Fall 2009 Class Agent Letter

Fall 2009

Dear Classmates of 1950,

Greetings to all of you, especially those from our state, the home and team of Brett Favre. (We just had to do that for all of our Wisconsin friends!)

So, here’s the good news: Our 60th anniversary homecoming is October 8-10, 2010. We are hoping that all of you will join us for a great weekend.  Check out the lodging link http://www2.luther.edu/about/decorah.  And, if you can, please let us know whether or not you can make arrangements to be there too. That will assist us in planning for the occasion. Of course, please send us anything we might include in the spring letter. Our email address is [email protected].

Looking back in our records, we note that on March 12 Tom Rossing emailed saying that although he missed our 55th anniversary reunion, he plans to be there for the big 6-0. So, we already have one commitment.

Lysle Pickard wrote to tell us that he and Marv Bertelson came to an agreement about a toy truck Marv had received when he was a youngster. Lysle collects and deals in old toys. The truck is a National Richfield oil tanker (oh my!). After much thought, Marv called to tell Lysle he would sell it to him to add to Lysle’s collection of antique toys. Unfortunately, because of his wife’s health, Lysle will not be able to join us next fall.

Richard Grindeland, who is now retired from NASA’s Ames Research Center, attended the annual Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans last spring. Two other Luther grads, Kristin Gosselink ’91 and Francis Haddy ’44, were also in attendance.

There is sad news too. Our class lost eight members since last year (see attached obituaries). We now have 158 living; almost half are gone.

Back to happy news. Our son Paul Luther, who had a liver transplant last December, finally seems to be recovering. Since that surgery his abdomen had filled with fluid, which had to be drained every week. He recently had two additional surgeries. First, a shunt was placed between his liver and heart, which was supposed to disperse the fluid. That didn’t work, so a month later a stent was placed in a vein that had apparently clogged after the transplant.  The drainage started almost immediately and he is slowly regaining strength. Thank you for all of your prayers and concern.

Other news from us: We have two great-granddaughters and a great-grandson and one more on the way; Dagny had arthroscopic knee surgery (not so good) and Holger had a hip replaced (very good).

Did you know that 40 percent of our class gave to the college last year? That’s not too bad, but we can do better. Remember, the more we participate, no matter the size of the gift, the more favorably grant-making organizations look at the College. Perhaps a special class gift would be in order, in honor of our 60th. Got any ideas? Let us know.  And if you haven’t made your gift to the Annual Fund yet this year, please do so at givenow.luther.edu.  Thank you.

Have a great winter,

Holger ChristiansenDagny Christiansen


Holger and Dagny (Fjelstad) Christiansen
1950 Class Agents
[email protected]

PS.  Luther College has begun the process of posting all fall Class Agent letters to the Web now! Go to luther.edu/classagentletters to see your letter, as well as letters for all other classes, 1930-2009.

Class Notes
MARVIN BERTELSON celebrated fifty years as choir director for St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sunnyvale, Calif.

THOMAS ROSSING is a visiting professor at Stanford University and received the prestigious Gold Medal from the Acoustical Society of America during its spring meeting in Portland, Ore. He is the editor of Springer Handbook of Acoustics, which was published in 2007, and he is completing his 17th book, Science of String Instruments. Thomas also sings in the Stanford Symphonic Chorus and played in the orchestra at a sing-along Messiah performance.

WERNER “DUTCH” ARNHOELTER of Brillion, Wis., died Dec. 11, 2008, at age 88. Born in Germany, he became a naturalized citizen in 1942. He served with the U.S. Army in World War II in both the European and Pacific Theatre operations. Dutch was appointed postmaster of Brillion by President Eisenhower, serving in that position for 26 years, retiring in 1981. A member of the American Legion, Dutch was active in the Brillion Athletic Association, where he served as secretary for over 50 years. He was also past president and lieutenant governor of the Brillion Optimist Club. Dutch is survived by his wife, Rita, and was preceded in death by a stepson.

JAMES ROBBE of Hartford, Wis., died Nov. 18, 2008, at age 79. Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served his country aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway. He joined his father-in-law, A.R. Coffeen, in the heavy construction business building bridges, freeways, and power plants with both the A.R. Coffeen Company and Shappert Engineering, Inc. He established a life-long home in Hartford, where he raised his family and was active as a community organizer, Sunday school teacher, and co-founder and fundraiser for Hartford football. Robbe Athletic Field, in the town of Hartford, bears his name.  He had a great love of jazz and was a friend of the Wisconsin-great trumpet player Dick Ruedebusch. His passions included hunting, fishing, traveling, and golf. Jim was proud to make—with his pals—the maple syrup that made Hartford famous, which became a common holiday gift. He is survived by his wife, HELEN (COFFEEN) ROBBE ’49, and five children.

ROBERT BENSON of Brooklyn Park, Minn., died May 27, 2009, at age 84. He is survived by his wife, Leslie; three children; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

O.B. “BEN” BERGSRUD of River Falls, Wis., died May 30, 2009, at age 83.  Following high school graduation, Ben enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served from 1944-46.  After graduating from Luther, he taught and coached in Moorland, Iowa, and Whitehall, Wis. Ben earned a master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1953 and a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1967. He joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1957, where he taught and coached the golf team until he retired 31 years later. During his tenure, Ben also started the wrestling program, was an assistant football coach, served as the athletic director, and was chairman of the physical education department. His life was filled with travel, which included 31 cruises around the world with his wife (while he served as the on-board golf pro for the Royal Viking Cruise Line); golf, with regular tee times in River Falls and Mesa, Ariz., and five holes-in-one; and fishing for musky, bass, and the many pan fish he liked to fillet for his children. Ben especially enjoyed his role as a supportive grandfather.  He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; two children; and a granddaughter.

LLOYD HAMMER of Austin, Minn., died Jan. 14, 2009, at age 81. At Luther he played football and was catcher for the Norse baseball team. Lloyd worked for the Hormel Co. for 34 years and was on the board of the Hormel Employees Credit Union for 10 years. He was a charter member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and served as the first treasurer, taught Sunday school, and participated at the groundbreaking for Our Savior’s. He was active in scouting and enjoyed all sports and fishing in northern Minnesota. He is survived by his wife, Yvonne; two children, SUZANNE (HAMMER) LARSON ’74 and BRIAN HAMMER ‘76; and three grandchildren.

ALDEN JENSEN of Boca Raton, Fla., died April 17, 2009, at age 80. Alden briefly taught high school in Black River Falls, Wis., prior to serving in the Korean War. He moved to New York in 1954 and was employed by Lederle Laboratories, a subsidiary pharmaceutical company of American Cyanamid. Alden earned a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1957. Alden was a biochemist, process engineer and director of biological productions. During his 20-year career with Lederle, he worked in the production of vaccines for polio, flu, smallpox, and DPT. In 1977 Alden moved to Boca Raton, and in 1984 he founded and operated a residential/commercial real estate company and acted as broker/owner. He is survived by his former wife, Sheila Lee; two children; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

CLARISSE ELAINE (SARDESON) McCOPPIN MIHEVE of Lakehills, Texas, died March 28, 2009, at age 85. After serving as a WAVE in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Elaine and her first husband, Emmitt McCoppin, lived in Venezuela for 20 years, where Elaine was active in her church and community. After Emmitt died in 1991, Elaine married George Miheve and the couple divided their time between Wakefield, Mich., and Lakehills, where Elaine was a member of Lakehills United Methodist Church. She is survived by her husband, a daughter, two step-children, two grandsons, and three step-granddaughters.

GEORGE POTTER, JR., of Peoria, Ariz., died March 26, 2009, at age 82. He was an avid athlete, having played football, basketball, and baseball. George served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-46, then attended Grinnell College before graduating from Luther. He earned a master’s degree in education from St. Cloud State University in 1965. George served for 37 years as a teacher, coach, and athletic director at St. Clair, Canby, Red Wing, and St. Cloud, Minn., schools. He is survived by his wife, Janet; three children; six grandchildren, including JOSHUA TOMFOHR ’95; two step-grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Homecoming 2009