Luther Alumni Magazine

Class Notes, 1950–1999

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


Robert E. Lee of Waverly, Iowa, is professor emeritus at Wartburg College, where he served as director of bands from 1959 until 1995. In April, the Wartburg Concert Band and alumni honored him and announced that $100,000 had been donated in his honor to create the Dr. Robert E. Lee Endowed Scholarship at the college. 


Rolf Olson recently published a book, The Norwegian Synod 1853–1917: A Short History of a Premier Predecessor Church Body, through Lutheran University Press. Rolf served as a parish pastor for 43 years, 36 of them at Spring Prairie Lutheran Church in rural DeForest, Wis. He and his wife, Trudy (Kolstad) ’54, live in retirement in Sun Prairie, Wis.


Carol (Anderson) Haubrich was inducted into the Pipestone (Minn.) Area Schools Instrumental Hall of Fame for her work as a piano teacher.


Karen (Gulsvig) Johnson of Laporte, Minn., is a retired social worker.


Mary (Frost) Steen of Northfield, Minn., was recognized as a leader in the field of humanities with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Awards by Marquis Who’s Who.


Tom Berven retired after 48 years of coaching varsity boys’ tennis at Neenah (Wis.) High School.

Phyllis (Dankers) Yes is professor emerita of art, painting, and drawing at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. She was recently featured in an article on the school’s website for her boundary-pushing art, particularly Good Morning, Miss America, a play she wrote in 2015 that takes viewers through the realities of aging and the demands of family life. The play debuted at CoHo Theatre in Portland March 10–31, 2018.


Dennis Melin of Tucson, Ariz., is treasurer of American Patriot Memorial’s board of directors. In May, he attended a veterans’ recognition dinner, sponsored by American Patriot Memorial and Knights of Columbus, where he received a total of seven awards and certificates—two medals, each with a sash, and five on paper. 


Dwight Backman of Sparta, Wis., is a retired mathematics teacher.


Vincent Wixon lives in Ashland, Oregon. His latest book of poems, Laying By, was published by Flowstone Press and is available on Amazon.


Jean (Aaker) Berg retired from teaching elementary school in the Madison (Wis.) Metropolitan School District.

Doug Torgerson of Grove City, Minn., was inducted into the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.


David Ellingson published Say What? A Fresh Look at Old Sayings, available on Amazon. He led a kayak expedition through the Hardanger and Sogne Fjords in Norway last summer and is releasing a Paddle Pilgrim book and documentary video later this year.

Fred Harms is pastor emeritus with St. Paul Lutheran Church in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. He participated in a Habitat for Humanity build in Amman, Jordan, with his wife, Margaret.

Jeff Hoover of Colorado Springs, Colo., is professor emeritus of history at the Universite de Lubumbashi.

Dennis Olson retired from full-time ministry and now serves as half-time interim pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.

Mark Tempte of Fort Wayne, Ind., is retired.


Lyle Luzum of Decorah was elected by the Board of the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust for a three-year term. He also serves on the organization’s Policy and Accreditation Committee.

Duane Peter of Georgetown, Texas, retired after 30 years as vice president of cultural resources at Geo-Marine. He also completed a three-year term as president of the American Cultural Resources Association. 

David Ridout of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is retired.


Tim Becker teaches marketing and management at Alliant International University in San Diego. He just returned from his second teaching trip to Wenzhou (China) University in Wenzhou.

Jean (Pederson) and Harry Hindson ’70 live in La Crosse, Wis. Jean retired in May as associate professor of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin but continues to support world-language teacher education through professional organization presentations and teaching Spanish to K–5 students once a week at a local elementary school. Harry has gone back to playing the organ, taking lessons, and substituting occasionally at Christ Episcopal Church in La Crosse.

Jim Wagner of Albuquerque, N.M., is an editor for Daddy Wags Editing.


Pam (Howland) Carstens retired as assistant director of music at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa.

Rick Fromm received second-place plaques for Excellence in Editorial Writing and for Best Sports Columnist at the Iowa Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in Des Moines.

Chris Haugen retired from teaching health and physical education at Horace Elementary School in West Fargo, N.D.

Gail Heffner-Charles has written a book, Voices of the Columbus Damenchor, to commemorate the 85th anniversary of the women’s choir from the historic German Village of Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1931, the choir is an auxiliary of the Columbus Maenncerchor founded in 1848—the longest continually active German singing society and social club in the United States.

Karl Jacobsen of Decorah was inducted into the Northeast Iowa Community College Hall of Fame for outstanding achievement throughout his career and community service.


Paul Hesterman retired as director of advising at the College of Management of Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., and was honored with the title of director emeritus.

