In Memoriam

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN (in alphabetical order): Larry Anglesey; Debbie Armknecht; Terri Blackmore; Judy Blankinship; Linda Brown; Patricia Bruley; Danny Cancil; Larry Cordova; Mel Davis; Marty Dostal; Bradley Douglas; Norman Durkee; Gary Emrich; Larry Frazier; Rod Gilliland; Joe Good; Angie Goodwin; Bill Kreibich; David Larsen; Dennis Ledda; Larry Lollar; Nan Manning; Debbie McGowan; Archie Meredith; Tom Nigbur; Linda Phipps; Jean Puylara; Dave Rapelje; Della Romero; Stella Romero; Larry Sandoval; Bobbie Scaturo; Tommy Sheperd; Michele Siewing; Ron Skaggs; Barbara Smith; Larry Snow; Helena Spagnolini; Dave Theiss; Barry Thompson; Jo Ann Vallone; Linda Wilson; Glenda Windle; Lerry Young.

OUR CLASSMATE STELLA ROMERO recently passed away on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at the age of 72. Feeling heavy-hearted upon writing this, I am filled with dozens of fond memories of Stella ever since we first met in our childhood years in Security.

I won’t go into the usual bio information about Stella because that is covered in an excellent tribute that is enclosed herein. Written by Stella’s daughter Jolene, the tribute covers decades of Stella’s life from her childhood through adult years. Not mentioned in the tribute are two (2) time periods that I will hereby address.

(1) Stella and her twin sister Della were born in the same Colorado Springs hospital (St. Francis Hospital) where I was born the same year. Not only were we born the same year in the same hospital, our respective families lived in the Mexican-American neighborhood known as “Conejos” from the time we were born through our childhood years in the early 1950s. Although it is likely that their parents knew my mother in the Conejos neighborhood, I did not know Stella and Della at that time. We might have played together in the children’s park that was the center of the Conejos neighborhood in those years, but it was always very congested and loud that little kids seldom knew much about one another. Barbara Garrison (WHS Class of 1966) did know Stella and Della in those early years, and Barbara recalls them well during their kindergarten through second-grade years together at Washington Grade School that was several blocks west of the Conejos neighborhood where the Romero family lived. Fondly recalling the Romero twins, Barbara wrote:

“I have such fond memories of Stella and Della throughout our school days together; from kindergarten at Washington Elementary School in Colorado Springs through high school in Security. The Romero sisters were such happy and engaging girls, and we spent many sunny days on the playground or at each other’s homes. Stella had such a big and loving personality, and her bravery, courage and strength in the face of life’s challenges is remarkable. May the source of strength who blesses all of us help Stella and her family through her journey. She is in our prayers. We feel blessed to have known Stella and Della, and we will carry the many memories we have of our school days together with us today and in the months and years to come.”

The first time the Romero twins and I recall meeting each other was when we were in fourth grade in the newly-founded town of Security, which is ten miles south of Colorado Springs.

(2) Their father’s first name was Florentino, which was the name of my Fernández grandfather in the Conejos neighborhood. Born in Fountain, their father went by the shortened version Tino and the nickname “Shorty” when he worked as a meat cutter at Simms Grocery Store in Security. Their parents divorced circa 1964 when Stella and Della were starting their junior year with our classmates at WHS. For many years after the Romero twins left Security to move to California with their grandparents in the summer 1965, Stella and Della always told me that their father’s face “always lit up with a broad smile ear to ear” whenever they mentioned my mother upon talking to their dad about me. The twins said their dad worked in a bar in Colorado Springs, where he resided after he left Security when he and Emma divorced circa 1964. My mother always worked in a Mexican bar in downtown Colorado Springs ever since I was a little boy. The twins and I never knew whether their father and my mother socialized through their respective jobs at bars in Colorado Springs, but they definitely knew one another and had some type of romantic interest after the twins’ parents divorced in 1964 and my mother divorced my stepdad (Collier) two years before that. Sounds like the material for a soap opera, eh?

To learn more about Stella’s health challenges that continued up to her recent death, check out the January 2020 detailed article posted in the “Donnie’s Updates” section of our class website. To learn more about Stella’s twin sister Della, who died in 2001, check out my detailed article that has been posted for many years in the “In Memoriam” section of our class website.

The sad news of Stella’s death was announced by her friend and ex-husband Roy Adams (WHS Class of 1965) via message to the Facebook version of our class website that is managed by our classmate Paul Snell, who contacted me. Roy and Stella are the parents of their three children — Jolene, Jeffrey, Jeremy, 

Please join me in extending condolences to Stella’s surviving family members. To respect their privacy, their street address will not be stated in this update nor will their address be posted on our website that is accessible to anyone in the public. Condolences can be extended via email to this email box and they will be provided to the family.

Listed below is the excellent tribute to Stella by her daughter Jolene.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martínez (December 15, 2020)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martínez is my birth certificate and legal surname


Message from Roy Adams: We lost Stella Romero on Dec. 10, 2020. Here is the tribute to her, written by our daughter, Jolene.

Our beloved Stella Jane Romero passed away peacefully in her home in Mesa, Arizona on December 10, 2020. She was born July 27, 1948 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At the age of 17 she moved to Los Angeles, California where she graduated from high school in 1966. Upon graduation, she worked at City Hall as the secretary for the Mayor of Los Angeles.

She married her high school sweetheart, Roy I. Adams III, in 1968. As an Air Force family, they were stationed at numerous bases stateside. In 1978, the family moved to Germany where they lived for many years. She remained in Germany for 21 years where she had many jobs working for the Department of the Air Force. She was secretary for the European Communication Command, Secretary for the USAFE Surgeon General, and Secretary for the Commissary Command. Making her way back to the United States, she decided to make her home in Mesa, Arizona where she would be closer to her father and her twin sister, Della and family. She was an executive secretary for the Salt River Pima—Maricopa Indian Community for over 19 years. A high point in her time there was when she was awarded Secretary of the Year. Stella loved her job and her coworkers very much. Being a career executive secretary, Stella took pride in her appearance and always made a point to dress professionally each and every day.

She was a devout Catholic and a member of The Legion of Mary. She served the church in several roles. At one time, she was president of Queen of Peace Praesidium and the treasurer of Comitium. She loved The Lord with all her heart and truly loved serving others.

Stella loved to travel all over Europe and the United States with family and friends making wonderful memories. She loved to play games and laugh and had a great sense of humor. She was a kind and loving mother to her three children and a very proud grandmother.

Preceding Stella in death were her father, Floyd Romero, her mother, Emily Trujillo and her twin sister, Della Birch.

She is survived by her three children: Jolene Oster (Paul), Jeffrey Adams, and Jeremy Adams. Eight grandchildren: Tyler Oster, Ryan Oster (SeungYeon), Davis Oster, Devynn, Naomi Adams, Jenna Adams, Nathan Adams, and Jonathan Adams, and one great grandson, Joon Oster. She is survived by two sisters, Judy Torregrossa [WHS Class of 1964] and Pauline Romero [WHS Class of 1965], and one brother-in-law, Dick Birch [surviving husband of Della]. Stella also has many nieces and nephews who she adored and loved very much.

Stella was blessed with so many wonderful friends throughout her life and will be missed dearly by all. The family would like to thank everyone who kept Stella in their prayers the past two years and for all the love and support given to her.

A memorial service will be held at Queen of Peace located at 141 North McDonald, Mesa, AZ on Sunday, December 21, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations please be made to Queen of Peace Catholic Church ( or St. Vincent de Paul ( in Stella’s name.


OUR CLASSMATE GLENDA WINDLE ARMSTRONG recently passed away on March 20, 2020, at the age of 72. Glenda was born on January 1, 1948, in Colby, Kansas to her parents Forrest Windle and Kathryn Hughes Windle. Glenda made history when she was the first baby born that year in Thomas County, which includes the town of Colby. Mr. and Mrs. Windle met in Colby and married in 1946. They had two other children in addition to Glenda. The Windle family moved to Colorado Springs in 1952 and settled ten miles south in late 1955 when the newly- founded Security Village was starting to be built.

A very quiet and mild-mannered student who was with many of us all the way from grade school through graduation at WHS, Glenda always lived in the same house with her Windle family near the shopping center in Security. The house has been owned by the Windle family from 1955 through the present. To my knowledge, Glenda probably is the only one of our classmates whose family has had the same house in Security for that long of a period — 65 years!

A year after graduation at WHS, Glenda met Bob Armstrong at an event sponsored by the private nonprofit United Service Organization that provides recreational services to members of different branches of the military. After Bob was discharged from the U.S. Army at Fort Carson, he and Glenda got married in October 1967. They left Colorado Springs in 1968 to move to Bob’s native state of Indiana, where Glenda began her very lengthy 51- year career in the Acquisitions department of the library at the urban campus of Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis. “I love my job,” she always proudly proclaimed at our various class reunions over the past five decades.

