Luther Alumni Magazine

Class Notes, 1958–1999

1958–1959 / 1960–1969 / 1970–1979 / 1980–1989 / 1990–1999


Philip Rogers of Lanesboro, Minn., is a retired history teacher at Albert Lea Senior High School.


Deanna (Blunt) Roen was chosen by the Music Teachers National Association as the 2019 Foundation Fellow for the state of Wisconsin. She has directed church and community choirs for over 50 years and handbell choirs for over 30 years. She has also been a private vocal and piano instructor and music teacher in private and public schools for 58 years. Deanna currently directs the English Hand Bell Choir in Prescott, Wis.


Ron Lee was music professor and department chair at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. In retirement, he wrote a book titled Norwegian Mountains to Minnesota Farmland: Tom O. Rannai [Fosse] Lee, Their Ancestors and Families, 1620–2004. The book focuses on the life, family, and ancestors of Tom Lie (later Lee), who in 1879 left his family farm in Sogn, Norway, which is still owned and operated by the family today, to start a new life in the less hilly and more fertile soils of Minnesota.


Harvey Estebo, born on a leap day in 1934, still works as a substitute teacher for the Allamakee (Iowa) School District. Students from the middle and high school helped celebrate his 86th birthday on Feb. 29, 2020.


Carol Birkland of Decorah was appointed to the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum and Heritage Center Board of Trustees.


Gary Johnson has retired from Johnson & Johnson Land Company in Cumberland, Wis.

Janice (Brankin) Leonhardt is a retired physics teacher at New Trier Township High School in Wadsworth, Ill.


Carin (Malmanger) Allhiser of Appleton, Wis., is a retired research biologist and biology professor at the University of Wisconsin–Fox Valley and is currently involved in three environmental groups at state and local levels.

Cathie (Striemer) Bergstrand of Eden Prairie, Minn., is a retired second-grade teacher at Waconia School District.

Kathleen (Grothe) Grogan is a retired CPA at the Indiana Historical Society in Lafayette.

Barbara (Franklin) Heil is a retired educational consultant in Port Angeles, Wash.

Carolyn (Peterson) and Bill Kobler live in Rockford, Ill. Carolyn is a retired medical records clerk. Bill is a retired medical director at OSF Healthcare System and member of the board of trustees for the American Medical Association.

Roger Kruger is a retired financial systems administrator in Canal Winchester, Ohio.

Diane (Lebakken) Nelson is a retired travel consultant in Knoxville, Iowa.

Lani (Morf) Vabulas is a retired French teacher in Arlington Heights, Ill.


Lois (Anderson) and Bruce Garbisch ’70 live in Cook, Minn. Bruce is a retired medical director at Cook Hospital.

Joyce (Szymkowiak) Gunderson of Georgetown, Texas, is a retired teacher from the Department of Defense Schools.


Peggy (Smith) and Steve Sorensen ’71 live in Woodbury, Minn. Peggy is a retired second-grade teacher. Steve is a retired financial planner.


Gary Esboldt is a retired pastor in Wilmar, Minn.

Joel Mjolsness is a strategic account executive at Amazon Web Services in San Jose, Calif.

Barbara Schultz is a retired pastor in West Yorkshire, England.


Michael Adams is a retired project director for the Department of Defense in Lutherville, Md.

Mary (Edson) Gerzema is a retired teacher in Buffalo Center, Iowa.

Michael Goze is the chief executive officer of the American Indian Community Development Corporation in Minneapolis. During the Black Lives Matter protests, Michael and Frank Paro, the president of the American Indian Movement (AIM), helped protect the Indian community businesses from potential damage. The two men along with volunteers created the AIM street patrol in order to protect local stores if looting were to happen. The pair were featured in a story, “American Indian patrol in Minneapolis credited with saving buildings during protests,” by Jean Hopfensberger in the June 11, 2020, edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Linda Harris is a retired physician in Medford, Ore.

