Luther Alumni Magazine

Class Notes, 1954–1999

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


Maynard Anderson served as moderator for a panel discussion on the implications of Brexit, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, in Washington, D.C., on March 20.

Hamlet Peterson was inducted into the initial class of the Hall of Fame by the Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America (POSNA) at its annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C., last May. The organization began in 1975 with a dinner party of nine orthopedic surgeons at Peterson’s home and a one-day meeting at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The next meeting in Atlanta the following year attracted 32 attendees. The recent meeting in Charlotte was attended by over 900 pediatric orthopedists from around the world, and POSNA now has over 1,700 members.


Waldo Smeby attended the dedication of the “Jan Again Center for Hope and Safety” at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City. The resource center was funded by a $900,000 donation from the Jan Again Foundation, established in 1999, in honor of Waldo’s late wife, Jan Smeby. The center provides free access to information on community resources for those struggling with mental illness.


Marvin Andersen was accepted into the American Mensa Society.


Nancy (Smith) Haas of St. Cloud, Minn., is a retired volunteer teacher.


Lee Afdahl of Pine Island, Minn., is retired after nearly 50 years of church music ministry.

Kate (Stadler) Haugen of Minneapolis retired from her position as associate vice president for student affairs at North Dakota State University.

Becky (Linnevold) Shaw was named a 2019 Women of Influence honoree by Business Record. Shaw joined Des Moines University six years ago after serving as an OB/GYN physician in private practice for 26 years. In 2004, she was named medical director of Iowa Health–Des Moines Midwifery Services, a position she held for nearly 10 years. Over the past six years, she has led students on four global medical service trips to third-world countries. Shaw also serves on the Des Moines Symphony board.
Shaw has been recognized with numerous awards, including Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser from the Association of Fundraising Professionals; the Phi Beta Kappa Alumnus Award from Luther College; the Alpha Omega Alpha Alumnus Award from the University of Iowa College of Medicine; and the Women of Vision Award from the Young Women’s Resource Center.


Janice (Olson) and Wilbert Bond ’70 live in Portland, Ore. Janice is the author and illustrator of Zebra Plays Zither: An Animal Alphabet and Musical Revue, published by Pomegranate Press. Her book will be available in Sept. 2019.

Kristin (Dumas) Wilson earned a doctor of ministry degree from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Mo.


Pat (Holtorf) Branstad retired from teaching German at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. She recently coedited Your Story, My Story, Our Story, a collection of immigration stories of St. James residents. She is also working on developing an online high school–level German language and culture course.

Jay Casper of Hortonville, Wis., retired from John Deere.

Stephanie Hoff, now of Decorah, has retired from her position as the Iowa Administrative Code editor.

Susan (Swenson) Juergensmeier is a tour guide at Keystone Nordic Center in Dillon, Colo.

Curt Wollan worked with Dolly Parton to develop a musical called Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol. The musical was adapted from a book by David Bell, with music by Dolly Parton, directed by Curt.


Erica (Trytten) Helmick is senior director of quality and patient safety at St. Luke’s Health System in Boise, Idaho.


Ruth Drews retired as an ELCA clergyperson in 2017, but continues to be an ordained Lutheran minister. She preaches regularly in the Springfield, Mo., area.

Jerry Klevan is a millwork shop worker at Root River Hardwoods in Preston, Minn.

Ron Larson of McFarland, Wis., is retired from his position as librarian at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Lisa Peter Howard retired from full-time orthodontic practice in Maine and now divides her time between Ft. Myers, Fla., and Harrison, Maine. She is involved in the New England Society of Orthodontists and will become president in the fall of 2022.


David Bennett of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a retired schoolteacher.

John Hanewall is a visiting instructor of psychology at Beloit College in Beloit, Wis.

Amy (Kiesler) Kust of Brooklyn Park, Minn., is a retired elementary school teacher.

Paul Pribbenow was named Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He is president of Augsburg University in Minneapolis.

Lee Valenta is president at Optum International in Eden Prairie, Minn.


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


Julia (Soukup) Casner is an emergency medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wis.

Trudee (Petersen) Green is head of performing arts at Chevalier Catholic College in Australia.