Fred Koch is president and owner of Metrix RSCM in Eau Claire, Wis.

Paul Mann retired as principal of Woodside Elementary School after three decades in the Wisconsin Rapids (Wis.) Schools.


Jerome Rud traveled to Preikestolen in Norway.


Bonita (Bohning) Bock retired as director of Wartburg College West in Denver.

Mike Osterholm of Minneapolis has been selected by the U.S. Department of State as one of five 2018 U.S. science envoys. An internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology and coauthor of the 2017 book Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs, Osterholm is a leader in the research, prevention, and control of global infectious diseases. As a science envoy for health security, Osterholm will address biological threats by working with other countries on infectious disease preparedness and antimicrobial stewardship. 


Paula (Larson) Petersburg is vice president and trust officer at Clear Lake (Iowa) Bank and Trust.

Laurel (Ellison) Shultz of Greene, Iowa, retired after 37 years as vice president at Principal Financial Group.


Randy Krug is CFO at Metro Pavers in Iowa City, Iowa.

Brent Pederson retired from teaching elementary physical education at Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar, Minn.

Mark Scharff of St. Louis received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the executive board of Music OCLC Users Group.


Bob Hachmeister is a data analyst and database administrator for the Rockford (Ill.) Public School District.

John Mueller is a pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Dwight, Ill.


Steve Corson is co-owner of Kaiser-Corson Funeral Homes of Waverly, Iowa. He was recently named a member of the Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community board of directors.

Mary (Bunge) Docken of St. Paul, Minn., is vice president–outreach for Intellispark, an education technology company based in Virginia.

Ron Meddock of Phoenix, Ariz., is vice president of global client services at EWI Worldwide.

Alan Thorne resides in Port Isabel, Texas.

Kim Wall is president of Baensch Food Products. She and her business were featured in an article, “Made in Milwaukee: Ma Baensch Herring.”


Karen Angell of Eden Prairie, Minn., retired as a certified public accountant and partner at Baker Tilly.

Barb (Perry) Lutz ran into professor emeritus of English John Bale at Dunning’s Spring while visiting Luther friends in Decorah last fall.

Linda (Balster) Roberts is manager of the Invest in Incredible program at Gulf Coast Community Foundation in Venice, Fla.

Mark Tiedemann published a new book, The Belle of Nagasaki, available on Amazon and in the Luther Book Shop.


Mette Hammer is president of the New Minowa Players and was production manager for its recent staging of The Drowsy Chaperone, shown in Decorah this summer.

Ann (Nemec) Struve is owner of Struve Staging and Design, a full-service staging company in Iowa City, Iowa.

Tim Vinger is project manager at Wells Fargo in Phoenix, Ariz.


Nancy (Nickerson) Lee is artistic director for performing arts at Washburn Senior High School in Minneapolis. For the third year in a row, she received an honorable mention Tony Award and Carnegie Mellon University’s Excellence in Theatre Education Award. She is one of 24 teachers across the country to receive the honor among more than 1,000 who were nominated.

Tom Vix retired from teaching science and coaching basketball at Rushford-Peterson (Minn.) High School. He was named Section 1A Coach of the Year and State Class A Coach of the Year by the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association.


Paul Dahl is a nurse at HealthEast Woodwinds Hospital in Grand Marais, Minn.

Melanie (Wentland) Hoppenworth is vice president of finance and administration at the Rochester (Minn.) Area Chamber of Commerce.

Brenda (Severson) Meyer is a consulting actuary at Jacobson Group in Chicago.

Kym Oltrogge is associate director of policy, office of chief counsel, at Texas Health and Human Services Commission in Austin.
Jon Ray is an attorney at Conroy Simberg in Orlando, Fla.

Andrew Torgerson is CEO at American Roof Inspection Services in Fort Meyers, Fla.

John Waddle is the Coon Rapids–Bayard (Iowa) head baseball coach. He ranks sixth among active coaches on the wins list and ranks 21st in Iowa all-time. He reached his 700th career win early last summer.


Steven Berg is an AS400 programmer at Stine Seed Company in Dallas Center, Iowa.

Gail Bolson-Magnuson is owner of Agora Arts in Decorah. The gallery celebrated 25 years in business in 2017.

Jeffrey O’Brien is an architect and project leader at Slingshot Architecture in Des Moines, Iowa.

David Stork is of counsel in the Corporate Group at Stoel Rives in Portland, Ore.


Eric Brudos is chief operating officer at Copperplate Capital in Menlo Park, Calif.

Nathan Espe is EVP commercial underwriting at Cove Programs and is managing director, global construction and infrastructure, for Aon in Minneapolis.

Thomas Gilbertson of Apple Valley, Minn., is a cloud security architect for Optum Technology.

