Memorials are times when all of us reflect on the lives of people we love and also on our own lives. What do we value most, celebrate, and lift up for others? Where do we put our faith? Who do we care for and how do we show them we care? Monday of this week all of these thoughts were rolling through my mind while attending the memorial service for Gladys Strommen who was a long time benefactor of Augsburg and part of a large family tree full of Auggies.
Below is a photo of Gladys on the day we cut the ribbon to dedicate The Strommen Center at Augsburg. She was really happy! During the service her son Bob mentioned this day and how meaningful it was to his mom. It was meaningful to all of us at Augsburg too!
At the memorial service I was reminded that the first Augsburg event I ever attended was a reception Gladys hosted in her home in Naples, Florida. She was gracious and welcoming and clearly a sort of Augsburg matriarch. She help found the Augsburg Associates–a group that has raised more than $1 million for scholarships at Augsburg! Regent David Tiede did a wonderful job of sharing some words of gratitude on behalf of the University recognizing her inspiring leadership and lifetime of generosity.
Just after we heard that Gladys has passed, Donna Mclean, a long-serving member of our Advancement staff, shared the following with me about the larger Augsburg-Strommen family tree:
“PA Strommen, a graduate of Augsburg Seminary, began his career as a pastor in the Seattle area. During the depression his salary was cut by half. At this same time, Augsburg was facing closing its doors due to lack of operating funds. The word sent out throughout the Lutheran Free Church community and PA Stommen responded, by cashing in all of his savings to help keep our doors open. He continued his strong support of Augsburg by sending all four of his sons – Mert, Clair, Abner and Lute to the College and Seminary for their educations. The legacy continued as 12 of his grandchildren and 3 of his great grand children attended Augsburg. Through the generations this family has been generous with their time, talent and treasures.”
What an incredible legacy and history of shared commitments!