dakota Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in Vermillion. She received the 2016 Outstanding Instructor Award. The award is given annually to a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences who demonstrates outstanding classroom teaching and mentoring of students.

Joel Mjolsness is retired from the military. He is regional director of the communications industry vertical at Mirantis in Mountain View, Calif. He is also a tenor in the Santa Clara Chorale at Santa Clara University, he serves on the board of directors of Lutheran Social Services of Northern California, and he is on the executive committee for the Association of the United States Army.

1975

Paula Stuart of Steilacoom, Wash., retired as a radiologist at Group Health Permanente.

Cary (Shaffer) Tuckey retired from Fontbonne University in St. Louis after serving as an adjunct professor and director of student teaching.

1976

Beverly (Brandt) Bachelder is principal of Douglas (Mass.) Middle School.

Jamie (Christie) Christensen of Emmetsburg, Iowa, is professor emerita at Iowa Lakes Community College.

Steven Grandgeorge of Goffstown, N.H., is retired.

Marty (Monson) Keck is an advanced practice nurse for Erickson Medical Group in Pompton Plains, N.J.

Mary Kessens is president and CEO at Riverfront Inc. in La Crosse, Wis.

Lynn Paulson of Madison, Wis., is retired.

Joan Pederson of Chicago is retired and serves as president of the First Unitarian Church of Chicago.

Kathy (Lund) Sedlet is education coordinator at Nurtur in Dallas.

1977

Melinda (Morris) and Luther Berkeland ’76 of Lake City, Minn., are retired.

Jeff Kelly of Bloomington, Minn., was inducted into the Austin High School Music Hall of Fame. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Minnesota Education Association, and the National Education Association and director of Honor Choir for the Southeast Minnesota Conference.

1978

Yuri (Mizuno) Ando is pastor at Bellport (N.Y.) United Methodist Church.

Julie Dahlen is an economic support specialist for the Dane County Department of Human Services in Madison, Wis.

John Mueller of Saginaw, Mich., earned a doctor of ministry degree from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

Linda Short is on the staff at Habitat for Humanity Restore in Hot Springs, Ark.

1979

Andrew Strandjord is assistant professor of chemistry at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D. He received the Augustana Student Association Faculty Recognition Award for 2015–16. The award recognizes outstanding teaching and contributions to the Augustana community by a faculty member.

John Twedt is a teacher, adviser, and coach for Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

1980

Greg Braatz retired from a 30-year marketing career at Kimberly-Clark and now serves as associate pastor at the Memorial Presbyterian Church in Appleton, Wis.

Rod Dir is president and CEO at nTelos Wireless in Waynesboro, Va.

Barb (Perry) Lutz of Waverly, Iowa, was inducted into the Association of Home Office Underwriters Hall of Fame last spring. She is assistant vice president and chief underwriter for Fidelity & Guaranty Life.

Tom Maakestad is owner and artist of Maakestad Studio in Marine on Saint Croix, Minn. He was invited to be artist in residence for the city of Salzburg, Austria, last summer through an exchange program organized by the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minn. He stayed in the city center at the historic Künstlerhaus, headquarters of the art organization Salzburger Künstverein, which was founded in 1844 and is the leading organization in central Europe for producing and exhibiting international and Austrian contemporary art.

Bill Musser of Decorah delivered the sixth Annual Knut Gjerset Lecture, “Life in the Freezer: From Seed Savers to Svalbard,” at Luther. He is the librarian at Seed Savers Exchange. He is also the treasurer of the Board of the National Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries.

Darrel Posegate earned a master’s degree in banking and financial services management from Boston University and is chief operation officer and chief financial officer of Heritage Bank in Sioux Falls, S.D.

1981

Dawn (Canfield) Bremer of Knoxville, Iowa, is retired from teaching. She is writing children’s stories with hopes of publishing children’s books. She substitute teaches, writes, and enjoys travel with her husband, Jeff.

Jim Chamness is a physician at Lakeshore Allergy PC in Holland, Mich.

Barbara (Henn) Clausen retired from teaching third grade at the Decorah Community Schools.

Roxanne (Gunderson) Heinrichs teaches elementary physical education for West Delaware Community Schools in Manchester, Iowa.

Marty Hertel is a passenger service assistant at Prospect Airport Services in Las Vegas, Nev.