Jean (Ylvisaker) Ohman is head pastor at United Lutheran Church in Elbow Lake, Minn.

Timothy G. Ruff Welch is director of Zapopan Municipal Choir in Zapopan, Mexico.


Judith (Tollefsrud) Halverson is rehab manager of education at Ochsner Health System in Jefferson, La.

Sue Rothmeyer of Oak Park, Ill., was elected secretary of the ELCA by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. A deacon who serves as executive for administration with the ELCA Office of the Secretary, she a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Chicago.

Dale Wilharm of Decorah retired from teaching in the Decorah Community Schools.


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


Carmelita Afflalo-Neal is deputy budget director for the Chicago Public Schools.

Kerry (Kramer) Johnson of Decorah retired as a fourth-grade teacher from the Decorah Community Schools.

Beth (Beutler) Lind retired after 33 years of teaching seventh-grade English language arts at John Muir Middle School in Wausau, Wis.

Greg Lonning is program advisor for health and physical education at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.

Judy (Finanger) Moen of Decorah retired as a kindergarten teacher from the Decorah Community Schools.

Brett Olson practices family medicine at Lakes Regional Hospital in Spirit Lake, Iowa. He teaches third-year medical students for the rural family medicine rotations with the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

David Torgelson was elected to a sixth term as Renville County (Minn.) attorney.

Bruce Warner is president and owner of BBarton in Bloomington, Minn.


Jim Berg is vice president, business development and client management, at Vizient in Irving, Texas.

Sylvia Berrios-Merrit of Cresco, Iowa, retired as a teacher from the Decorah Community Schools.

Lori Drinovsky-Sojka is a special education consultant at the Des Moines (Iowa) Public Schools.

Sara (Andreasen) Hopkins is a clinical social worker at Compass Clinical Associates in Urbandale, Iowa.

Bruce Lutz is a financial advisor at Centennial State Financial in Greenwood Village, Colo.

Melanie Porter-Kunz is a HBPC social worker at Albuquerque (N.M.) Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


Philip DeVries is a trust officer at ANB Bank in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Charlie Hoven is operations manager with Applause Catering and Events in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jim Looft is director of sales and marketing at KS2 Technologies in Grapevine, Texas.

Mike Noll was inducted into the Illinois Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on March 30, 2019. Noll is 235-73 over 29 seasons as a head coach, a winning percentage of .763. He coached 16 seasons at McHenry, 12 at Glenbrook South, and last year at Richmond-Burton High School. His teams have been to the playoffs 27 times. In his first season at the helm of Richmond-Burton last fall, the team finished 11-2, losing to eventual Class 4A state champion IC Catholic in the semifinals.

Sally (Rolloff) Orr is product manager, inside sales, at ElectroTech in Minneapolis.


Jamie Skjeveland is superintendent for the Crosby-Ironton (Minn.) School District.

Ragna Urberg is corporate counsel at Benchmark Human Services in Fort Wayne, Ind.


Craig Brandt is a lawyer with Moss & Barnett in Minneapolis.

Greg DeSautel is a surgeon at Northwest Iowa Ear, Nose, and Throat in Spencer.

David Jepsen is project manager at Project Resource Solutions in Chicago.

Dave Massaglia earned a doctorate in business administration from Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis.

Kris (Kleppe) Olson is director of the Career Center at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.


Michael Flittie is chief information officer at Erin Baker’s Wholesome Baked Goods in Bellingham, Wash.

Paul Hanstedt is director of pedagogical innovation and John P. Fishwick Professor of English at Roanoake College in Salem, Va. He was named founding director of the Center for Academic Resources and Pedagogical Excellence (CARPE) at Washington and Lee University.

Cathy (Guldberg) Kent is an accounting professional for Kingland Systems in Clear Lake, Iowa.

David Lietz is of counsel with Varnell and Warwick in Lady Lake, Fla.

Jolene (Melby) Link is an elementary school social worker at Walker Hackensack Akeley (Minn.) Public Schools.

Lori (Tigges) Ollendick is a therapist at Harbour Wellness and Counseling Center in Dubuque, Iowa.


