Established on 12.28.2010 by a deferred gift from Rev Leslie and Norma Vanderpan †
Leslie Raymond Vanderpan born to Weber and Petra (Grambo) Vanderpan on June 30, 1925 in Nashua, MT. He was the sixth of seven children. He was baptized at Bethania Lutheran Church in Birch Hills, Saskatchewan. Les was educated and grew up in Scobey, MT where he excelled in academics, athletics and music. After graduation, Les completed oﬃcers training in the United States Air Corp and at the end of WWII, left the service and enrolled at Concordia College.
Norma Berg was born October 2, 1926 to Kristian and Maria (Svidal) Berg at Starkweather, ND. She was the fourth of eight children and the oldest daughter born to this farm family. She was baptized at Bergen Lutheran Church, Starkweather, ND. In this loving and secure home, Norma, at a very young age, chose God, home and country for her life priorities. She attended Concordia College for two years and returned to her home community to teach elementary school at Webster, ND. August 3, 1947, Norma married her college sweetheart Montana Preacher Man, Leslie Vanderpan, and together they went out to evangelize the world. Les graduated from Luther Seminary and was ordained as a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Scobey, MT in 1952. Together, Les and Norma served parishes of the ELCA at Turtle Lake, ND; Philip, SD; Sioux Rapids, IA; Sharon, ND; and Taylor-Richardson in Taylor, ND. While serving in Philip in 1956, Les suﬀered his first heart attack. His health was precarious after that and Norma knew that at any time she could be left raising their family alone. She followed one of her own mottos: Rather than worry, do something about it!
The Vanderpan’s were blessed with seven children, Norman, Peter, Mary, Timothy, Lois, Theodore and Dorthy. In this family, they taught their children faith, character, perseverance and responsibility. Their home was peaceful, organized and filled with love. Since Saturday was cleaning day, Norma would encourage early risers by baking homemade caramel rolls! It worked! Family legacy was important. In order to know ‘from whence we came’ family heritage was taught including stories of grandma and grandpa Berg coming to America and their lives in Norway.
When Leslie pursued his Master’s and Doctorate studies in Counseling, Norma returned to school graduating from Concordia in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Social Studies and Education and a Master’s of Arts as a Reading Specialist from the USD, Vermilion, in 1970. Norma taught in The Elementary and Secondary Schools of West Lyon Public Schools, Inwood, IA and Estelline Public Schools, Estelline, SD. She taught as a Reading Specialist in the Brookings Middle School, Brookings, SD, for twenty years. Les was an assistant principal and instructor at Augustana Lutheran High School in Canton, SD. After completing his doctorate at USD, Vermilion, in 1971, Les taught in a graduate school department at SDSU in Brookings, SD, until 1981. He served a parish in Taylor, ND before retiring due to health reasons in 1982.
Leslie loved people. His hobbies included hunting and beekeeping. Norma enjoyed sewing, antiques, family history and Norwegian history and culture. Both were involved with First Lutheran Church in Brookings as well as Sons of Norway. Les died unexpectedly January 18, 1988 while working at an Adult and Teens Encounter Christ weekend. Widowed at 61, Norma continued to teach that life goes on after loss. She was an example of advocating for oneself, respecting self and others, setting goals and working hard while there is life to live. She made several heritage trips to the Sunnfjord region of Norway. As a gift to her children and grandchildren, she completed in word and picture, a Leslie and Norma Vanderpan Family History Book. Norma sent monthly newsletters to her children and grandchildren, sharing birthday greetings, happenings, wisdom and love. She encouraged with reminders that ‘This too shall pass.’ And ‘Soli Deo Gloria.’ She always closed with Remember, God loves you and so do I. The following is an excerpt from one of those letters:
As a child, we attended Trinity Lutheran Church in Starkweather, North Dakota. I felt very grown up when I was old enough to attend Sunday School! I remember sitting in the front pew and swinging my feet — they did NOT touch the floor! Yes! very grown up!
Pastor A.M. Buslee was our pastor all my growing up years - confirmation and marriage. There were four congregations in our parish. Trinity Church was on the same block as the parsonage therefore we had early worship followed by Sunday School. Pastor Buslee would often speak to the Sunday School students before going on to the next church - depending upon weather, road conditions. And time. This was the original Children’s Sermon!
On this Sunday, he came and stood right in front of me and spoke to me using my name! - I think I stopped swinging my legs!! “Norma, did you know that Jesus has a special place just for you in heaven? (Yes, I did know but I didn’t say a word!). It says so in John 14:2-4 ‘There are many rooms where my Father lives in heaven’ - Norma, there is one with your name -Norma Berg- right over the door and someday Jesus will come and take you there so that you can be with Jesus.”
I used to dream about that room - it must have been like a big hotel because if there was one for me, there must be one for each one in my family!
Yes!! I am going to my room - it has been there with my name over the door for many, many years.
REMEMBER, GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I —-AND THERE IS ALSO A ROOM WITH YOUR NAME OVER THE DOOR!!
Norma experienced a stroke in 2012 and went to her room in heaven October 14, 2015.
The Reverend Leslie and Norma Vanderpan Endowed Scholarship is awarded by the Office of Financial Aid to one or more students of any class majoring any of Concordia’s educational programs.
† - Testamentary endowments may not be contributed to until they are fully established.