Terry Johnson of Jefferson, Iowa, retired as CEO of Genesis Development after 40 years at the helm of the not-for-profit rehabilitation organization that provides support for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. With a staff of nearly 500, the organization serves more than 4,750 people annually across Iowa, with facilities in 16 locations. Upon his retirement, the Jefferson Rotary Club named Terry the Professional of the Year.

Mark Nixon is the retired director of business development in Boulder City, Nev.


Sonya Forseth retired as a paralegal with a focus in child protection and family support at the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis.


Bradley Haugen of Northfield, Minn., retired as controller at Pearson.

Douglas Lohafer of San Jose, Calif., is a health physicist at New World Environmental. Doug is an essential worker during the COVID pandemic and still travels for his job despite the risks. Lohafer has been serving at various nuclear power facilities around the country including those in Mississippi, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Virginia.

Karen (Brandt) Monsen was inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, which recognizes nurse researchers who have achieved national or international recognition and whose research has improved the profession of nursing and the people it serves. Karen is a methodological expert, and her methods have been applied and adopted internationally, advancing knowledge discovery using large terminology datasets. She leads the international Omaha System Community of Practice and Research Network. Karen is professor, Population Health and Systems Cooperative, at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in Minneapolis.

David Nichols is a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Topeka, Kan. He was appointed to the board of directors for Special Olympics Kansas.


Cindy (Anderson) and Shawn Bina ’87 live in Ely, Minn. Cindy retired from her career as a mental health counselor and now designs and creates jewelry under the name Natural Inspiration. Shawn is a provost at Vermillion Community College.

Karen (Kurth) Dunn is a private piano and voice instructor at Curious Chords Music Studio in Buda, Texas.

Linda Short is retired from performing, university teaching, and private business. She spends her time as a tour guide at the Red River Zoo in Fargo, N.D., and at campaign headquarters in Moorhead, Minn.


Steven Corson is a retired funeral director at Kaiser-Corson Funeral Homes in Waverly, Iowa.

Rebecca (Skaar) Grabow of Madison Lake, Minn., is a retired music specialist.


Mary (Christainson) Hansen of Rochester, Minn., is the president and CEO of Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union. She was selected as one of the top women in finance of 2019 by Finance & Commerce. Mary was given the Minnesota Icon Award and the Circle of Excellence Award, which is given to only five Minnesota women in the financial field per year.

Kathleen (Smith) and William Kalsow live in Shoreview, Minn. Kathy is a retired project manager at Hewlett-Packard. Bill is a retired computer programmer at PCT.

Barbara (Perry) Lutz of Waverly, Iowa, is the chief underwriter at F&G Annuities and Life. She is a fellow in the Academy of Life Underwriting and former president of Home Office Life Underwriters Association.

Tom Maakestad is the owner and artist at Maakestad Studio in Marine on St. Croix, Minn. Tom has upheld his studio for over 20 years, and his paintings have been shown in exhibits and publications worldwide. His recent series for the Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais, Minn., are based on the northern boreal forests of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. An article in the June edition of Norwegian American featured these paintings and Maakestad’s career.

Anne (Koch) and Wayne Minske live in Chanhassen, Minn. Ann is a paraprofessional with the Shakopee Schools. Wayne retired as a district court administrator in Hennepin County.

Amy (Johnson) Pollitt is a retired vocal music teacher in Belmond, Iowa.

Diane Wiese-Bjornstal is a professor of sport psychology and associate director of the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She was inducted as a fellow into the National Academy of Kinesiology.


Dirk Darnell is senior clinical research nurse at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.


Christine Alpers Holm is a payer relations manager at OrthoLoneStar in Austin, Texas.

Karen DeBauche retired as band director at Urbana (Iowa) Middle School after teaching for 30 years. She was selected to represent Illinois for the 2019 School Band and Orchestra magazine’s Annual Directors Who Make a Difference Award.


Sally (Roloff) and James Peters ’80 live in Independence, Iowa. Sally is office manager at Peters and Longmuir. James is an attorney at Peters and Longmuir.