In the booklet for our 40-year reunion in 2006, Glenda addressed the event that had the most impact on her life since graduation, to wit: “Making it through our son’s teenage years without getting a divorce or having a nervous breakdown. I don’t know how people made it with several children.” Five years after that 2006 statement, Glenda once again addressed the same topic in 2011 at the time of our 45-year reunion booklet wherein she wrote that “getting married and moving to Indiana” was the event that had the most impact on her life and “the adoption of our son was a close second.”

When asked to share a high-school memory, Glenda wrote in the 2006 reunion booklet: “Getting stopped by Sheriff Ames and having his daughter Judy in the car when we got stopped.” When asked to describe the craziest and wildest thing she did in high school, she wrote in the 2011 reunion booklet:

I don’t think I did anything wild or crazy in high school. I was too much of an “old stick in the mud” and “I might get in trouble” type.

At the time of my January 2017 announcement about the death of Glenda’s beloved father, our classmate Bruce McAlexander fondly recalled that Glenda’s mother was a very active volunteer with Girl Scouts (including the Brownies) and both parents always offered their family home in Security for our classmates to build floats, etc., for school events.

Glenda was one of the few classmates who attended every reunion our class had from the time of the 10-year reunion in 1976 through the 50-year reunion in 2016. Based on her December 2019 email note to announce that she retired from her longtime job at the university library in Indiana, she was very much looking forward to attending the upcoming 55-year reunion in 2021.

Glenda had been visiting with her sister at the Windle family home in Security for only five days when Glenda suddenly passed away while resting in her room at some point mid-morning on Friday, March 20, 2020.

Glenda was preceded in death by her beloved husband who passed away in 2015, her beloved father who passed away in 2017, and her beloved mother who passed away in 2012. She was also preceded in death by her brother Everett (WHS Class of 1972) who passed away in 1999. She is survived by her son Ken, her sister Jeanell (WHS Class of 1982), and four grandchildren.

The sad news of Glenda’s death was conveyed by our classmate Pam Rains Shuman to our classmate Bruce McAlexander, who contacted me.

Please join me in extending condolences to Glenda’s surviving family members. To respect their privacy, their street address will not be stated in this update nor will their address be posted on our website that is accessible to anyone in the public. Condolences can be extended via email to this email box and they will be provided to Glenda’s sister Jeanell, who will share them with the family.

Due to the pandemic that has resulted in Colorado’s current statewide ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, funeral services are on hold at this time. Regardless of the type of service for Glenda at a future date in Security or Indiana where she resided for 51 years, her final resting place will be in Indiana.

Because of Glenda’s longtime love of books and libraries, the greatest tribute that people can pay to Glenda is to make a donation in her name to any library.

A photo of Glenda can be found in the “W” section of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone in July 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (March 22, 2020)
Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier Martínez is my birth certificate and legal surname


OUR CLASSMATE DEBBIE McGOWAN recently passed away on February 28, 2020, at the age of 72. Deborah Ann McGowan was born on February 19, 1948, at the Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to her parents Milton McGown and Olwyn Griffiths McGowan. The parents had five other children besides Deborah. Being a military family, they lived in several locations until 1960 when Mr. McGowan became stationed at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs that the family finally called home.

A very friendly and well-liked student, she was known as “Debbie” for the many years she was at school with us after the McGowan family moved to Security in the early 1960s. After graduation Debbie went to work for Mountain Bell, which later became U.S. West in 1984 when the AT&T Bell system monopoly was broken up by the federal government. Debbie’s 32-year career with Mountain Bell and U.S. West allowed her to make many friends while traveling many places in the U.S. [The U.S. West phone company was acquired in 2000 by Qwest, which was acquired by Century Link in 2011.]

After Debbie retired, she returned to Colorado to be close to her family so that it would be easier for her to attend the sports activities of her beloved nieces and beloved nephews. Family and friends note that Debbie was a huge fan of the Denver Broncos. She was a regular attendee at our class events (reunions and luncheons). The last time Debbie attended our class event was the luncheon gathering six months ago in September 2019, at which time she warmly clutched my hand and kissed my cheek upon stating “thanks for all you do to keep me and other classmates informed about each other.” 

In the booklet for our 40-year reunion in 2006, Debbie described her marital status as “happily single” and noted that she did not have any children except her dog Kacey “who is more spoiled than most children.” When asked in the booklet to describe when she realized she had grown up or gotten older, she wrote: “As long as I continue to have a sense of humor and can laugh about things around me, I don’t think I’ll ever get old. Check back with me at the 50th reunion.”

Debbie was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Robert (WHS Class of 1965), who died in 1991 at the age of 44. She is survived by her brothers Michael and Roger, sisters Judy and Donna. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom were deeply loved by Debbie. In the funeral home’s announcement, the family expressed special thanks to Pikes Peak Hospice and Nurse Jackie for the loving care they provided to Debbie. The announcement also acknowledged our classmate Judy Sackhoff Lollar and her husband Gary Lollar (WHS Class of 1965) for “always being there and you both meant a lot to her.” According to the announcement, services for Debbie will held at a later date and donations can be made to the American Lung Association.

The sad news of Debbie’s death was conveyed to our classmate Ron Petty by our classmate Judy Sackhoff Lollar, a longtime devoted friend of Debbie. Ron notified our classmate Bruce McAlexander, who contacted me.

A photo of Debbie can be found in the “M” section of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone in July 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (March 5, 2020)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname


THE DEATHS of TWO CLASSMATES were recently revealed in an online message from somebody who did not attend WHS, but the person knew both families of the deceased.

Our classmate Larry Frazier passed away at the age of 62 on April 12, 2011. Born June 6, 1948, Larry was a lifelong resident of the Colorado Springs area and was in our WHS class all the way through graduation. He worked as a bus driver throughout his adult years. Preceded in death by his parents, Larry’s only survivor was his sister Lorraine. My distinct memory of Larry is that he was a very quiet and shy student. He always greeted me with a friendly smile and a simultaneous hand-wave, both of which I returned to him as our way of acknowledging one another at school and away from school.

Born October 8, 1948, our classmate Norman Durkee passed away at the age of 65 on January 12, 2014, in Seattle, Washington. The family friend knew more about Norman’s father, who passed away in Security in April 1989 when he was 73 years old. Mr. Durkee served in the U.S. Army from 1943 until retiring in 1975. He remarried in 1970 to a Korean woman. After retirement from the U.S. Army, Mr. Durkee worked as a supply supervisor at the Air Force Academy. At the time of Mr. Durkee’s death in 1989, he was survived by his son Norman and two siblings of Norman. Although some of our classmates probably have their own Norman Durkee stories to tell, my distinct memory of him was that his flirtatious behavior and outgoing demeanor resulted in several female classmates having a “crush” on him.

Both Larry Frazier and Norman Durkee were on the list of our “Missing Classmates” the past 30 years.

A photo of Norman Durkee and Larry Frazier can be found in the “D” and “F” sections, respectively, of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone in July 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (March 11, 2020)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname.


THE DEATH of our CLASSMATE LINDA PHIPPS was recently disclosed to me in an email message from her adult stepson, who never lived in Security and did not attend WHS. Born March 19, 1948, in Kankakee, Illinois, her parents were Orville Phipps and Evelyn Dunaway Phipps. Married in 1936 in Decatur, Illinois, Mr. and Mrs. Phipps had four other children besides Linda.

Many of us knew her as “Lynn” for the many years she was at school with us after the Phipps family moved to Security in the 1950s. A very well-liked and extremely outgoing person with a delightful sense of humor, she always was cheerful and fun to be around.

Linda passed away a little more than one year ago on September 29, 2018, at age 70. According to information in the brief message furnished to me, Linda died as a result of complications from a stroke and a 30-year battle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that she “fought daily as it took away her independence and mobility, but she never complained.” As someone who has a neurological illness that is incurable in the same way that the neurological disorder MS is incurable, I can only imagine how tough it must have been for Linda on a daily basis over such a long period that spanned three decades.

The aforementioned 30-year time period coincides with the time frame during which our class committee lost track of Linda and had her on our “Missing Classmates” list all that time since 1988.

Linda was preceded in death by her father Orville who passed away at age 81 in 1991 in Colorado Springs, and her mother Evelyn who passed away in 2003 in Colorado Springs. Linda was also preceded in death her two brothers Stan and Larry, and her husband Dwight who passed away at age 80 in 2013. She is survived by her two sisters Sharon and Susan, along with Linda’s adult son Matthew and four adult stepchildren whose father was Dwight. Linda is also survived by her cherished pet pug named Lola.

A photo of Linda can be found in the “P” section of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone in July 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (January 15, 2020)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname


OUR CLASSMATE DEB ARMKNECHT ALLEN recently passed away on September 10, 2019at the age of 71She passed away peacefully in her sleep surrounded by family,” wrote her daughter Chanin in an email communication to this WHS 1966 email boxDebra May Armknecht was born on May 1, 1948, in Flagler, Colorado, to her parents Howard and June Armknecht. The parents had five other children besides Debra.