Carol (Gustafson) Hetrick is a companion, homemaker, and PCA at Community Companions and Homemakers in Willimantic, Conn.

Laurie Heyer is executive vice president of healthcare operations and IT at Blue Cross of Idaho in Boise.

Becky (Leschensky) Hoffman is a behavioral health specialist and licensed marriage and family therapist at Step By Step in Milton, Wash.

Elaine (Olsen) and Gary Johnson ’82 live in Andover, Minn. She is owner and director of Sounds and Praise and director of children’s ministries at Faith Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids, Minn. He is a network architect at MedNet Solutions Inc. in Minnetonka, Minn.

Jim Knutson teaches music at Cotter High School in Winona, Minn.

BJ Larson earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership from St. Catherine University. She is spiritual health service director and systematic strategic head for SHS at Fairview Health Services in Burnsville, Minn.

Miri (Peterson) Mattson is an office professional at Thrivent Financial in Decorah.

Chuck Mueller of Nisswa, Minn., is founder and president of Solution Tactics.

Pam (Norris) Phillips is retired in Alexandria, Minn.

Curt Tryggestad is superintendent at Eden Prairie (Minn.) Schools and president-elect for the Minnesota Association of School Administrators. He will serve a three-year term.

Cathy (Miner) Weber is a nurse case manager at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque, Iowa.

1982

Deanna Barth is a librarian at Washington Middle School in Kenosha, Wis.

Donalee (Rima) Burns of Decorah has been costumer for New Minowa Players for 41 years. She costumed 59 people in the theater company’s summer musical, Fiddler on the Roof, last June.

Nancy (Hermeier) Hershfield is director of advancement and assistant dean at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Nancy (Nickerson) Lee is director of arts programming at Washburn High School in Minneapolis. Out of the 1,100 teachers nominated for Tony Awards presented by Carnegie Mellon University, she was one of 20 to earn honorable mention for excellence in theatre education.

Andrea Urice is senior lecturer in drama at Washington University in St. Louis.

1983

Sandra (Bergstrom) Dawson earned a master’s degree from St. Xavier University. She teaches special education at Rockford (Ill.) Public Schools.

Kim (Christensen) Mahlum of Ettrick, Wis., is a district nurse for the La Crosse School District.

1984

Julie (Roehl) Coffin is executive editor for DoubleInk Publishing Services based in Dublin, Ireland. She works from her home in Spencer, Ind., developing, writing, and editing educational materials for elementary and middle school reading and language arts.

Dan Kuester published his book Green Wave, a murder mystery, in June. The book can be purchased in bookstores and online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Anne (Mattson) McAnallen is investor reporting manager at Ditech Financial LLC in Tempe, Ariz.

Kay Rathjen-Tulppo is a reading specialist and literacy coach at Sheboygan (Wis.) North High School.

Sean Taylor is professor of history at Minnesota State University–Moorhead.

1985

Jana Christen Albers of Hiawatha, Iowa, is a social worker at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and in the Child Health Specialty Clinic in Decorah.

Jim Biedermann is plant manager for Sparboe Foods in New Hampton, Iowa.

1986

Laura Dotseth is practice director of the enterprise transformation and strategy national practice at Trissential in Minneapolis.

Teri (Palmquist) Hansen is a nursing education specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Gina Sauer is volunteer coordinator for Lyric Arts Main Street Stage in Anoka, Minn.

1987

Bruce Dir is owner and president of Tighthead Brewing Company in Mundelein, Ill. Dir and his business were featured in the Chicago Tribune in June.

Lisa (Minske) Klever of West Des Moines, Iowa, is a pharmacy accountant for the Hy-Vee Inc. corporate office.

Phil Meirick is a premier one-branch manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Des Moines, Iowa. This year marks his 26th working for Wells Fargo.

James Tegtmeier is regional counsel and manager on the Midwest Enforce Team for the Federal Aviation Administration in Des Plaines, Ill.

1988

Callista (Bisek) Gingrich earned a place in the top 25 of Newsmax’s 50 Most Influential Female Republicans. She is president of Gingrich Productions and author of several New York Times’ bestseller children’s books.

Jon Wee is a juggler and comedian. He and his partner, Owen Morse, are a corporate entertainment team known as The Passing Zone. They appeared on NBC’s America’s Got Talent last summer. The Passing Zone has been awarded five Guinness World Records and 18 gold medals from the International Juggler’s Association.