David DenHartog is director of innovative learning for the Green Schools National Network and founder of Pannect Ed, both in Boise, Idaho.

Amy Easton Bingenheimer is program manager II at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Whitney Eigenfeld is franchise owner at Liberty Tax Service in Hudson, Wis.

Mark Fahey was elected to the Portage (Wis.) School Board. He talked about his goals for the district in a recent Portage Daily Register article.

Gary Fisk of Americus, Ga., has published a book, Slides for Students, about better ways to teach with PowerPoint technology.

Darren Riehle is business analyst at LabVantage Solutions in Somerset, N.J.


Donna (Reinke) Anderson earned a PhD in higher education leadership from Colorado State University–Fort Collins. She is senior internal officer at the University of Montana in Missoula.

Matt Brandt was appointed to the State Board of Health and Senior Services in Springfield, Mo.

Jill Nepper is process guru at There With Care in Boulder, Colo.

Jit (Raksinh) and Erik Rotto ’89 live in Minneapolis. She is a social worker for Placement Partners MN. He is manager at Lakewinds Food Co-Op in Richfield, Minn.


Kyle Elsbernd teaches English and directs drama at Union Grove (Wis.) High School.

David Heimer is assistant principal at Heritage High School in Littleton, Colo.

David Heine is a family medicine physician at the Cresco (Iowa) Medical Clinic.

Chris Heinrich is attorney and shareholder at O’Neill, Heinrich, Damkroger, Bergmeyer, and Shultz in Lincoln, Neb.

Elizabeth (Tabatt) Ziemann teaches kindergarten for the Northfield (Minn.) Public Schools.


Dave Anderson is a sales and marketing consultant at Goerend Transmission in St. Lucas, Iowa.

Eric Anderson is an insurance underwriter for Prudential Financial in St. Paul, Minn.

Todd Baxter is director of clinical services for AmerisourceBergen’s Lash Group in the Dallas–Fort Worth (Texas) area.

Matt Beatty of Eden Prairie, Minn., is a self-employed travel industry executive.

Greg Irving earned a master’s degree in conservation ecology from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Bangkok, Thailand. He is program coordinator with Lutheran World Federation in Yangon, Myanmar.

Pete Johnson is information technologist at CentraCare Health in St. Cloud, Minn.

Shari (Julson) Seidl is accounts payable manager at Georgia-Pacific Corporation in Green Bay, Wis.


Erik Beguin of Austin, Tex., was inducted into the Onalaska High School Hall of Fame. Beguin is a nationally recognized banking and financial services entrepreneur and consumer advocate. He founded Austin Capital Bank to serve the needs of working-class families in 2006, and in 2018, he founded Credit Strong to help Americans with low credit scores build their credit profile to break the high cost of personal debt. Austin Capital Bank is one of the best performing and fastest growing banks in the nation.

Lena (Katzenmaier) Christiansen is principal at Weaver Lake Elementary in Osseo, Minn. She previously served for seven years as principal at Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary in St. Paul, Minn. She has been an assistant principal and teacher on special assignment for the St. Paul School District, where she taught third and fifth grade for 14 years.

Sean Coleman is dean of mathematics and sciences and professor of biology at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark.

Zain Diwan is vice president, application management and data architecture, at U.S. Bank in St. Paul, Minn.

Chris Fuchs is senior product manager at MoneyGram International in the greater Minneapolis–St. Paul area.

Anjie Shutts of Des Moines, Iowa, is a family law attorney with Whitfield & Eddy. She was elected as an officer in line for the presidency of the Iowa State Bar Association. She will serve as the vice president in 2019–20, president-elect in 2020–21, and as the 135th president of the Iowa State Bar Association in 2021–22. The Iowa State Bar Association represents over 8,000 lawyers across the state of Iowa.

Melissa Wolfe is a biologist at Western Ecosystems Technology in Cheyenne, Wyo.


Serina Norvold Bentley is director of faith formation and minister of music at Ezekiel Lutheran Church in River Falls, Wis.