Many of us knew her as Debbie” for the many years she was at school with us after the Armknecht family moved to Security in the 1950sA very well-liked and outgoing person with a great sense of humor, she was fun to be aroundDefinitely not shy, Debbie never was one to hold back or mince words upon expressing her viewsShe was active with the WHS student newspaper and the schools marching bandWhen asked at our 40-year reunion to name the school activity that influenced her most, she wrote, I loved the marching band and performing on the football field – and going to CU Band Day.” Her fellow band member and best friend Andy (short for Andyrea) fondly recalled at the 40-year reunion the high-school occasion in which they carried their tubas for five miles while walking on hot pavement with taps on their shoes. No wonder we got blisters,” wrote Andy upon sharing her reflection at the 40-year reunion held in 2006.

After graduation at WHS, Debbie worked for Hewlett Packard for several decades until her retirementIn the late 1960s she married Richard Allenand their marriage spanned 51 years at the time of her deathThey had only one child, a daughter named ChaninWhen asked at our 40-year reunion to describe the event that had the most impact on her life since graduation, she wrote, Getting married, then having a beautiful (inside and out) daughter, then when she gave me two of the most wonderful grand babies.” Whenever proudly speaking about her beloved daughterDebbie could not stop upon listing Chanins many great traits.

Debbie volunteered her time to serve on the organizing committee for our 20-year class reunion in 1986, and she once again volunteered her time as the co-treasurer of the organizing committee for our 40-year class reunion in 2006It was fun for me to collaborate with Debbie and our classmate Joy Payne Humphrey on the project for the video of the 20-year reunion in 1986One hour and 20 minutes in length, the film includes a more intimate round-table discussion among Debbie and a few other classmates as they reflected on their past school experiences along with their innermost thoughts, feelings and concerns. In early 2016 the VHS video was converted to a modern digital format, and it was shared in my April 2016 update to everyone on our contact list. If any of you would like to view the film, let me know and I will provide the online link.

At Debs request, she was cremated and there was a private service for family members only.

Deb is survived by her beloved husband Richard, their beloved daughter Chanin,sister Marcia (WHS Class of 1964), sister Cindy (WHS Class of 1969), grandson Jace and granddaughter Lily. Deb was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Elaine (the oldest of the Armknecht children), her brother Bill (WHS Class of 1968), and her sister Connie (WHS Class of 1970).

Please join me in extending condolences to Debbies surviving family members. To respect their privacy, their street address will not be stated in this update nor will their address be posted on our website that is accessible to anyone in the public. Condolences can be extended via email to this email box and they will be provided to Chanin, who will share them with the family.

In his message of sympathy to Debbies survivors, our classmate Bruce McAlexander wrote:

I am so very, very sorry about Debbie passing away. Debbie and her family on Rosemont Drive were always a big part of our childhood and our good memories of growing up here in Security. She ALWAYS made me laughShe and Andy [classmate Andyrea Armonstrong] were Ron Pettys and my campaign managers when we ran for positions on Student Council, and we won thanks to their effort.Richard, I am so sorry and I feel quite sad knowing of her death. You and Debbie have been married for a long time and that, unfortunately, is quite unusual these days. I know it has to be quite difficult for all of you.”

A photo of Debbie can be found in the A section of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone in July 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (September 16, 2019)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname


OUR CLASSMATE BILL KREIBICH’s DEATH was recently disclosed in an email communication from a family friend, who never lived in Security and did not attend WHS. Born April 12, 1948, at the Fort Sheridan military base in Illinoishis parents were Robert Kreibich and Lillian Olson KreibichMr. and Mrs. Kreibich married in 1935 and had three other children besides BillMr. Kreibich joined the military in World War II and remained a military man long after the war was overMrs. Kreibich became a Jehovahs Witness in 1943 (five years before Bill was born) and remained a devout Jehovahs Witness for almost 70 years clear up to her death.

During the few years that Bill was with us at WHS from ninth grade through graduation, he always was a very shy and quiet member of our Class of 1966He always was among the list of camera shy students in our school yearbooksand the only school photo there ever was of him was when we were in ninth grade at WHSHe never attended any of our class reunions and was on our Missing Classmates” list for many yearswith no information about him until the aforementioned recent communication from a family friendAs I sit here typing this announcement, there is a sense of profound sadness within me upon thinking that many of us knew nothing about Bill during all four years of high school and the past 53 years since graduation.

Bill passed away almost four years ago on October 6, 2015, in Colorado SpringsHe was preceded in death by his military father Robert, who died at the age of 60 in September 1972 in Colorado Springs and was buried at Fort Logan Cemetery in DenverBill was also preceded in death by his brother Doug. Bill’s mother passed away at the age of 95 in March 2011 in Colorado Springs. Bill is survived by his sister Barbara (WHS Class of 1968) and his brother Don.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (August 30, 2019)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname


OUR CLASSMATE DAVE LARSEN recently passed away on August 24, 2019, at a hospice in Florida after a long illnessHe was 70 years oldNews of his death was provided by our classmates Pete Spiers and Paul Snellboth of whom had been in periodic contact with Dave over the past several yearsAccording to the public obituary, Dave was born on October 11, 1948, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to his parents Reverend Harold Larsen and Edna LarsenThe parents had five other children besides Dave.

When Dave was with us all four years at WHShe always stood out for being so studious and taking seriously all of the assignments in his classes. He proudly roamed the halls of WHS while holding his briefcase and the slide rule attached thereto. Quite the academic achiever, he was in the prestigious National Honor Society all four years at WHSVery articulate and knowledgeable about many topics, Dave was part of our school’s debate teamIf you ever encountered Dave in a formal debate back then, you would have needed extensive preparation or he would have diplomatically poked holes in your arguments on a specific subject in the debate. Of course, our classmates Steve Williams and Dean Otey (both of whom were also part of the debate team) probably would have their respective views to share about Dave’s debate skills back thenBecause of his many academic achievements, it was most fitting that our classmates voted Dave and our classmate Sharon Breyer as Scholars of our class. In terms of academic standing, Dave ranked right up there with our classmates Barry Thompson,Warren Knight, Sharon Breyer and John Griffith. Those five classmates were definitely the Gang of 5” when it came to academic achievements.

After graduation at WHS, Dave attended the University of Colorado in Boulder for a couple of years and then moved back East to attend the Covenant College that is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of America. It was at Covenant College where Dave met his wife Claireand they moved to Boulder where Dave finished college with his degree in biological sciences. Those college years are the periodic focus of fond memories of Dave by our classmates Paul Snell and Bruce McAlexander, both of whom attended college in Boulder during the same years that Dave was there. Dave and Claire had three children and spent most of their married life in Pennsylvania before eventually moving to Florida. Dave worked for 33 years for IBM and retired in 2018. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church for over 40 years.

When Dave’s brother Sam Larsen (WHS Class 1965) passed away from cancer almost one year ago in October 2018, Dave shared with our classmates a three-minute video that he put together as a tribute to Sam. Featuring the Righteous Brothers 1965 slow song Unchained Melody as a backdrop, the video captured Daves talented skills.


The funeral for Dave was scheduled at an orthodox Presbyterian Church in Florida on August 312019, but there might be a delay due to massive evacuations taking place due to the impending hurricane heading toward Florida.After the church services, there will be a private graveside burial.


Dave is survived by his beloved wife Claire and their three adult children (Aaron,Andrew, Jonathan), three grandchildrenDaves brother Harold, Daves sister Malindaalong with numerous nieces and nephewsDave was preceded in death by his parents Harold and Edna, his brother Joseph, his brother Sam, and his sister Stephanie.


Please join me in extending condolences to Dave Larsens surviving wife Claire and other Larsen family members. To respect their privacy, their street address will not be stated in this update nor will their address be posted on our website that is accessible to anyone in the public. Condolences can be extended via email to our class website manager Paul Snell OR this email box and we will provide hard copies to the family.

A photo of Dave can be found in the “L” section of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone in July 2017. To read the obituary that has a modern-day photo of Dave in his senior-citizen years, click here!

This year marks four (4) times that there have been announcements about the deaths of our classmates. Three of the announcements have occurred in this month of August alone. As periodically noted in my updates to our classmates over the past 13 years, it is important to keep in perspective that we are at a point in our lives when death will be a frequent visitor. The recent deaths of classmates need to be viewed in that context.

The death of Dave Larsen brings to 36 the total number of classmates who have passed away. There are a total of 78 additional classmates on the Missing Classmates list as of the date of this broadcastThe number of deceased and missing classmates comes to 114 total. Subtracting that total from the grand total of 230 people who were part of our WHS Class 1966, there are 116 classmates who are accounted for and who are on our confidential contact listThere are an additional 84 people (surviving family members, surviving friendsand non-1966 WHS graduates) who are also on our confidential contact listso there about 200 people to whom our periodic online communications are sent.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (August 31, 2019)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname



OUR CLASSMATE RON SKAGG’s DEATH was recently disclosed in a post submitted by his surviving daughter Tamra (age 42)He passed away thirteen years ago on May 31, 2006, in the small rural town of Pearce, Arizona. He was 57 years old at the time of his deathThe recent discovery of Rons death explains why our Class Committee could not locate him at the time of our 40-year reunion in July 2006 and our 45-year reunion in July 2011 and our 50-year reunion in July 2016I always thought it was quite odd that Ron ended up on the Missing Classmates list for all three of those reunions.