1989

Ray DeWalt Jr. is a workers’ compensation representative at Aegis Corporation, Brookfield, Wis.

Herman Jass is the owner of Snap Fitness in Eden Prairie, Minn. An extremely dedicated rugby player and supporter, he received the “Flash” Korman Award for Rugby Excellence from the Luther Old Boys in 2015.

Lindsay Jordan earned a doctor of ministry degree in congregational mission and leadership from Luther Seminary. He is pastor at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Delafield, Wis., and was also a prospective nominee for bishop of the Milwaukee Synod last spring.

Vicki Weidenbacher-Hoper is assistant director for external and pipeline programs at the University of Illinois in Rockford.

1990

Kelly (Bjugan) Hudson is assistant professor of music at Concord University in Athens, W.Va.

Mike Japenga is pastor at Chandler (Ariz.) Presbyterian Church.

Pete Lawrence of Brighton, Colo., is master trooper and lead firearms coordinator for the Colorado State Patrol.

1991

Sue (Vongroven) and Don Baker ’92 live in Mazeppa, Minn. She works in surgery scheduling at Olmsted Medical Center Hospital in Rochester, Minn. He is a manager for Kwik Trip.

Melissa Bevis is a school psychologist at Rum River Special Education Cooperative and Cambridge-Isanti Schools in Cambridge, Minn.

Brett Cloninger-West was named one of Washingtonian magazine’s Best 100 Realtors in Washington, D.C. He is a realtor for McEnearney Realtors.

Carol (Edwards) Denekas of Dyersville, Iowa, recently released her second novel, Seeds of Hope (inspirational fiction), which can be purchased on Amazon as a paperback or for Amazon Kindle.

Paul Eckheart of Spring Valley, Minn., teaches sixth grade and coaches for the Kingsland Public School District.

Ben Fincham of Iowa City, Iowa, is a clinical specialist for Medtronic.

Soren Flessen earned a doctor of ministry degree at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and is chaplain of Presence Health in Aurora, Ill.

Heather (Henschel) Hasstedt is a substitute teacher for the Boone (Iowa) Community School District.

Dean Haugen is senior vice president for Wells Fargo Bank in Minneapolis.

Mark Heninger is president of 11 Amps, a digital marketing and consulting agency in Venice, Calif.

Nancy (Watson) and Eugene Kreiter ’89 live in Davenport, Iowa. She is an accountant and payroll clerk, and he is a teacher and coach for North Scott Community Schools.

Sarah (Fromong) Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in human service administration from Kaplan University. She works in medical research for human resources at IICHA in Decorah.

Michelle McLain-Kruse of Decorah is executive director of Thunder Rode Inc. and a registered instructor through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. She is also a member of the United Way of Winneshiek County Board and owner and operator of McLain Farms Trailriding Inc.

Eric Muller of Urbandale, Iowa, is vice president of internal audit for Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines.

Kirstin (Hanson) Norby is a grade-level counselor and school social worker for Austin (Minn.) Public Schools.

Elke Norwig Eastaugh is a grants administrator at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Mary (Wallestad) Oyebade is a missionary and teacher for the ELCA in Jos, Nigeria.

Kristin (Anderson) Ranum is a social worker at Columbia County CSP in Portage, Wis.

Sven Schulte is a global delivery manager consulting for Intelligence AG in Bielefeld, Germany.

Dean Southern is on the voice faculty and head of the voice and opera division at Cleveland (Ohio) Institute of Music.

Wahneta Tonn Dimmer is a licensed massage therapist and president of Hands in Harmony Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Tom Voute of Midlevels, Hong Kong, is an equity arbitrage at Algorithmic Trading Group Ltd.

Bill Weiss teaches social studies and is head football coach at Chisago Lakes High School in Lindstrom, Minn.

Doug Zars of Rochester, Minn., earned a certificate of advanced study from Winona State University.

1992

Eric Dodd of Rock Island, Ill., was inducted into the Thrivent Financial Hall of Fame at Thrivent’s annual conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Cindy Marlow McClenagan is vice president for academic affairs at Wayland Baptist University.

Dean Rossow is team lead at Infor in St. Paul, Minn.