Steve Hopkins, CPM, is nonpoint source coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Des Moines and author of the DNR’s Earth Day blog.

Solveig (Eiler) Perrett is a middle school teacher at Valentine (Neb.) Community School and works seasonally as a national park ranger.

Tina (Koenig) Ray is a spiritual and grief counselor at Agrace Hospice in Madison, Wis.

Judy (Iverson) and Peter Ylvisaker ’84 live in Marion, Iowa. Judy is a medical technologist at UnityPoint Health. Peter is the senior director at Peter has also written a book titled Growing Up Decorah: A Short Story, reminiscing about his experiences living within the Decorah community. He shared his experiences of writing the book with alumni in July as part of the Luther College Alumni Book Club/Paideia III series.


John Petter Anderson of Washburn, Wis., is the deputy chief judge of the 10th Judicial District. He was the recipient of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 2020 Judge of the Year Award. His peers note that “Judge Anderson embodies the ideals we all hope for in a judge. His dedication is palpable, and his energizing community engagements bring community faith in his courtroom.” Outside of the courtroom, Anderson is the Washburn High School boys’ basketball assistant coach and a local history buff.

Laura Brandt is the director of foundation services at the North Hennepin Community College Foundation in Plymouth, Minn.

Brenda (Bertelsen) Burke is a clinical nutritionist and a certified diabetes educator for UW Health/University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wis.

Michael Dorigan is principal at Conversion Financial Services in St. Louis, Mo.

David Gross is an enrollment coordinator at Siouxland PACE, Unitypoint Health in Sioux City, Iowa.

Steven Reeves is a physician and the internal medicine department chief at Greater Regional Medical Center in Creston, Iowa.

David Shook is the associate dean for undergraduate studies in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. He is also an associate professor of Spanish in Georgia Tech’s School of Modern Languages.

Karen (Antons) Sindelar is a holistic health practitioner in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area.

Jean Solberg of Dixon, Ill., retired as a correctional sergeant with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Cassandra Warner is the chief financial officer and senior vice president at Weis Builders in Minneapolis. She was named one of the top women in finance of 2018 by Finance & Commerce and also serves as the board treasurer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

Paul Weatherly is a commercial pilot for Central Air Southwest in Kansas City, Mo. The owner of the company gifted Paul with a new airplane on his 20th anniversary with the company. Following a suggestion from classmate Jay Kamin ’85, Paul named the plane Spirit of Decorah and had it custom painted with the Norse logo. Kamin, a former stand-up comedian, has also dubbed the airplane the Enola Nas in honor of Luther coach Bob Naslund ’65.

Gordon Weber was named senior vice president of legal, general counsel and secretary for SurModics in Eden Prairie, Minn.


Kristin Musgjerd of Holmen, Wis., is a retired assistant director of pharmacy.

Dean Pribbenow was named the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Elmhurst (Ill.) College.

Rachel Reitan of New Orleans is a physician with the Louisiana State University Healthcare Network in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a medical reporter and editor on the local ABC News segment Dr. Rachel: The Teaching Doctor. Rachel was appointed to the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum and Heritage Center Board of Trustees.


Callista (Bisek) Gingrich, US ambassador to the Holy See, received the title Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Pope Pius IX by Pope Francis. It is the highest distinction conferred by the Vatican on laypersons.

Kari (Schneider) Vara is an interactive learning designer at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.


Missy (Halverson) Bratland earned an EdM degree with reading emphasis from Augustana University. She is the reading and math specialist/interventionist for the Spring Grove (Minn.) Public Schools.

Ann Marie (Knecht) Potter is the program director of occupational therapy at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa.


Diane (Olson) and Dan Hinderaker live in Ames, Iowa. Diane is executive director at Boone County Probation and a chairperson on the Boone County Human Services Council. Dan is a mortgage specialist with Wells Fargo.


David Heine is a family medicine physician at MercyOne Albert Lea (Minn.) Clinic.


