Luther Alumni Magazine

Class Notes, 1961–1999

1961–1969 / 1970–1979 / 1980–1989 / 1990–1999


Daryl Erdman of Minneapolis and his daughter Denae (Erdman) Harder ’87 of Des Moines, Iowa, paired up to create their first children’s book series, Charlie the Snowshoe Rabbit. Daryl wrote the stories, which teach children life lessons about kindness, forgiveness, and difference, for his grandchildren about 15 years ago and asked Denae to bring them to life through pictures.

Bonnee Lauridsen of Lititz, Pa., retired from Episcopal Church Publishing.


Keith Hjelle of Guthrie Center, Iowa, is a sports writer for the Guthrie County Times Vedette.


Douglas Smith of Palm Coast, Fla., is lead instructor for the Grief Support Services Certificate Program at the University of Wisconsin and recently formed the Lay Ministry Training Center.


Harry Hindson of La Crosse, Wis., is bassoon and woodwind teaching techniques instructor at Winona State University and the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.


Tim Christ is a retired pastor in Fulshear, Texas.


Edith Copley of Flagstaff, Ariz., will retire in June after 31 years as director of choral studies at Northern Arizona University. She was also named president-elect of the American Choral Directors Association.


Jon Blumhagen of Orlando, Fla., is owner and digital designer of JAB Designs and founder of God’s Hands Agency. He and his wife, Earline, are planning their fourth Mission Possible Tour from Orlando to Alaska in 2021 (five months and 5,000 miles) on recumbent tricycles. The theme of the tour is “It Ain’t Too Late!”

Jana (Tatman) and Randy Bruns ’74 live in Ankeny, Iowa. Jana is a retired teacher. Randy is a retired trade review principal and the secretary-rules editor for NCAA Baseball.

Gordon Peterson is a retired ECLA minister and an adjunct professor at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan.
John Savre of San Diego is a retired military officer and volunteer deputy sheriff with search and rescue and the California DOT.


Pamela (Wohlfeil) Davick retired from the Rochester (Minn.) Public Schools.

Radford Decker of Austin, Texas, retired from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals and is the owner of ERD Pharma Consulting. He works with small to medium biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to help discover and develop new medicines.

Kurt Meyer is president of Humanities Iowa, a nonprofit promoting understanding and appreciation of the people, communities, culture, and stories of importance to Iowa and the nation.

Frederick Thoni of St. Paul, Minn., is director of healing ministry at North Heights Lutheran Church. He has been in pastoral ministry for 38 years.


Brad Schneider
Brad Schneider

Brad Schneider of Verona, Wis., retired after 38 years of teaching music. He is president-elect of the Wisconsin Music Educators Association, which is currently focused on advocating for music education access and equity for all Wisconsin students during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Robyn (Lundquist) Sloan of Lyons, Colo., is a classroom and behind-the-wheel instructor for Mountain States Driver Education.


Paul Pribbenow is president of Augsburg University and was appointed by Minnesota governor Tim Walz to the Young Women’s Initiative Council, which aims to eliminate barriers that young women face and provide a pathway forward to ensure their success.


Hans Brattskar of Asker, Norway, completed a four-year assignment as Norway’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. He is special envoy for climate for the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Martha Gesme Nielsen of Cary, Ill., is a member of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum Board of Directors.

Kristi Reinholtzen Westphal retired as registrar for Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn.

Carol Tomer is the redevelopment pastor at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Olympia, Wash.


Dan Kilen
Dan Kilen

Dan Kilen of Eldridge, Iowa, was inducted into the 2021 Iowa Rugby Hall of Fame by the Iowa Rugby Union. As captain of Luther’s rugby football club, Dan led the team to a second-place finish at the 1980 All-Iowa Rugby Tournament. He also played for the Quad City Irish and the US Eagles national team.

Mark Werning is chief operations officer for BankORION in Orion, Ill.


Pete Espinosa of Edina, Minn., is the CEO of Mortgage Cadence, owner and founder of Decorah’s Pulpit Rock Brewing, and vice president of enterprise sales and alliances at Limelight Health. He also serves on Luther’s Board of Regents.


Renee Dyshaw of Visalia, Calif., is a paralegal at the Law Offices of James P. Hurlbutt. Renee has completed 55 marathons and is training for her 56th in May 2021.

Roger Henserson will retire after 38 years of teaching—31 of them at Grinnell (Iowa) High School—at the end of the 2021 school year.

Kathy (Kemp) Kilen of Eldridge, Iowa, is a registered nurse at Clarissa Cook Hospice House.

Gaone Masire is a patron for the Family Foundation in Gaborone, Botswana, promoting governance and youth leadership.

Marilee (Reinertson) Torres is the minister for faith and life at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Lori Weiman of is coauthor of The Price of Health, which discusses how the US has reached its current state of affairs where drugs are priced out of reach of many Americans. It also looks at models and policies that might be useful in mitigating the current crisis without (hopefully) damaging the opportunity for future innovations in science and medicine.


Richard Anderson of Port Charlotte, Fla., is a teacher with the Charlotte County Public Schools.

Michael Bergan of Dorchester, Iowa, was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives for District 55.

Joseph Swift
Joseph Swift

Joseph Swift is a member at Baker Sterchi Cowden and Rice Law Firm in St. Louis.


Thea (Phelps) O’Grady of Marion, Iowa, retired after 30 years as a pediatric nurse. She is a knitting instructor at Kirkwood Community College.


Shawn Bina retired as provost of Vermilion Community College in Ely, Minn.

Kris Ferkin of Plainview, Minn., is an interim pastor for the ELCA Southeast Minnesota Synod.


Quentin Johnson is an animal control officer for Aurora, Ill., and also serves as deputy poet laureate for the city.

Chuck Miller is assistant medical director at Kaiser Permanente San Diego.

Todd Sands of Oronoco, Minn., is the CEO of Precision Chiropractic.

Joan (Schneider) and Kevin Schatz ’88 live in Sartell, Minn. Joan is copresident of Park Industries. She received the 2018 Step Ahead Award, a national award for women who have made a significant leadership impact in manufacturing. Kevin is founder and president of Reclamation Technologies.

Bret Van Camp of Ellsworth, Maine, retired from active duty as a US Army colonel after 32 years of service. He lives on his gentleman’s farm and has turned his focus to the regeneration of the American chestnut tree in the Eastern Woodlands.

Leah Vriesman of Hermosa Beach, Calif., is executive director of Executive Education Programs in Health Policy and Management and is on the faculty in UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. She is also president and founder of Excel Research, a strategy and leadership development consulting firm.

Eric Wulfsberg of Minneapolis is senior director of product line management at DZS.


Michael Klimesh of Spillville, Iowa, was elected to the Iowa State Senate for District 28.

Thomas Marquardt
Thomas Marquardt

Thomas Marquardt was appointed chief medical officer of Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah.


Brenda (Leonhart-Moen) Biesterfeld of Hope, Minn., is the owner of 1st Call Bail Bonds.

Debra Bullock earned a DMin from Bexley Seabury Seminary and is rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, Ill.

KC (Saterbak) DiNardo earned an MDiv from Fuller Seminary and is associate pastor at Hope Church in Richfield, Minn.

Tracy Johnson is city administrator for West Union, Iowa.

Debbie (Hess) Smith of Denver, N.C., is director of product management at Ellucian.

Jodie (Kill) Victoria is a visual arts teacher for the Denver (Iowa) Community School District.


Jason Strandberg of Hopkins, Minn., is a chiropractor and owner at Lake Minnetonka Mobile Wellness.


Stephanie (Grobner) Kalbach of Owatonna, Minn., is executive director of the Mentor Network.

Jon Trouten of Iowa City, Iowa, is a regional social worker at Mental Health/Disability Services of the East Central Region. Jon is also a dog park attendant for Iowa City.


Sheila Altman is a resource coordinator at Alliant Energy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Erik Columbus was named the 2020 Iowa and Central Section (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan) Boys Golf Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations. Erik is a special education teacher and head boys and girls golf coach at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Heidi (Waxenburg) Huff is vice president of business partnerships at IGA in Chicago.

Julie Jensen is clinic manager for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium in Sitka.

Shawna Kirby-Eckstein earned a master of science degree in nursing from Capella University and is a registered nurse at UnitedHealth Group in Minnetonka, Minn.

Kendra Mancusi of Minneapolis is EY law marketing and communications leader.

Owen Newman is an attorney and partner at Duane Morris in Chicago.

Rebekah (Jorstad) Tarras of Berlin, Wis., is pastor at Grace Lutheran Church and First Lutheran Church.

Kristin (Chelberg) Williams of Maple Grove, Minn., is senior agile project manager at Horizontal.

Julie (Edwards) Worthington of Riverside, Calif., co-owns Shine Craft Vessels with her husband, Timothy.


Nathan Ferris is a patrol sergeant with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Balsam Lake, Wis., and team leader, medic, and trainer for their SWAT team. He is also a board member for Positive Alternatives, a nonprofit multiservice organization that operates five group homes around the state for at-risk youth.


Kari (Bersagel) and Matthew Bersagel Braley ’97 live in La Crosse, Wis. Matthew earned a PhD from Emory University and is associate professor in ethics, culture, and society and director of honors at Viterbo University. Kari is the cofounder and executive director of GROW La Crosse, a nonprofit organization that connects children to healthy food and nature. They collaborate with local schools to establish school gardens and create experiences at local organic farms.

Brian Remfrey is director of sales strategy, central EMEA at in San Francisco.

Thatcher Vagts
Thatcher Vagts

Thatcher Vagts earned an MBA degree from Utah State University. He was recently appointed CEO of the Synergy Company in Moab, Utah. While overseeing Synergy’s research and development department, he helped it bring more than 25 new products to market. He was also instrumental in formalizing Synergy’s community outreach program, which contributed more than $100,000 to local nonprofit organizations in 2020.

Joe Yanda was named CEO of Lakeside Foods in Manitowoc, Wis.


Brad Herrick is an ecologist and research program manager at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in Madison.

Angela Kade Goepferd of Minneapolis is a pediatrician and the chief education officer at Children’s Minnesota. Angela received the Special Recognition Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2019 for education and advocacy for LGBTQ+ youth. Angela was also a featured speaker on “the revolutionary truth about kids and gender identity” for TEDxMinneapolis in fall 2020.

Joel Miron is a pathologist at CentraCare Health and St. Cloud Pathologists PA in St. Cloud, Minn.

Bradley Nussdorfer of Minneapolis is the strategic enrollment manager at Strategic Education.

Lori (Hagen) Schoenhard of Marion, Iowa, is senior business operations manager, global business operations, at Cornerstone on Demand.

Jody Slavick of Ft. Collins, Colo., earned a PhD in education with an emphasis in equity, bilingualism, and biliteracy from the University of Colorado–Boulder and is a research associate at the university’s BUENO Center.

Cory Wikan was named dean of the Hurley School of Music at Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport beginning July 1, 2021.