Anne (Potter) Walters was named senior fiduciary officer at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

Kelli (Dunne) Winchester is the new owner of Margaret’s Boutique in Decorah. Longtime business owner Margaret Walter is selling her business to Winchester, who worked for Walter while attending Luther. Winchester asked Walter two years ago if she’d be interested in selling her the business. Walter said she would, as long as Winchester committed to two years of training and learning the ropes, including accompanying Walter on buying trips and working at store events. Winchester put in the time, commuting from Des Moines, and Walter is confident the new owner will “hit the ground running.” Winchester moved to Decorah last summer.  

1993

Kris Alwin Begay of Bellevue, Wash., earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Washington. She works at the University of Washington Autism Center.

David Schifsky graduated from the FBI National Academy in June. Schifsky was chosen by his department to complete the 10-week course among 234 other graduates from 47 states, the District of Columbia, 21 countries, four military organizations, and eight federal civilian agencies. Those selected represent less than 1 percent of the country’s law enforcement officers. David works for the National Park Service at Point Reyes National Seashore in Calif.

1994

Drew Moorcroft is owner and director of ChiChi Wacha Corporation in Timnath, Colo.

Daniel Stout is a web software developer for UW Health in Madison, Wis.

1995

Shannon (Miller) Duval is president and chief development officer of the National Catholic Health Initiatives Foundation in Denver.

Andrew Olson is global project manager for Mercury Marine/Brunswick Corporation in Oshkosh, Wis.

Clint Schnekloth is pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, Ark. He serves on the board of Augsburg Fortress, the publishing house of the ELCA. He also teaches as adjunct faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., and was recently honored as the 2016 Faithful Leader by the Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center for his support and empowerment of workers.

Dawn (Schlatter) Spies is interim pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in Brookfield, Wis.

1996

Erik Berry of Two Harbors, Minn., plays with the band Trampled by Turtles. The band played at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth, Minn., last summer and toured through Alaska, Colorado, Utah, and Washington.

Kristi (Lenning) Dean of Greensboro, N.C., is a network analyst for Guilford Metro 911.

Zack Durlam is assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His article “Glimpses of Handel in the Choral-Orchestral Psalms of Medelssohn” was published in the May issue of the Choral Journal.

Jaime Schultz is associate professor of kinesiology at Penn State University in State College. She was a 2016 recipient of the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching and recognized as one of the best teachers among Penn State’s faculty.

1997

Becky (Bixby) and Marshall Anderson ’96 live in Mansfield, Texas. She is director of clinical services for Shady Shores Communities. He is the head athletic trainer at Grand Prairie High School.

Jodi (Nelsen) Dettmann of Rochester, Minn., is assistant director of admissions for the Rochester campus of Augsburg College.

Nikki Colsch and Michael Elsbernd live in Waukee, Iowa. She teaches English at Waukee Public Schools. He is director of worship and music at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines. He published a composition, “Four Short Reflections on SLANE,” with Alliance Publications.

1998

Jen Follstad-Popp earned a graduate degree in art education from the University of Minnesota and teaches art at Waseca (Minn.) High School. She is also art team coach and a board member at the Waseca Art Center.

Nicole (Voss) and George Hawkinson Jr. ’97 live in Leawood, Kan. She is a pediatric dentist for Pediatric Dental Specialists. He is vice president of business development at Connexx Energy Inc.

Jason Lage is vice president for Wells Fargo in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Sarah (Kipling) Lightner is dean of students for Bloomington (Minn.) Public Schools. She earned her education specialist degree from Minnesota State University–Mankato.

Kyra (Rusch) McCool is a school counselor at Hilltop Elementary School in Mendham Borough, N.J.

Lakshmi Ramjattan is purchasing analyst at AMD Solutions in Miramar, Fla.

1999

Sarika Bajoria is senior project designer and architect of Perkins+Will in New York. She is also a meditation teacher for the Kadampa Mediation Center.

Shelley (Jennings) Bumpus earned an early childhood endorsement from Northwestern College and is a preschool teacher at Trinity Lane Preschool in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Jen (Solomonson) Doty earned a master of technology management degree from the University of St. Thomas. She is a business analyst for Digital Cinema Implementation Partners in Edina, Minn.

Mustafa Ozer of Minneapolis is chief medical physicist at Minnesota Hematology-Oncology.

Karen (Erceg) Schock is a pharmacist at St. Mary’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colo.