Kim Christianson is director of human resources and administration at Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Kristin Hall earned master of arts and specialist in education degrees from Concordia University in Mequon, Wis. She is curriculum specialist for the Elk River (Minn.) Area School District.

Jason Happel and his wife, Sheila, own and operate Moo Moo’s Ice Cream Truck fleet in the Cedar Rapids–Iowa City, Iowa, area. The company specializes in Iowa-made ice cream products.

Chad Martinson of Minneapolis is CEO at ACOVA Integrated Health.

Andy Mork teaches art at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School in St. Paul, Minn.

Dawn Siu is music panel head at Ho Dao College in Hong Kong.


Michelle (Mann) Abel is a tax partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston.

Tricia (Fink) Davis is designer and owner of TRDavis Design in Maple Grove, Minn.

Maureen (McGraw) Duncklee is vice president and branch manager at Farmers and Merchants Savings Bank in Decorah.

George Leistikow is a financial advisor with EFS Advisors in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Jon Ploetz is vice president, assistant general counsel, and assistant corporate secretary at Harsco Corporation in Camp Hill, Pa.

Amalia Vagts of Decorah is a candidate for word and sacrament ministry in the Northeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA. Her year of pastoral internship is a collaboration between Luther College Student Congregation and campus pastor Anne Edison-Albright, Bethany Lutheran Church in Elkader, and Emanuel Lutheran Church in Strawberry Point with Pastor Susan Friedrich. Her candidacy is sponsored by her home congregation, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Following this internship year, she will return to Wartburg Theological Seminary School in Dubuque, Iowa, for a final year of study.

Kristin (Chelberg) Williams is project manager at Magnet360 in Minneapolis.


Marti (Zacher) Crosby is vice president of strategic growth and business development at the Disruptive Element in Minneapolis.

Jonathan Larson is senior motion designer at LendingClub in San Francisco.

Ray Melton is partner at SmithAmundsen in Rockford, Ill.

Eric Scott is a board-certified vascular and endovascular surgeon at the Iowa Clinic in West Des Moines.

Hans Steine of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is an anesthesiologist with Linn County Anesthesiologists.


Valerie (Yelton) Baul is a driver’s license examiner for the state of Kansas. (phonathon)

Matthew Bersagel Braley is associate professor of philosophy and ethics and director of the honors program at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis.

Laurie (Arneson) Emery earned a master of education degree from St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn. She is a high school mathematics teacher for the South Winneshiek (Iowa) Community School District.

Sara Gunderson is a garden-based nutrition educator at Denver Urban Gardens.

Brent Heibner is project coordinator at York Solutions in Minneapolis.

Josh Manchester is licensed sales producer with Allstate-Manchester Insurance Agency in Lemont, Ill.

Chad Meacham is talent acquisition operations program manager at Teradata in Dayton, Ohio.

Steve Runde and his wife, Alice, were recognized by the Decorah Historic Preservation Commission for their restoration of the Poultry House and Carriage House on the Weiser Mansion property at 608 W. Broadway. The building is a contributing property on the National Register for the Broadway–Phelps Park Historic District.

Sarah (Larsen) Ryner is an occupational therapist at Central Rivers Area Education Agency in Cedar Falls, Iowa.


Brian Bergstrom is assistant professor of psychology at Maryville University in St. Louis.

Sharlene Bohr of Cresco, Iowa, is director at Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center.

Marti (Dettman) Post is corporate compliance/privacy officer at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien, Wis.

Cara Presley is director of Youth and Family Services for the Town of Westborough, Mass.

Kevin Schmoll is an application systems engineer for Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

Joel Zylstra is director and managing trial attorney at CNA Insurance in Minneapolis.


Jacci (Stauffacher) Baker is a librarian for the Mount Horeb (Wis.) Area School District.

Kate (Starz) Boonstra is an extended-learning program teacher at Prairieview School in Waukee, Iowa.

Brent Ebling is finance lead at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.

Lori (Hagen) Schoenhard earned a master’s degree in computer information systems from Boston University. She is senior project manager at Episerver in Nashua, N.H.

Kari (Todnem) Wendroth is a licensed realtor at Coldwell Banker Burnet in Buffalo, Minn.