Jeff Nason is owner of JJ Nason Sales Consulting in San Diego.


Carla (Meyer) Coleman teaches first grade at an English-immersion school in Shenzhen, China.

Bill Kass is senior health inspector at the City of Minneapolis Department of Health.

Joe Sweet earned a master’s degree from Texas A&M University in College Station.

Mary (Sparks) Thompson is service line director of behavioral health services at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kennedy Thorne is a self-employed songwriter, psalmist, and minister. He recently released his first single, “Crucified,” and is working on an album.


Chris (Schweizer) Johnson is a professor, director of dance, and chair of the Theatre, Dance, and Media Studies Department at Beloit (Wis.) College. In May, she presented new choreographic work in the Side Street Studio Arts Going Dutch Festival in Elgin, Ill. Her piece, “Stuck in the Spoke,” was danced by Luther professor of dance Jane Hawley ’87. Chris was also selected to choreograph a piece for NEW Dances, which premiered at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago in July. In August, her piece “Social Construction” was presented in the Choreographers Showcase of the Detroit Dance City Festival.

Marleen (Madson) Lundberg is job service area manager at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in St. Paul.

Jay Mathis is superintendent of Allamakee (Iowa) Community School District.

Tim Mitchell is director of choral activities at Union Community Schools in La Porte City, Iowa. At the 2018 Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards, Tim received the Impact Award for his 30 years of work directing high school musical theatre. Tim was nominated by student Hunter Fleshner, pictured with him.

Kristin (Wolander) Trecker is chief human resources officer at Visteon in Belleville, Mich.


Linda Baldwin, under the pen name Linda Malcolm, attended the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She writes short personal essays on subjects ranging from deep-sea fishing and canning tomatoes to death and laundry and posts them at

Lisa Barth is owner and operator of Valhalla Barkery in Decorah.

Chris Boudewyns photographs portraits of Broadway and theatre performers. He recently had his first book cover published for Failing Up by Leslie Odom Jr.

Julie (Dereus) Henszey of Wauwatosa, Wis., is a corporate trainer, executive coach, and owner of Next Step Goals.

Linda Jordan is manager of advanced practice in the division of surgical services at Stanford Children’s Health in Palo Alto, Calif.

Connie (Foxworthy) Logeman received the 2018 Educator of the Year Award for St. Cloud Technical and Community College from the Minnesota State Board of Trustees.

Tom Noonan is president/CEO of the Austin (Texas) Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Kurt Radke earned a business degree from the College of St. Scholastica and is administrator of orthopedics at Essentia Health in Duluth, Minn.


Scott Houg is an insurance agent for State Farm in Waukon, Iowa.

Chris Hubbs is director of demand planning and S&OP at Patterson Companies in Eagan, Minn.

Tom Kraabel is principal at LeBaark Consulting in Singapore. Minn.


Vanessa (Grima Baldacchino) Frazier received Brazil’s highest honor—Dama di Gran Croce—in the Order of Rio de Branco for her work in coordinating the evacuation of about 3,000 Brazilians from Libya and enhancing Maltese-Brazilian relations.

Daniel Grossmann is resins technical services manager at Dianal America, a group company of Mitsubushi Chemical America, in Pasadena, Texas.

John Storsved is department chair, associate professor of exercise science and sport, and director of the athletic training program at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill.

Christopher Terry is vice president of business development at Knutson Construction in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Kris Tjaden was named a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Fellowship is one of the highest forms of recognition of an individual’s accomplishments given by ASHA. Kris is a professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences at the State University of New York–Buffalo.


Anne (Skow) Adix is a physical therapist at Above & Beyond Senior Services in Rogers, Minn. She also works as adjunct faculty in the physical therapist assistant program at Rasmussen College in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Mara (Graven) Brooks teaches third grade at Netherwood Knoll Elementary School in Oregon, Wis.

Allison (Huth) DeGraaf is director of teaching and innovation in the Janesville (Wis.) School District.


Stephanie Agresta is the global director of enterprise growth at Qnary in New York.

Anne Discher is executive director of the Child and Family Policy Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Emily (Lawrence) Meyer is costumer at Southwest High School and director of Confirmation Reformation in Minneapolis. She is also coauthoring and editing a book on Buddhist meditation and Christian contemplative practices and writes children’s stories for Clergy Stuff Resources.

Joelle Pretty earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Seattle University.

Sy Sarin is a physician at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

Pat Trewin is guidance counselor and head varsity football coach at Decorah High School.

Sandy (Mielke) Vaughn is an assistant teacher at Kindercare in Chanhassen, Minn.

Cynthia (Mausser) Williams is an account manager at Constellation Energy in Omaha, Neb.


