Wind Chime Memorial Tower

Emily Hoar

In the wake of the death of St. Olaf College Professor of Religion and Philosophy William “Bill” Narum in May 2000, his family established a fund to honor his belief in community cooperation and to promote integration between faculty and staff. The Wind Chime Memorial Tower, supported by the Narum fund, was designed to encourage the college community to construct a lasting structure commemorating students whose lives were cut short while they were enrolled at the school.

At the time of the dedication on September 28, 2003, 109 memorial wind chimes hung inside the finished memorial, each inscribed with the name of a deceased student. Names were included from the time the college was founded in 1874 to the time of the dedication. Since then, nine chimes have been added to the tower for those students who have died since or whose names were originally missed.

Consideration was put into each phase of the tower’s construction. The framing comprises forest salvaged trees that lived their lives and died naturally in place—appropriate for a student memorial. No nails are used; each piece was carefully crafted to allow for support, as each gives and takes a little. The design resembles a Nordic stave church, recalling St. Olaf’s heritage.

A group of fifteen faculty and staff members traveled to the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, where they took classes in timber framing and built the memorial components. Greg Kneser, then dean of students, wrote: “Maybe it was the painting [inscribing] of their names on the chimes … definitely it was seeing the look on the faces of the families as they saw the chimes raised at the the dedication. … Whatever it is, the sadness is leaving me. In its place is a nearly constant beautiful melody that sings a greeting to me every morning as I walk with my coffee to my office. … It is not a sound of mourning or grief … it is a song of peace, joy, and comfort.”

Students remembered in the Wind Chime Memorial Tower:

Aaby, Chris
Anderson, Alfred Serenus
Anderson, George L.
Arntzen, Clifford E.
Beavers, Joseph S.
Benson, Robert Maurice
Berge, Fritjof
Bergman, Donald
Birkenes, Thorsten
Bjoraker, Sylvia Brynelle
Blair, Beverly
Bohle, Robert K
Bonde, Anna
Buntrock, Joyce
Callies, Jon
Cashin, Tim
Cochran, Julian
DeCorsey, Pam
Duea, Margaret Marie
Eidsvold, Janet M.
Ekern, Martha
Erickson, Gregg
Eriksen, Sophie
Estrada, Jocelyn
Ferguson, Sarah
Finseth, Arne K.
Finseth, Levi Stanley
Forshaw, Dwight
Frank, Greta
Fresk, Diane
Gannon, Philip Sidney
Geer, Everett
Gesme, Thomas J.
Gilbert, Nellie Emilie
Gilbertson, Alma Marie
Glenn, Susan
Goldberg, Mary Lynne
Green, Christian Alexander
Groth, Barbara
Hager, Van
Halseth, Oluf H.
Hansen, Larenzo
Hanson, Edward Erling Jr.
Harter, Nicholas
Haugner, James
Heitman, Sarah “Sally”
Henderson, Ole
Hendrickson, Haakon
Hersrud, Jeanne Ellen
Hoppe, Christopher
Hulberg, Clarence Elmer
Indergaard, John Ernest
Jensen, Martin Samuel
Johnson, June B.
Johnson, Kathleen Rae
Johnson, Thomas E.
Johnson, William A.
Kimer, Amanda
Kjosness, Gustav Donald
Kloster, Leif Richard
Knudsen, David Stephen
Knutsen, Edward
Krueger, John R.
Larson, Larry David
Lertsachanant, Pongsakorn
Lostegaard, Sharon L.
Lowe, LaVerne Frank
Lund, Norman
Marjanen, Kelly L.
Mead, Christin
Mohagen, Oscar
Morics, Cassandra V.
Muus, Jens
Mydland, James L.
Nasby, Astrina Eleonora
Naugle, Molly
Nelson, Donald
Nelson, Helen Mae
Nerison, Karl
Norvold, Ruth L.
Olson, Bradley J.
Olson, Dean Kaatrud
Ose, Alvan S.
Peterson, Celius
Peterson, David Hoover
Priest, Marc
Rasmussen, Archibald P.
Rasmussen, John Charles
Reinertson, Peter
Reynolds, Meredith Leigh
Richmond, Howard Lee
Rowberg, Leland Rollag
Sandbo, Ole J.
Schmidt, Waldemar
Schockemoehl, John
Schrader, Veronica
Siverson, Ralph
Smaagard, Carl
Smith, Elizabeth “Betsy”
Steiner, Anne
Sterr, Richard J.
Stolee, Paul
Struxness, Arthur Hugo
Swanson, Paul, William
Swensen, Paul Eugene
Tandberg, Joseph
Tripp, James
Tveten, Morten J.
Vevle, Floyd Martin
Vevle, Lloyd Oliver
Viall, Robert Emmitt
Vogel, Matt
Wade, John Scott
Wales, Beryle Evelyn
Walker, Laura M.
Wiederhoeft, Michael J.
Wold, Edward Bernhard
Ytterboe, Einar Norman

Every Life Matters (Song)

by Steven Peinovich, music; A. Malcolm "Mac" Gimse, lyrics

Comments on Wind Chime Memorial Tower

by Professor A. Malcolm "Mac" Gimse