Born November 21, 1948, in Kirksville, Missouri, Ron was the oldest child of Joseph and Anna SkaggsDuring the few years that Ron was with us at WHS, he was a popular and well-liked member of our Class of 1966He and our classmate Meg Hulsey were elected King and Queen, respectively, of the spring Carnival during our senior yearAs title-holders who were honored at a big event held in the school gymRon and Meg received crowns that were creatively made from beer cans and their royalty thrones consisted of toilets that added to the fun atmosphere of the carnival.Upon winning the vote as King of the event, Ron prevailed over popular nominees Tom Nigbur, Perry Pierce and Steve RhodesUpon winning the vote as Queen of the event, Meg prevailed over popular nominees Rhonda Richards, Barbara Billingsley and Marilyn Maska.


A few years after graduation, Ron Skaggs married Carol Moran from the WHS Class of 1969, and they subsequently divorced. Rons younger brother Gary was also in the WHS Class of 1969, and Gary married his classmate Denise Metzger.


Ron was preceded in death by his father Joseph, who died at the age of 73 in May 1996 in Colorado Springs. Ron’s mother Anna passed away at the age of 89 in November 2015 in Bella Vista, Arkansas. In addition to being survived by his daughter Tamra, Ron is survived by another child who was not named in the recent announcement about Ron’s deathThe announcement also did not mention Rons brother Gary as a surviving sibling.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (August 10, 2019)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname


OUR CLASSMATE DAVE THEISS recently passed away at his home in Clear LakeIowaHe was 71 years old. According to the public obituary provided to me by our classmate Barbara Billingsley MassaranoDave was born on December 19, 1947, in St. Louis, MissouriThe Catholic funeral mass will be on March 14, 2019, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, in Clear Lake, Iowa,. and the inurnment will be at Clear Lake Cemetery at a later date

During the few years that Dave was with us at WHS, his father Norm Theiss was the athletic director and his mother Margery Theiss taught English and journalism.After graduating with us, he joined the U.S. Army and attended the West Point Prep School. In 1966, he joined the Merchant Marine Academy from which he was honorably discharged. He then attended Adams State College in Alamosa,Colorado, where he earned a bachelors degree and played football. He married Jane Mary Sujak in April 1972, and they had two sonsHe later married Patrice Shannon in July 1986, and they had one daughter.

In March 1973, Dave moved to Clear Lake, Iowawhere he and his father bought Haddy Sporting Goods and opened Theiss Sports. In 1977, he and his sister,Jacky, opened Theiss Shirts in Clear Lake.

 According to the obituary about Dave:

-- He was a member of the Clear Lake VFW Post 4868, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, and Knights of Columbus Council #7898 in Clear Lake, Iowa.

-- He enjoyed playing games and running the Monday Night Football Club, spending time with family and friends, and volunteering throughout the community in several capacities.

-- He was recognized for 50 years of involvement with the Clear Lake Lions Football team, the Governor’s Volunteer Award, Rotary Club Citizen of the Year, All State Team Post Quartermasters, Fourth of July Grand Marshall, and past president of Clear Lake Chamber and Economic Development Corridor.

-- He was also very involved with the Winnebago Honor Flight, organizing and fundraising for eight flights.

Dave’s mother was 22 years old when she graduated from Harris Teachers College in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1944After teaching in the St. Louis area for about a year and a half, she and two friends applied through the Department of Education to go to Hawaii and teach at a U.S. Navy base on the island of Maui. It was there that she met and married Norman Theiss.

Dave is survived by his wife, Patrice Theiss; three children, Adam Theiss of Clear Lake, Iowa, Abram Theiss of Fort Collins CO and Amanda Theiss of Clear Lake, Iowa; four grandchildren, Emily, Andrew, Alexis and Maggie Theiss; sister Jacky Theiss Garlock of Clear Lake, Iowa; sister Penny Theiss Walde of Dillon, Montana; and, many nieces, nephews and friends. Dave was preceded in death by his father, Norman, who died in 1975 at age 51, and Margery Ramspott Theiss, who died in January 2017 at age 94.

A photo of Dave can be found in the T section of the alphabetical list of senior photos that were emailed to everyone in July 2017.

In lieu of customary remembrances, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Dave Theiss Memorial Fund in care of the Clear Lake VFW Post 4868 in Clear Lake, Iowa or to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in that city.

If you would like to share a memory of Dave or express condolences to the Theiss family in the online guest book, click here!

In March 2018, our class website manager Paul Snell notified me that a guy named Steve Wade contacted the website and noted that he (Steve) wanted to reconnect with Dave Theiss as they were on the same football team in the fall of 1966 when they were at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory SchoolI notified Dave about Steve’s request to reconnectbut I do not know if they ever made contact. When this announcement about Dave’s death is sent to everyone on our confidential email list, I will be sure to send it to Steve as well in case he does not already know about Dave’s death.

 Per copy of this announcement to our class website manager Paul SnellI hereby request that he add Daves name to the Gone But Not Forgotten section that has the ever-growing list of our deceased classmates in the In Memoriam page of the website.

 Respectfully submitted,

 Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname


OUR CLASSMATE HELENA SPAGNOLINI recently passed away in Phoenix,

 ArizonaAs noted in my July 2018 updateHelena had ended up in a nursing home

 as a result of being disabled. In response to the request in my updateseveral of our

 classmates sent cards to Helena.

Her sister said that Helena was really happy to receive the cards, and the ones that came after Helena passed away made her sister very happy to know that Helenas classmates thought of her,” noted our classmate Lydia Romero Fine in a recent card to me. “Thanks for making Helenas last days a happy one.

Helena, her parents and siblings moved to Security circa 1959Helena was with many of us all through junior high and high school clear up until graduation at WHS. I remember her always being a very nice person with a warm smile despite being shy and not very talkative.

Condolences may be sent to the Spagnolini family in care of Helenas sister, whose address (see below) was listed in my July 2018 update

Arleen Spagnolini

15620 North 25th Ave. Apt. H103

Phoenix AZ 85023

Respectfully submitted,

 Donnie Martinez


OUR CLASSMATE ROD GILLILAND recently passed away in Kansas, where he resided for many yearsOur classmate Denese Clark Bigelow had been a longtime friend of Rod, and four months ago (October 2017) was the last time she visited Rod at his home in Kansas. A very friendly and nice guy, he was with many of us from grade school through high school in Security. When we were youngsters at Sproul Junior High, Rod was the second boyfriend of our classmate Della Romero. She was the first girlfriend I ever had. She and I were in 4th or 5th grade at North Security Elementary School when we went steady. I bought her a ring at Simms Grocery Store, where her father worked, and Della proudly wore the ring on a chain around her neck. Throughout the time she and Rod were together in junior high and part of high school, Della and I remained good friends and had many good laughs.


Rod was one of many of our classmates who were featured in the “slam book” that was popular when we were in junior high and high school in Security. A journal of classmates' opinions of one another, the slam book contained a sign-in page on which participants entered their names next to a specific number. Participants then used those assigned numbers to correspond to their remarks about classmates and topics listed throughout the slam book. Listed below are some of the comments about Rod in the slam book that our classmate Patti Kueck Daniel had from 8th grade when we were in junior high in Security.


"Real cute and sweet.”

“A doll, lots of fun."

"Nut, but very cool."

"Good dancer."

"Nice guy."

"Wow, adore him. He's all Della's."


Attached in JPEG format is a modern-day photo of Rod. In case you forgot what Rod looked like when he was with us for many years at school in Security, his photo is among the online senior photos that were emailed in PDF format to all of our classmates in July 2017.


Rods father (who died in 2015) was only nine years old in the early 1930s when he and his parents and siblings moved from a small town in Kansas to the small town of Fountain, Colorado, where he learned the practice of “bartering” by using a horse-drawn wagon to haul fruits and vegetables from the Gilliland ranch to the dirt main street in FountainIt was there that he met Fountains grocery store owner, whose daughter Margaret later married Rod’s father in the early 1940s after they graduated from Fountain High SchoolBefore they started having childrenRod’s father joined the Marines to serve in World War II at which time he flew fighter planes (two of which were shot down with him inside).


Listed below is the obituary about Rodwhose funeral will be at 1:00 p.m. on February 13, 2018 at Mount Moriah Funeral Home in Kansas City followed by burial at the cemetery there.