DeAnn Barlow and Kurt Martinson of St. Anthony, Minn., launched their new bicycling and accessories company, äventyr, in May. DeAnn is owner and creative director, while Kurt is owner and CFO.

Sarah (Petersen) Cordray is senior pastor at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Syracuse, Neb.

Susan Marzolf is a technical writer for United Healthcare in Minneapolis.

Steve Mattson is a physical therapist with NovaCare Rehabilitation Services in Buffalo, Minn.

Elise (Eklund) Rothfusz is a pastor at Salem Lutheran Church in Peoria, Ill.

Deborah (Wilkinson) Sundal is senior vice president of product architecture, enterprise research, and development, at UnitedHealth Group. She was named a 2018 Women in Business honoree by the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal.


Sara (McMurry) Dady of Rockford, Ill., is an attorney at Dady and Hoffmann. In November, she will be the Democratic candidate for the 16th District congressional seat in Illinois.

Nicole (Hagel) Eisenmann teaches fourth grade for the Waconia (Minn.) Schools.

Heath Grimm is head wrestling coach at Upper Iowa University in Fayette. In March, he was named the NWCA Division II National Tournament Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

Troy Musel is a commercial loan review specialist at Western Bank in St. Paul, Minn.


Amy Farmer is a dentist at Cross Roads Dental in Longmont, Colo.

Dora (Harris) Kripapuri is director of legal recruitment and development at Cranfill Sumner and Hartzog in Raleigh, N.C.

Suzanne Lyndon and James Lee live in Des Moines, Iowa. Suzanne is an event planner for the Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University. Jim is an epidemiology officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scott Pankow is a solutions consultant at Deluxe Corporation in Wausau, Wis.

Mark Ritter is president and medical director at Methodist Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.


Angela (Koschmeder) Beck is principal at Blessed Sacrament School in Waterloo, Iowa.

Marianne (Shaw) Bernadino is a private practice psychiatrist in Rockport, Maine.

Jason Besler was appointed Linn County Sixth Judicial District judge in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by Iowa governor Kim Reynolds.

Teresa (Wheeler) Condon was honored for 20 years of service with Allamakee Community Schools at the district’s annual employee recognition event in May.

Nancy Groves is head of social media for the United Nations Department of Public Information in New York City. She returned to Decorah to speak with Luther English majors earlier this year. In May, she was invited to deliver the commencement address at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, her library science alma mater.

Debby (Bender) Gutierrez is a bilingual speech language pathologist at Hawthorne Early Childhood School in Wheeling, Ill.
Daniel Haddinger is an event specialist at the Roark Group in Rogers, Ark.

Jill Johnson is a registered nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minn.

Erica Kairis is community relations/diversity and inclusion lead and manager of HR strategy and planning at Thomson Reuters in Eagan, Minn.

Darcy Reed is an internist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.


Val (Yelton) Baul is a domestic paralegal at Kansas Legal Services in Kansas City. She is also a Kansas Supreme Court approved mediator.

Jennifer Boomgaarden is president and CEO of the Omaha Symphony in Nebraska.

Betsy (Clink) Candler is a lecturer at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

Rockne Cole is an attorney at Cole Law Firm in Iowa City, Iowa.

Chris Harris is senior wealth advisor at Hawkins Wealth Management in North Liberty, Iowa.

Turena Johnson Lane of Baton Rouge, La., was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s NCAA Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame.


Kjerstin Andreasen is senior executive officer for the research group for information systems at the University of Oslo in Norway.

Joe Grimstad is executive vice president of mortgage at Decorah Bank and Trust in Decorah.

Mary (Weis) Hellmark was in Washington, D.C., last spring for her daughter Kajsa’s National History Day competition. While walking in Cathedral Heights, she bumped into and had a chat with musician Dave Matthews.

Bill Richardson is senior vice president of business development for IMO and Prosperity Capital Advisors in Minneapolis.

Carolyn (Johnson) Vreeman is lead organizational change manager at Abbott in Minnetonka, Minn.   


Carryn (Ensrude) Anderson is a medical doctor at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. She was awarded the Steven M. Grunberg Memorial Award for the top abstract of over 900 international abstracts submitted to the 2018 Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology annual meeting in Vienna, Austria. Her abstract was also awarded Best of American Society of Clinical Oncology and Best of American Society for Radiation Oncology in 2018.

Rachel (Knutson) Dahl is an attorney at Hellmuth & Johnson in Edina, Minn.

Johanna Hayward Muniz is a cross-cultural bridge builder with Evangelical Covenant Church in France.

Matthew Williams earned a master’s degree in business administration and management from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn. He is a senior COBRA implementation manager at Discovery Benefits in Fargo, N.D.