March 2019 - special update

MORE info. RE Dave Theiss et al. [sent March 16, 2019]


You sure can still dance like you did 40 years ago when we were in high school,” said Dave Theiss upon complimenting my solo dance performance earlier that night at our 40-year class reunion in 2006. .He gently wrapped his arm around me and roared with laughter when I told him that my mother always told me that I was dancing when I was still in diapers

-- Donnie Martinez

In the 2006 booklet for the 40-year reunion attended by Davehe wrote the following when asked what was the craziest thing he did in high school:

While my summer job was at the snack bar for the swimming pool at Ft. Carson, the military lifeguards allowed me to bring groups of friends to swim (skinny dip) at night. One night in the summer of 1965, about seventeen (17) of our Widefield Class of 1966 finest male specimens were a bit too loud, a bit too naked, a bit too late at night and caught the attention of the military night guards on the adjacent parade ground. What followed is pure folklore.”

In that same booklet, Dave wrote that the death of my father in 1975 was the event that had the most impact on his life since graduation. When asked about the high-school class and teachers who influenced him the mostDave listed Glenn Driscoll(Assistant Principal and Counselor) and Speech class with Miss CzarneckiWhen asked to name his favorite song in the year we graduated in 1966, he wrote: Good Lovin by The Rascals.

When classmates were asked in early 2016 updates to express their interest in attending the 50-year reunion that yearDave Theiss was listed in the March 2016 update among the classmates who were interested in the reunionDespite his interest at this time three years ago, he was not able to attend the 50-year reunion after all.


FEEDBACK from readers includes the below-listed entries that were submitted in response to information contained in previous updates.

Donnie, thanks for the update on Dave Theiss. He was a good person and a kind man. I know he will be greatly missed by his family. I also appreciate your interview with Warren Knight [March 2019 update about Flash Cadillac]. It was very good and insightful. I appreciate all you do for our class.

-- Mick Martin, Class of 1966

I'm saddened to learn of Dave's passing. Dave was one of the good guys in our class at WHS. Thank you for the news [January 2019 update] about the deaths of Charla McAlexander and our teacher Mrs. Adams. While I didn’t know Charla well, I did know her McAlexander family. In his later years, my Dad walked every day to the Kwik Inn to meet Mr. and MrsMcAlexander. Every week when I talked to Dad, he mentioned his meetings with the McAlexander parents. One of my biggest disappointments as an adult happened a few years back when I was walking with my Dad, we stopped by Mrs. Adams home. She knew Dad wellbut she had no memory of me. How is it possible that my favorite teacher could not remember me? Now I realize I was only one of several thousand students who passed through her classes. My dear God now has two of my favorite people in his arms.

-- Doug Allen, Class of 1966

 I always liked and respected Dave.

-- Mary Ashley Fuchsman, Class of 1966

I remember how Daves favorite group was the Beach Boys. He told some funny stories at our 40th reunion concerning skinny dipping at Ft. Carson and a bunch of them getting caught.

-- Bruce McAlexander, Class of 1966

Donnie, thank you for your email and informing of the sad news of Dave Theiss' passing. My son, Yael, and I did indeed link up with Dave in Clear Lake, Iowa following your putting me in touch with him. Yael had never met him before and I had not seen Dave since May 1967 when we graduated from the US Military Academy Prep School, then at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. Dave and I played on the football team there in the Fall of '66. As you pointed out, he went on to the Merchant Marine Academy and I went on to the Naval Academy in AnnapolisIn the end, neither of us made careers out of the military. Dave graciously gave us a tour of his business and the Surf Ballroom [historic rock and roll landmark in Clear Lake, Iowa] where "the music" died early one morning in Feb '59 when Buddy HollyThe Big Bopper, and Richie Valens died in a plane crash not long after singing their final songs. Dave has a booth at the Surf and I had hoped to visit him again there, but alas that is not to be..We also had dinner with Dave and his wife Patti on that trip Dave was a fine friend in 1966/67 and when we saw him last September, he still retained his welcoming nature. We are very sorry to see him go. All the best to you, your family, and the rest of your class.

-- Steve Wade, friend and former football teammate

Donnie, you probably don't remember me but I remember you and wanted to let you know that I really appreciate you keeping us updated on the happenings with our class and our classmates. So sorry to hear we are losing so many. Also thank you, Paul Snell, for managing our website.

-- Deanna “Dee” Scott VanGoethen, Class of 1966

[Note from Donnie to Dee:  Even though we have not seen each other since high school, please know that I do remember you when we were at WHS. I still remember your kind demeanor and warm smile whenever you acknowledged me.]

Thank you, Donnie, for letting us know about Dave’s deathI remember that he played on the football team at WHS, and it didn’t surprise me to read that he was such an active member of his community. I was surprised to read [March 2019 update about Flash Cadillac and Warren Knight] that you had taken dance lessons as a child and that you had performed at the Fine Arts Center. Wow! But then you have always been an amazing dancer and taught all of us the latest dance steps. 

-- Barbara Garrison, Class of 1966

Donnie, thanks for reminding me of your early ballet and tap dancing. And, how wonderful it was for you having a grandfather and two uncles playing guitars and singing Mexican songs. Was there any Mexican dancing to them with the family? How limber are you these days? I think we should all insist that you make a video showing us your moves, the splits and the others. It would be a riot for all!! What an interview [March 2019 update] you did with Warren Knight!! You nailed it!!

-- Cheryl Minehart Belt, Class of 1966

[Note from Donnie to Cheryl:  Indeed, there was Mexican dancing by me and the other kids in our family when our grandfather and two uncles played guitars and sang Mexican songs to us. Is this old man limber nowadays? Not like I was as a little boyThe only modern-day video of me dancing was the one in the May 2016 update sent to the 200+ people on our confidential email list.]

Our "family" of the Widefield class of 1966 is just learning of the passing of our beloved classmate Dave Theiss. Although I can only speak for myself, I'm sure I represent the entire class of 1966 and anyone who had the privilege of knowing him and his family. Coach Theiss was an inspiration to his athletes. MrsTheiss was an inspiration to her journalism students. I was one of her students for 4 years and often thought I should have told Dave how much she influenced my life. Dave was always top shelf. He lived his life always with integrity and love. Our hearts go out to his family. Please just know he was loved and respected by those of us who knew him.

-- Barbara Billingsley Massarano, Class of 1966

Posted on the funeral home’s online guest book

[Note from Donnie:  Barbara was the assistant editor and Ken Loveless was the editor of our high school newspaper for which Mrs. Theiss was the faculty sponsor.]

Our thoughts and prayers to his family. He was quite a character and my best friend. Too many great memories to share. I'll remember his gritty sense of humor and his determination to excel at whatever the task. Will pray the Lord will give the family and friends comfort in the days ahead.

-- Tom Nigbur, Class of 1966 (Tom’s wife Drinda was WHS Class of 1967)

Posted on the funeral home’s online guest book RE Dave Theiss


 RE: December 2018 update on the death of Linda Brown (Class of 1966) and not knowing the cause of the 1974 death of her sister Marlene Brown (Class of 1967).

Marlene passed away from a traffic accident. If I remember correctly it was on Fontaine Blvd. and Metropolitan Drive in Widefield. She was close friends with my sister Vickie. It was quite a shock at the time. I worked with Marlene at Farmers Insurance Company right after I was married, and my husband and Marlenes husband Jerry Frazee were in Vietnam. Jerry was in the Seabees, and my husband was in the Army.

-- Shirley Guinta Tafoya, Class of 1966