In loving memory of Roderick Lee Gilliland who mercifully passed on February 8,2018. Rod we send you off to heaven with our love and caring and fond memories as full as the ocean. You were a precious soul so full of life and joy. Your life touched so many people and we will remember your wit, charm, and deep faith in your redeemer. Your life was cut short by illness, and your last years were tempered with failing health. But you are in your loving saviors arms now free of pain. 


Rod was born on August 27, 1948 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is survived by his loving mother Margaret, older brother Robert and younger brothers, Douglas and John.


Rod was a magical soul. He had a mischievous nature and often shared a lighthearted smile coupled with an ornery twinkle in his eye. His imagination was unlimited and expressed itself through his passion for creating art. He loved music, lots of rock, and soul. His gentle personality was committed to making amazing works with stained glass. He created poetry with his writing. He had so many friends and touched uncounted lives with his magnetic personality. 


Professionally, Rod was a successful real estate marketing professional. He had a talent for selling new homes and worked for years with his father and older brother to sell homes in many of the best communities in KC and Johnson County. 


One of his many passions was prison ministriesFor years he gave love and hope to those that were the least of our society. He spread God's love and message to those that needed it most. 


Rod, we will always remember your smiling beautiful face. Your spirit will carry on,and your soul is finally at rest with Jesus, your special grandmother Amy, your father Hudson, and your only son Jonathan. As a family, we will be reunited, I know, in your new home in heaven that will be as unique as your spirit. We love you Roderick.”

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (January 22, 2017)

Known at WHS by stepdad’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname


THE DEATH of our classmate LERRY YOUNG was recently disclosed to me in an email message from Lerry’s widow, Mary. He passed away three months ago on October 21, 2016, after what Mary describes as a “brave” battle with pancreatic cancer that began in 2014. He was 69 years old at the time of his death.

The legal spelling of his first name, Lerry, always was with the letter “e” instead of the more widely-used “a” letter. Born in August 1947 in a small town in Nebraska, he was the only child of his parents Floyd and Betty Young. I recall him as always being a very quiet and polite young man as one of our classmates all the way from 9th grade through high-school graduation. I also recall him as being one of the tallest guys on our freshman football team for which biology teacher Don Jorgensen and math teacher Rolland Rounds were the coaches.

One year after high-school graduation, Lerry married Mary. Their marriage continued for 49 years clear up through Lerry’s death. Lerry had been a “Jack of all trades” as evidenced by his quite-diverse job history that included being a certified mechanic, auto body repairman, certified Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welder, equipment operator with the Santa Fe Railroad, and a correctional officer at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility (AVCF). He retired in 2008 from his job at AVCF, a southeastern Colorado men’s prison that is operated by the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Lerry, Mary and their family lived for a long time in a small town of 250 people in southeastern Colorado. When not working to provide for his family, Lerry enjoyed hunting, fishing, wood working, taking care of the rose garden/orchard, making wines/beer, and baking what Mary calls the “best breads ever.” He is lovingly remembered by his family as someone who embraced all that life had to offer with his determination, strength, resourcefulness, compassion and humor. 

The last time many of our classmates saw Lerry was in 2006 when he and his wife Mary attended our 40-year class reunion. Lerry also was one of several classmates shown in the video that was taken at the time of our 20-year class reunion in 1986. The online link to that 1986 video was shared with our classmates last year in my April 2016 update.

In addition to being survived by his wife Mary, Lerry is survived by their three children, seven grandchildren and many in-laws through Mary’s extended family.

Attached in JPEG format is a photo of Lerry so that people can see what he looked like in his senior-citizen years.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez (January 22, 2017)

Known at WHS by stepdad’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname




In Memory of Barbara Smith Patterson

Barbara Lucille Patterson, 66, passed away on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 of natural causes. She was born in Colorado Springs on July 3, 1948 to Ira and Beatrice Smith. She attended Widefield High School and took college courses at Pikes Peak Community College. She married Mike Patterson in 1966 and had two sons, Chuck and Rob Patterson. She and Mike Patterson divorced in 1971. Barbara worked for Hewlett Packard and Current Checks. She was a member of Ladies Auxiliary, Eagle's Club and a longtime member of Security Christian Church. Barbara loved to draw pictures, read, and play card games. She enjoyed going out to dinner with family. She is survived by her brother Ken Smith of Colorado Springs and her sons, Chuck Patterson of Pocatello, Idaho and Rob Patterson of Colorado Springs. She is also survived by her two grandsons, Conner and Garrett Patterson. She is preceded in death by her father, Ira Smith, mother, Bea Smith, and brother, Harold Smith. Funeral service is on Saturday, March 28, 11:00 a.m., Academy Christian Church located at 1635 Old Ranch Road in Colorado Springs.

In Memory of Bradley Douglas

December 2014 OBITUARY on the Cremation Center of Kansas City website

Brad Douglas, 66, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away December 14, 2014 at the Kansas City Hospice House.

 He was born March 30, 1948 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, son of Wilbur and Glenda Douglas. He studied at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas where he met his wife, Barbara. They resided in Hutchinson, Kansas for 26 years where they were actively involved with the Faith United Methodist Church in music ministries. He enjoyed participating in the Hutchison Family Children Theatre and coaching his children’s little league sports teams.

 The family moved to Overland Park in 2003 where they are currently members of Heritage United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir and was a member of the Prime Time Seekers Bible Study Group.

 He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Barbara, son Brandon and daughter Brooke and extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents.

 A memorial service will be held at 11 am Saturday, December 20, 2014 at Heritage United Methodist Church, 12850 Quivira Road, Overland Park, Kansas. A visitation will precede the service at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Kansas City Hospice House, 12000 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Missouri or to the church.

Childhood Story about Brad Douglas

by Bruce McAlexander

 I know many of you have Brad stories. Many of you were in the band and wasn't Brad? Here’s a story about the first time I met Brad Douglas. My family moved to Security in December of 1956. Widefield Elementary School was up and running. Mr. Walker was my 3rd grade teacher. Brad’s mom was the secretary in the office, which was located in the middle of the school. She was a nice lady who I thought was pretty too. The first day of school for me evidently was quite painful. I had moved from a little town in Kansas and had 7 or 8 classmates in 1st grade and now I was surrounded by so many. At lunch time, I did not go out to the playground to play, but rather went to the north end of the building where there were doors and started to cry. I must have been crying pretty hard since I was missing friends, family, and was scared. It wasn’t long until the door opened and there stood Brad and his mother. She said something to the effect that Brad was there to take me to the playground and play with me and show me around. I have no doubt it was Mrs. Douglas’s idea, but Brad did take me out to his friends and thus began my experience with “the Class of ‘66.” From then on, I would sometimes go down to Brad’s house on Security Boulevard to play. I found out later that my mom had driven by and saw me crying and went into the office. Brad was very kind and nice to me that day and days to come. I always had that impression of Brad throughout the years. I know Brad was kind and nice to many. He was truly a “good guy.” I’m sorry to hear about his passing. I considered him a friend. I am truly sorry about this news. You ALL are important to me. Here's a hug (like it or not)!


 Recollection of Brad Douglas

by Pam Rains Shuman

 Brad was in the band. He was nice and funny. I can picture him with an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. He was a pretty good musician. May he rest in peace.


 I was in the class of 1967 and Brad Douglas was a very special friend. I have often wondered what happened to him and have thought about him often over all of these years. I would like to share a story I will never forget about Brad. One summer day my brother Jon Dawson (Class of 1965) took our dad’s car out to the Drag Races and I jumped in and went along. Well, Jon decided to enter dad's car in the race and he refused to take me home. So along came Dave Theiss and I asked if he would take me home. Dave Theiss, Brad Douglas and I believe Craig Snow were in the car and they said sure get in. Dave decided to take us all up to the lot in Widefield where they were building their new house. We got bogged down in the sand and were totally stuck. The three guys digging and trying to get us out for about 2 hours, I was going to be late getting home and probably in trouble. So Brad was the only one who offered to walk me up to the door and explain to my parents why I was late!!! I was so thrilled because my mom really liked Brad!! They didn't buy the story but after I told them Jon was drag racing dad's car, he was in much more trouble than I was! That was Brad, always doing the right thing and always doing the kind thing. Tom and I send our thoughts and prayers to all of Brad's family. A loss for this earth, but a gain for the Kingdom!

-- Drinda Dawson Nigbur, Class of 1967 (wife of Tom Nigbur, Class of 1966)


Obituary RE Dave Rapelje 1948-2010

David Gerald Rapelje was born February 28, 1948 in Toppenish, Washington.  After a very short and brave battle with lung cancer, Dave went peacefully to be with his Lord and Savior on November 27, 2010. Dave is survived by his wife of 40 and ½ years, Lyla; parents, Duane and Edna Rapelje; two children, Adam and wife Amy, daughter, Diana and husband Nathan Beach; grandchildren, Ella, Rosie, Hallie, Hazel, and Westin; brothers, Don and wife Susie, Pete and wife Michele, nieces and nephews, Matt, Isaac, Rachel, Jenny, Jonathon, Ashley, Connor, numerous relatives and friends

Dave grew up on many military bases throughout the U.S. as his adoptive dad proudly served the Air Force. His family lived in California, Florida, Washington, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and Idaho. Because of the constant transfers, Dave learned how to make friends quickly and be the entertainer. He and his brothers, Don and Pete, were very competitive with their fishing skills. Dave learned quickly where the best spots were for fishing and what bait to use. He thrived in the outdoors and in the mountains where he became a proficient fisherman and hunter. Graduating from Widefield High School in Colorado Springs, CO, he joined the U.S. Navy at 18 and was assigned to the U.S.S. Princeton, LPH 5, during the Vietnam War. He attained the rank of E5 in record speed. Dave, his two brothers and Dad served in the Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marines at the same time.