David Bartelt is a medical doctor and has been caring for COVID-19 patients at the Medical Center of Aurora in the Denver metro area since the start of the pandemic. He writes, “We are past the peak now, but it is still impacting the hospital environment, and we are in anticipation of if, when, and how big will be the next peak. In the midst of it all, I was able to make a trip to Decorah to bring my son Milan ’23 home from Luther.”

Emily (Lawrence) Meyer is the director of the ministry lab, a joint ministry of the UCC, UMC, and Presbyterian churches in Minnesota, located in United Theological Seminary in St. Paul.


Jennifer (Afdahl) and Sean Coleman live in Clarksville, Ark. Jennifer is a professor of nursing at Arkansas Tech University. Sean is the dean of natural health sciences at the University of the Ozarks.

Mark Lees is captain and team leader of the technical rescue team at the Elk River (Minn.) Fire Department.

Tia (Johnson) Stringer earned a doctorate in nurse anesthesia practice from Missouri State University in Springfield. She is a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.


Allison (Walker) Allen is the senior specialist for the executive office at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Amanda Corbett is a program evaluation specialist on the fiscal analysis and performance measurement team at the Minnesota Department of Human Services in Minneapolis.

Maria Dewey earned a DNP degree from St. Catherine University. She is director of clinical services at Pediatech Nursing in Minnetonka, Minn.


Caytie (Jorgensen) and Mark Anderson ’97 live in Minneapolis. Caytie is the administrative team lead at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. Mark is project director at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Amy (Raddatz) Buch is the law operations manager at Adams County Communications Authority in Commerce City, Colo.

Steve Dahl earned MBA and MSW degrees from Augsburg University. He is the director of the Minnesota Department of Human Services in St. Paul.

Sara (Anderson) and Bryan Doherty ’97 live in St. Louis Park, Minn. Sara is the senior designer at CH Robinson. Bryan is the senior vice president at Ameriprise Financial.

Thomas Hueser is an oral surgeon at Mississippi Valley Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Davenport, Iowa.

Samuel Kivi is an acupuncturist Chinese medical practitioner at ACME Body Health in Edina, Minn. He has a master’s degree in Chinese medicine acupuncture and applied associate science degree in massage therapy body work.

Ann (Stensaas) Short is an occupational therapist at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho.

Cuneyt Soydas is a managing partner at Dale Carnegie in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Joe Waterman of San Francisco designed a number of items featured on Junction City Mercantile, the merchandise website for John Cameron Mitchell, creator of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Joe’s designs include a David Bowie–inspired T-shirt, and proceeds from all sales of the site’s merchandise benefit the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund to fund a scholarship in the names of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee.


Jennifer (Nielsen) and Matt Snow live in Spring Green, Wis. Jennifer is the choir director and Bryan is the band director in the River Valley School District.


Erin Felten is an associate attorney at Hoversten, Johnson, Beckmann, and Hovey in Austin, Minn.

Amy Parker Fiebelkorn is a senior epidemiologist in the Immunization Services Division and also the Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Response Program deputy for the Vaccine Task Force at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She is the lead of the Influenza Working Group for the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit and also a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service. She is the technical lead of several multimillion-dollar contracts and cooperative agreements focused on improving adult immunization and decreasing disparities.

Sarah Updegraff earned an EdD degree in education from Drake University. She is principal for Lansing Kee High School and Middle School in Lansing, Iowa.

Tricia Walker earned an MBA degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the head of digital operations at MassMutual in Springfield, Mass.


Peter Kowitz is pastor at Decorah Lutheran Church.

Kirsten (Olson) O’Quinn is a board-certified family medicine physician at Full Circle Family Medicine in Germantown, Wis.

April (Johnson) and Brian Remfrey live in Bülach, Switzerland. April is the founder and special education consultant of Remfrey Educational Consulting. Brian is the partner development manager at Microsoft.

Scott Steffen is the development associate at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.


Bradley Herrick is the ecologist and research program manager at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum.