Wednesday, August 29, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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The Rev. Milton Luther Nesvig, 75; Devoted To Plu And Its Students

The Rev. Milton Luther Nesvig not only held a job at Pacific Lutheran University, but he also devoted his life to it.

As Pacific Lutheran's vice president for university relations, he kept the school in the public eye. As a devotee of Christian higher education, he went out of his way to bring students to the school - sometimes from as far away as Africa.

And if they needed a place to stay over the summer, he would open his home to them.

Mr. Nesvig died Monday at St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma. He was 75.

Mr. Nesvig, who came to Seattle in 1921, graduated from Pacific Lutheran College in 1935, when the school, at Parkland, was only a two-year college. He received an English degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., in 1937. He graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., in 1942 and was ordained a Lutheran minister.

From 1942 to 1945, he was pastor of Tacoma's Immanuel Lutheran Church. He also served as a Navy chaplain from 1945 to 1947 and again from 1951 to 1953. He was stationed part of that time in Seattle.

After earning a master's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota in 1947, he went to PLU, donning multiple hats as the school's director of public relations, head of the news bureau and assistant professor of English. He also held down a post in the administration. Mr. Nesvig was named vice president for university relations in 1966. He retired from that post in 1980 but continued to serve as the school's archivist until 1987.

As PLU's ambassador to the world, Mr. Nesvig traveled widely representing the college, often recruiting students as he went.

It was not unusual for Mr. Nesvig, a very giving person, to have three or four foreign students stay at his home over the summer while school dormitories were closed, said Mr. Nesvig's son, Jonathan Nesvig of Tacoma.

Mr. Nesvig often sponsored students, paying their tuition if they could not afford it. He put an African student through four years of school, and when that student's children were grown, Mr. Nesvig found a sponsor to put them through school as well, said his son.

``He put his deeds and his money where his interest was,'' said Bill Rieke, PLU president.

Because of his devotion to helping students, PLU established a scholarship in Mr. Nesvig's name to help foreign students.

Rieke said it was not uncommon for Mr. Nesvig to remember the names of a student's family members and to keep in touch with the students in later years. Mr. Nesvig was affectionately called ``Mr. PLU'' because of his often boisterous support of the school's basketball and football teams.

``He was 1,000 percent enthusiastic and committed to PLU,'' Rieke said.

Mr. Nesvig would often yell at the referees and the other teams and would get so worked up at games he would turn visibly red, Rieke said. ``It was as much fun to watch Milt as it was the game.''

A graveside service will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Parkland. A memorial service will follow at 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Besides his son, Jonathan, Mr. Nesvig is survived by his wife, Hazel; two other sons, Mark Nesvig of Port Angeles and Philip Nesvig of Stavanger, Norway; a sister, Doris Ashleman, Seattle; a brother, David Nesvig of San Diego; and four grandchildren.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Nesvig Scholarship fund for foreign students at PLU or to Trinity Lutheran Church.

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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