Dave was a talented artist whose logo was chosen for the Apollo 10. In 1968, he met his wife, Lyla, and married on June 27, 1970. Dave attended colleges in Santa Monica and Sacramento, CA. He started his working career as a salesman and continued in sales because of his wit and gift of gab. He became partners in the sporting goods store, Wild Sports, in Sacramento. In 1983, the Lord found Dave and encouraged him to move his family to Spokane, Washington. He then purchased a wholesale bait business, naming it "Mr. Bait," from Greg McCowan who later became his best friend and hunting buddy. Buying Mr. Bait allowed Dave to develop strong relationships with family and friends. Because of his leadership and people skills, Dave entertained his fishing and hunting buddies constantly. He was actively involved in the Spokane Bird Dog Association and NAHRA. Learning how to train his hunting dogs Teak and Sage was a real challenge but rewarding as he hunted pheasants, ducks, geese, grouse, turkeys, deer, wild boar, and elk. He was a co-owner of a house in Hecela, South Dakota, where he went annually to hunt, cook, guide, and entertain his buddies. He was sorely missed this year during the pheasant hunt but was kept up-to-date with the hunting expeditions by phone.

Dave was especially proud of his two children, Adam and Diana. Both graduated from Northwest Christian where he supported their pursuits in basketball and cheerleading. One of the proudest moments was when Adam was part of the winning State B Basketball Tournament in 1994. Dave was also proud of his children's diplomas from WSU and their chosen mates Amy and Nate. His five grandbabies will always love their dear PAPA! Dave was the ultimate family man – both as dad, uncle, and grandpa. He was the family Patriarch who arranged reunions and documented family weddings and events with wonderful videos and pictures put to music. The family would like to send a special thank-you to the ENTIRE staff of Holy Family Hospital who was so supportive and caring. Words of gratitude especially go to Dr. Tommy Le of Group Health and Dr. Tiffany Hanf of Holy Family.

Dave was laid to rest at Washington State Veterans Cemetery. A celebration of Dave's life was held at Ball and Dodd Funeral Home in Spokane, Washington.  In lieu of flowers, people were requested to make donations to the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ.


In Memory of Marty Dostal!  (2/24/47 - 2/13/12)  

by Gillie Walker



What an amazing man. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to get to know him in the past year and I know he was delighted that he attended the reunion this summer and was reacquainted with so many of our classmates. His death is hitting everyone who knew and loved him very hard. I don't think I've ever known anyone with such an incredible zest for life, love of adventure and such an adorable twinkle in his eye (I'm sure he'll forgive me for calling him "adorable"). 


I've noticed in my short re-acquaintance with Marty that everyone who knows him has a "Marty" story. Most of you know that he was an Army Ranger during the Viet Nam era and the stories are beginning to pour in from his military compatriots.  


His son, Josh, shared with me that he hadn't heard many of the high school stories about his Dad. Well, I'm thinking that's a doggone shame because they're really funny.  I'd like to invite all of you to write down and share your best "Marty" story for publication on the web site and sharing with the family. He was one of those remarkable and rare people who touch the lives of everyone they meet. Darn it! I am really going to miss him! Let's share the stories and maybe that'll help us heal.


Ok, I'll start. I don't exactly have a Marty story because although he admitted to having a crush on me all through high school, I can't think of any time that he actually spoke to me. We must have, though, right? I was very well aware of him (those sparkling eyes were hard to miss), but I don't remember any conversation we ever had. He married on his return from Viet Nam to Nova Irene Musgrove (Josh's mother) who I'm pretty sure attended Widefield but graduated from Mitchell in the class of '69 (?). I didn't know her but knew that he had married one of those shameless underclass husseys who were snagging our men. 


Oh well, I had my chance in 7th grade. Meg Hulsey, Carol Krause and I had a party in my basement...probably the first party I ever had. Marty had broken his leg playing football and somehow hobbled and gathered himself up to attend my party. He was the only one who did! I have no idea how that happened (but I'm going to blame Meg). I do know I was humiliated and mortified and, being totally unskilled at social situations gone wrong, didn't have a clue what to do...and so completely ignored Marty...we all did. In my mind today I see skinny little kid Marty, his leg in a cast sitting on the edge of a huge, empty basement room with Meg, Carol and I flapping around, giggling and not saying a word to him. No wonder he never spoke to me again until last year. My Dad, apparently, finally took pity on him and drove him home. Marty said he would have walked away if he hadn't had that darned cast on his leg. Talk about uncomfortable!  


Write your story down and send it in to me, Gillie Walker, at

Donnie Martinez at

or Paul Snell our webmaster at


Because so many of Marty's military friends from all over the country want to come to any service that's held, a date for the memorial service hasn't been set yet. There will be a celebration of life gathering on Sunday, March 4, 3:00 p.m. (see the obituary). Keep checking our class website for further information.


With love and many hugs,

Gillie  (February 22, 2012)






Beloved long-time “local” and friend to all, James Martin Dostal (Marty) passed away on February 13, 2012, just days short of his 65th birthday on February 24.


The Dostal family traveled extensively, including living in Japan before settling in Security, CO. Marty attended Widefield High School until 1965, when he joined the U.S. Army.  Marty was a decorated veteran who served as a combat medic in the Republic of Vietnam with the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division from June, 1967 until February, 1968. Prior to serving with the LRRPs, he worked as a Medavac (dust-off) helicopter medic and also within the trauma center of the 326th Medical Battalion where casualties from the battlefield were flown into for emergency treatment. He served two tours in Vietnam, and was stationed at West Point between those tours. Marty later served in other postings within the USA and Europe for a total of ten years service in the US Army, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant.


Upon his return from Vietnam, he lived in Colorado Springs, where he married Nova Musgrove. Ultimately, Marty, Nova and Josh moved to the Vail Valley where Marty worked for many years with B&B before branching off as a self-employed General Contractor until his death. He is survived by his son, Josh Martin Dostal, and grandson, Jay Martin Dostal, of Gypsum, CO; mother, Shirley L. Dostal, and sisters, Kaylene Dostal Holleran and Rolene Dostal Young, of Colorado Springs, CO. Marty was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Nova Irene Musgrove Dostal, grandson, Alex Dostal, and father, Roland Dostal.


Marty was proud of his service for his country and kept in touch with many Vietnam Vets all around the country and attended Veteran reunions whenever possible. Motorcycle riding was one of Marty’s favorite pastimes and he did some lengthy rides across the country in the last several years, as well as shorter rides all over Colorado. He was an avid gardener and was also tremendously proud of his grandson, Jay, and loved watching him play football for the Eagle Valley Devils.


Marty was a wonderful friend to all who knew him. Many people loved and leaned on Marty because you could always count on him as a rock solid friend. He was a very cheerful guy with a big smile and laugh, and lots of stories. Marty will be greatly missed and will remain forever in the hearts of all who loved him. “And there you have it.” (Marty’s classic signature ending to all his many stories.)


A celebration of life gathering will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2012, from 3:00 p.m. until whenever, at the Main Street Grill, which is on the Riverwalk in Edwards, CO. A memorial service is being planned for a future date which will be published as soon as it’s determined. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations to the Marty Dostal Memorial Fund (for the benefit of Jay Dostal’s college expenses) be sent to any 1st Bank. His Widefield High School class of 1966 is inviting the submission of “Marty” stories for publication to the class web site and inclusion in a booklet for the family. The site address is The family would be pleased to receive cards from friends c/o: Josh Dostal, P.O. Box 2130, Gypsum, CO  81637.


Let’s toast to Marty -- Wonderful friend to all who knew him, big smile, twinkle in his eyes, always a story to tell. Marty always had your back. You could count on him to help you out with anything… and then some. Always fun and outgoing. Marty will be greatly missed. …And there you have it.




MARTY WAS FONDLY RECALLED in Bruce McAlexander’s September 2011 essay, which is posted on our class website. Referring to Marty’s attendance at the July 2011 reunion, Bruce wrote: “Marty still tells great stories and can make me laugh. I always thought Marty was such a free spirit and his eyes still twinkle when telling stories. How his smile still today can get the girls’ attention. Have I embarrassed you yet, Marty? My mom and both sisters still adore him.”




