Luther G. Kolstad, age 84 of Gaylord, passed away on Friday, January 14, 2011, at the Oak Terrace Health Care Center in Gaylord after a lengthy illness. Funeral services were held Mon., Jan. 17, 2011, at the United Church of Christ in Gaylord, with interment in the Gaylord Municipal Cemetery. Military Honors were provided by the Manthey-Asmus American Legion Post #433.The Rev. Hank Campbell officiated.
Luther Gunnar Kolstad was born on April 10, 1926, in Vernon County, Wisconsin. He was the son of Ole Sr. and Anna (Christianson) Kolstad. Luther was baptized as an infant on May 16, 1926, and was later confirmed in his faith as a youth on May 28, 1939, both at the North Kickapoo Lutheran Church in Solders Grove, Wisconsin.
He graduated in 1943 from Readstown High School in Readstown, Wisconsin. Luther furthered his education at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, graduating in 1952, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in music; and Colorado State College of Education in Greeley, Colorado, graduating in 1959, with a Master of Music Degree. Luther taught in Mabel High School in Mabel, Minnesota, from 1952-1956, Lake City, Minnesota, 1956-1957, and Gaylord from 1957-1982. He dealt in antiques for many years and ran the Thriftway Shop in Gaylord from 1986-1993.
Luther entered the U.S. Army on February 19, 1945. He took basic training in Anniston, Alabama, and was transferred to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, until his Honorable Discharge on October 10, 1946. He achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant.
Luther married Joanne Gray on August 14, 1953, at the First United Methodist Church in Redwood Falls, Minnesota. They were blessed with two children, Kimberly and Kevin. Luther and Joanne shared 57 years of marriage.
Luther was an outstanding music teacher, who was best known for musical productions. He produced “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in Mabel in 1954 and 1955, “Oklahoma!” “Hello Dolly!” “Music Man,” Fiddler on the Roof,” “South Pacific,” “Sound of Music,” and “West Side Story” in Gaylord in the 1970s. He enlarged each production to include as many students as possible. He was named Sibley County Elementary Teacher of the Year and Gaylord Teacher of the Year. In 1980, he was the first director of the Sibley County Choir, and was a church choir director and organist in various churches for several years.
Luther is survived by his wife, Joanne Kolstad of Gaylord; daughter, Kim Bohling and her husband, Dr. David, of Fort Collins, CO; son, Kevin Kolstad and his wife, Jody, of Annandale; four grandchildren, Christian Bohling of Boulder, CO, Andrew Bohling of Fort Collins, CO, Tracy Kolstad of Albertville, and Stephanie Kolstad of Rochester; sisters-in-law, Mary Kolstad of Kearney, NE, and Joan Kolstad of Eyota; brother-in-law, James Gray of Roseville; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, other relatives and friends.
Luther was preceded in death by his parents, Ole, Sr. and Anna Kolstad; sister, Myrtle Berge; brothers, Clarence, Olgar, Hervin, Kenneth, Jerome, and Dr. Ole Jr.; a sister and brother who died in infancy; sisters-in-law, Katherine Kolstad, Ione Kolstad, and Mary Louise Gray; brothers-in-law, Oscar Berge and Alva Gray; and mother-in-law and father-in-law, Joy and Reede Gray.