AFTER POSTING INFORMATION about MARTY on the class website on Wednesday 2/22/12, our Class Committee member and Webmaster Paul Snell noted that there were 222 visitors to the website as of 2:22 p.m. on this 2/22 date. “Ok, that is just too weird. I mean – weird,” said Paul in a note to the Class Committee. Upon commenting on the coincidence that Paul noted, Class Committee member Gillie asked, “Do you think that was Marty saying Hi?”




GILLIE’S TRIBUTE TO MARTY noted the party that Gillie had in the basement of her family home in 7th grade. I was taken aback to read that Marty was the only guy who showed up at the party. I recall quite well when Gillie, Meg and Carol began attending 7th grade with many of us at Sproul Junior High in Security. Because they were strikingly pretty, they were the talk of the school among the guys for many months. Given the popularity of all three newcomers (Gillie, Meg, Carol), Gillie’s basement would have been packed with Sproul Junior High guys if the party would have been better announced. Marty was fortunate to have been the only guy in the company of all three beauty queens (Gillie, Meg, Carol), but it was unfortunate that the party was uncomfortable for Marty and the three beauty queens.


My “story” about Marty took place when we were in 9th grade at high school (yes, back then we 9th graders were lumped in the high-school category). As noted in my memorial about Larry Cordova (see our class website), Larry always said that he would come to my defense if any guy ever challenged short-and-skinny me to a fight. On one occasion when we were in 9th grade, Marty flashed a smile and told me to let him know if any guy dared to mess with me and Larry was not able to handle the guy. Fortunately, I never needed Marty or Larry to protect me from physical violence. At the July 2011 reunion, it was quite obvious that Marty was charming the women in attendance. In my reference to our Class Committee members Gillie and Meg, Marty flashed that gleam in his eyes and smiled broadly at me when I told him that Gillie and Meg had been talking fondly about him (you know, “Marty…this” and “Marty…that”) over the prior year leading up the reunion. Marty’s sister, Kay, told me at the July 2011 reunion that she recalled me always showing up at the Teen Center to demonstrate the latest dance routines long before the dances became popular at school. All of us at the reunion were blessed to have had Marty socializing the night away with us at the July 2011 reunion. See below for the photo of Marty at the event.


Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez, WHS Class of 1966 Committee

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch, family nickname since childhood

a/k/a Don, presumably the adult version of Donnie

a/k/a Primo (Cousin) to dozens of my Martinez cousins

a/k/a El Aguila (The Eagle), a version of Gillie’s name for me.


I don’t care what people call me, just call me.


by Shelly Martel

This is why Marty was adored by everyone that knew him.  He knew how to be a friend.

Several years ago I opened my seasonal retail greenhouse business down in Edwards. CO. Marty drove up one day on his motorcycle, just going for a ride. He could tell I was in the weeds, trying to unload a huge truckload of product, get it into the greenhouse and watered.  Marty stopped what he was doing and just gave me a hand for about an hour when I really needed it. He had many a beer and many a meal over at our house in the past several years.  I will really miss him a lot, everything about Marty I will miss.



This is a pictures that was taken in 08 at Marty's house in Colorado Springs during a Lurp reunion held there. We all stayed at Marty's house. 

L-R: Dostal, Gunther Bengston, Al "Lurch" Cornett, Brian "Wolfman" Kraft, Rey Martinez. Sitting: David "Mad Dog" Dolby was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Johnson in 1967. We all knew each other from the Nam and we all served together.


My name is Rey Martinez and I have known Marty Dostal since June 1967. I was also known as Marty.

My friendship with Marty started on a hilltop outside of Duc Pho, Republic of South Vietnam. He was the ripe age of twenty years old and I was twenty-one. We were in the midst of a shooting war and all the chaos that it entails. He was a good man, fearless, and tough. He had just volunteered to join our unit, and would be trained in how we operated and see if he could pass the selection process. It was an all-volunteer Special Operations unit called Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (In 1969 the name changed to Ranger status) It was a small detachment with four six man teams and an Operations and Intelligence section. Everyone knew each other very well in this outfit. The LRRP’s combat mission was deep reconnaissance in enemy territory, placing wire-taps on enemy communication lines, prisoner snatches for intelligence interrogation, liquidation of targeted high ranking officers, raids on enemy compounds for intelligence gathering information, and other missions as needed by Operations and Intelligence at brigade, division, and Army Corp levels. We operated in six man and sometimes twelve man teams deep behind enemy lines. Not everyone was mentally, emotionally or physically capable to handle the stressful environment of being a LRRP. 

My brother Marty Dostal was a decorated combat medic…and a good one. Marty was a beautiful sight for hurting eyes. Medics were in short supply in LRRP’s (two in our detachment), so medics were always rotating from team to team and going out on missions and twice as much as other LRRP members. I know personally that Marty was involved in several heavy horrific combat incidents, which produced LRRP casualties and death. As a medic, Marty’s job entailed treating and dealing with casualties, plus engaging the enemy while doing so. He took his job seriously and was a very highly respected member of our unit.

Our friendship deepened and extended until his death. I was with him and Josh (son) when they lost their dear one Nova in a tragic accident here in Idaho. I will always love my brother for his courage and humbleness, his craziness, the glint in his eye and his beautiful heart. I will miss him…

Mitakue Oyasin,

        (All my Relations)

        Reynel Martinez            




Click on it to enlarge it. Photo was taken by Gary Storm.

Marty et al.Photo of Marty Dostal at the July 2011 reunion. Click on the photo to enlarge it and to read the caption. Photo was taken by Gary Storm.

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I can remember Marty Dostal in school. I always thought he was very handsome and fun to talk to. I also had a little crush on him. I was sorry to hear of his passing. I think we all will have good memories of him.


Barbara Smith Patterson (WHS Class of 1966)




I still can't believe it was Marty! He looked so healthy and happy at the reunion in July 2011, even more so when he caught Gillie's eye. He will be missed by all.


Danielle Andres (WHS Class of 1966)



From:  Gillie Walker

Saturday, May 12, 2012, a Memorial service was held in Freedom Park, Edwards, CO, for Marty's friends and family.  Despite dire weather predictions for snow in the mountains, I left my home in Colorado Springs first thing in the morning.  Just as I was getting on the Interstate, I heard Marty's song, "Freebird", and I knew that my trip would be perfect.


Here in the lowlands, the weather was foggy and misty.  Marty had lived in the Vail Valley for 30 years or more but I knew from what he said that while he loved living in the mountains with his many friends, he was ready for a change from the harsh cold of winter.  I thought how happy for him not to have to deal with that again.  There was very little traffic on the road to Denver...most unusual and probably due to the adamant forecasts of nasty weather.  So I just kind of floated along, marveling at the glorious scenery that was punctuated and outlined by the banks of mist lying in drifts along the undulating hills.  Once I gained more elevation going up I-70 toward the tunnel, the fog thinned and finally the road broke through into sparkling sunshine...sunny skies that continued throughout the weekend for us in the highlands.  It seemed an apt metaphor for this new journey that Marty has undertaken.


Freedom Park is a new addition to the Valley and dedicated to fallen military veterans.  Marty's name will be inscribed on the stone sculpture in the park along with all the others from that region who have passed. Anyone who knew Marty even a little bit also knew that he had been a Medic with the Army Rangers, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP or Lurps as the brothers called themselves)*.  These men were carefully chosen from the entire U. S. Army for their particular skills and qualities of personality to be formed into groups of 6 who would go out into the bush of Vietnam to search for and report enemy locations.  It was these brothers in spirit who came together again from various parts of the U.S. to conduct the Memorial ceremony.


Tome Robideaux and Rey Martinez explained to the attendees of the ceremony that after the war Marty had been initiated into the Tokola Kit Fox Warrior Society which originates with the Lakota Sioux tribe of our Native Americans.  Tome shared that the Society has its first allegiance to the Creator force and the practice of compassion and empathy.  They are dedicated to stand between any oppressor and the weaker oppressed.  In one of their songs or prayers it is said, "... don't cry for me because I have chosen this way."


It was a very heart-felt ceremony that included, in the tradition of the Tokolas, a bowl of burning sage and other herbs of the earth (the fire symbolizing the First Light which changed the darkness into light), Marty's boots and bush hat, and a peace pipe that had been passed down through Tome's family for 150 years, against a background of 3 shields made in the traditional way and hanging from 3 tripods made of tree limbs. Songs were sung and prayers offered in the native language blessing Marty's life and encouraging him to move into the light of the Creator.  Family members were blessed and cleansed with the burning of healing herbs and oils.  The American flag was presented to Marty's mother, Shirley Dostal, who then passed it on to her great-grandson, Jay Dostal, who plans to follow in his grandfather's footsteps by becoming a Ranger. The Color Guard passed by with their flags and Taps was played.  Off and on throughout the ceremony, a meadowlark sang nearby for us.  It was beautiful and moving and absolutely perfect.


Afterwards we gathered at the Singletree Community Center to eat and visit together.  I got to meet most of Marty's Lurp brothers, Rey Martinez (also called Marty), Tome Robideaux, Alan (Lurch) Cornett and Gunther Bengston.  (I'm sorry I didn't actually speak to Allen (Teddybear) Gaskell and Riley (Dozer) Cox who were also part of the ceremony.)  What an amazing bunch of men!  I heard a harrowing tale from Marty's friends, Sarah, Chris and Molly of rafting on the Colorado River when the water was way too high and resulted in dumping the passengers into the freezing river.  I met an old friend of Marty's from his rafting days, Jim Shearer, who also turns out to be a friend of mine from 40 years ago.  I got to meet Marty's dear friend and motorcycling buddy, Dan, and his beautiful partner, Shelly, as well as his friend and boss and compatriot in the building of beautiful homes, Jeff.


Of course Marty's family was in attendance:  His mother, the unsinkable Shirley, his sisters, Kaylene and Rolene, son, Josh, and grandson, Jay.  The Musgroves also attended:  Father-in-law, Bill (who at 88 years of age dazzled the military men with tales of his WWII times as a pilot), and brother and sister-in-law, Vivian and Joan.  The daughter, Tracy, of Marty's best friend in high school, Dennis O'Rourke, married his nephew, Nathan Musgrove, and they attended.  My apologies if I've missed naming any of the other Musgrove cousins who might have been there. 


I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to reunite with Marty and having him as my best friend and confidant for the past year.  My good fortune continues in the form of meeting and getting to know his beautiful family and friends.  God bless you, Marty Dostal!, and all who loved him.


*If you're interested in reading about the LRRP's and their time in history, Reynel Martinez wrote an excellent book titled, "Six Silent Men".  It's the first book in a series of three, each describing a specific period of Lurp history.  Another book which was recommended to me is "Gone Native", by Alan (Lurch) Cornett.


P.S.  Much, much more could be written about the traditions and symbolisms surrounding the ceremony.  Probably the majority of the attendees were as unfamiliar as I on the meanings of the elements of the altar which was central to the service, as well as the ceremony itself.  I did want to mention that the overall purpose was to sever the ties we, the physically living, have in holding Marty's spirit to us.  Essentially, to free us all, including Marty, from the bonds of grief.  While I recognized in some deep part of me that this would mean saying a final goodbye to Marty, I was unprepared for the renewed sense of loss.  I've not had this experience following any of the other memorial ceremonies I've attended and wanted to mention it for the sake of others of you who may be surprised at having similar feelings.


    "I am part of all I have met."

        Alfred, Lord Tennyson   


With Love,


May 19, 2012



by Donnie (Collier) Martinez


Our classmate Larry Gene Sandoval passed away in Spring 2011 at age 63. Born in February 1948, he always was a very quiet and gentle type for the many years he was our classmate from junior high through high school. During my wild years with my longtime friends Yolanda Lopez (Class of 1965) and Larry Cordova (Class of 1966), Larry Sandoval periodically walked to and from school with us. We often tried to coax Larry to join us in our wild misbehaviors at night in Security’s neighborhoods, but he always smiled and politely declined by saying he had homework to do. [For details of the wild antics engaged in by Yolanda, Larry Cordova and me during our childhood and teen years in Security, see the memorial I wrote about Larry Cordova, who died in 2008.]


Larry Sandoval always was serious about his school studies and homework. In his September 2011 “Security Reflections” essay that is posted on the Class of 1966 website, our classmate Bruce McAlexander fondly observed that Larry “made the honor roll often.”


After his return from serving in the military during the U.S. war in Vietnam, Larry was diagnosed with post-traumatic syndrome related to his experiences with the horrors of war. He was placed on a permanent disability related to his post-traumatic syndrome from which he never recovered. In the aforementioned essay, Bruce McAlexander wrote about Larry: “I saw him a few times in the Kwik after he had come back, evidently with many nightmares.”


Larry is survived by his sister Mary Lou Sandoval (WHS Class of 1967), his brother Henry Sandoval (WHS Class of 1970), and his son Steve Sandoval.





by Donnie (Collier) Martinez


Born in 1948, Michelle Siewing was with us from junior high all the way through high school. A very warm and friendly student, she was well liked by our classmates. Her brother Dick Siewing (WHS Class of 1964) also was a very well-liked student.


After high school, Michelle married Tom Payne (WHS Class of 1965) and they had two children. Shortly before the 2006 reunion, our longtime classmate Joy Payne Humphrey (sister of Michelle’s husband Tom) informed me that Tom raised the children after he and Michelle split up several years after they got married. Joy notified me that Michelle passed away in 1997 from a brain aneurysm while living on a houseboat on an island overseas with her boyfriend.


As of my information in Summer 2006, Michelle’s survivors were her brother Dick, her daughter and son, and four grandchildren she never had the opportunity to know as they were born after she passed away in 1997.






by Donnie (Collier) Martinez


Born in 1948, Tommy Shepherd was with us for many years in grade school, junior high and high school in Security. He had a younger sister and his mother, Gerry Shepherd, worked at the water department in Security for many years.


“Tommy was a good friend of mine in elementary school and junior high days in Security,” wrote our classmate Bruce McAlexander in a February 2011 email letter to me. “I remember riding my bike with Tommy in one of the keyhole-shaped streets to see his new girlfriend, Barbara, who had long pig tails and was already beautiful back then,” added Bruce upon noting that our classmate Barbara Billingsley and Tommy Shepherd were girlfriend and boyfriend when we were in fourth or fifth grade at North Security Elementary School.


Bruce recalls that Tommy’s parents divorced when we were in sixth or seventh grade. My recollection is that Tommy moved away during our junior year in high school, but Bruce’s recollection is that Tommy moved away at the end of our sophomore year. Regardless of the specific year that Tommy moved away, Bruce recalls well that Tommy ran the mile on the track team and did it quite well.


“I don’t know if Tommy was even 20 years old,” stated Bruce upon noting that it was shortly after high school that Tommy was killed in an accident in which his car hit a semi truck from behind. Tommy’s mother was devastated, as conveyed by her to several people with whom she kept in touch in Security.





by Donnie (Collier) Martinez


Although I don’t recall exactly when Larry Lollar and his family moved to Security, he was definitely with us in high school.

Shortly before the 2006 reunion, I learned more about what happened to Larry from his older brother Gary Lollar (WHS Class of 1965) whose wife Judy Sackhoff Lollar was with us for many years from grade school through high school in Security. According to Gary, Larry joined the U.S. Army after high school and survived nine (9) helicopter crashes during the 19 months that he was stationed in Vietnam.


“He always told our Mom that he was a clerk typist,” commented Gary in reference to what Larry did while in the U.S. Army. Evidently, Larry was more than a clerk typist while he was stationed in Vietnam. For his military service, Larry received a Purple Heart and Silver Star along with other awards and medals.


After his many close calls with death during the U.S. war in Vietnam, Larry got out of the military in late 1969 or early 1970. Gary informed me that Larry passed away on September 26, 1971, during a dune-buggy accident in Canon City, Colorado.


Larry is buried at Memorial Gardens in Colorado Springs.





by Donnie (Collier) Martinez


One of a few of our classmates who had one or both parents from the Philippines, Dennis was with us in junior high and our first two years of high school. A very studious classmate, Dennis always was known among our teachers and classmates to make very good grades in all subjects. In our sophomore year, many of us were shocked and saddened to learn that Dennis passed away from encephalitis. Because he was the first of our classmates to die while we were in school, the new experience brought on reactions ranging from avoidance to a profound sense of our own vulnerability to death at a young age. Although many of our classmates had a collective sense of grief when President Kennedy died the year before Dennis passed away, news about the death of one of our own was an entirely different dynamic.


I don’t recall if the funeral for Dennis was open to the public and I don’t recall that he was even buried in Colorado Springs. I do clearly recall that none of our classmates mentioned attending the funeral, either because it was not a local event or because it would have been emotionally overwhelming to bid farewell to a classmate.




Jean Antoinette Puylara [Cox through marriage]

Jean, 61, a long time resident of Colorado Springs, was a graduate of Widefield High School, Bethel Nursing School and Pikes Peak Community College. She was active for many years in Girl Scouts and local figure skating clubs. She is survived by her daughters Rhonda Cox, Melani Young and Linda Frazier; Grandchildren Cody and Aimee Young and Anna and Allison Frazier; Sisters Phyllis Scott and Carol Hawks and her brother John Puylara. Service will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at Dove-Witt Family Mortuary 6630 S. Hwy 85/87 Fountain, CO


Fondly Remembering Our Classmates Joe and Jean

by Donnie [Collier] Martinez   July 2009


It is with great sadness that I announce the deaths of two of our classmates, Joe Good and Jean Puylara. As noted in my February 2009 update to our classmates, it is important to put in perspective that we are at a point in our lives when death will be a frequent visitor. The deaths of Joe and Jean need to be viewed in that context.


On July 23, 2009, in Colorado Springs, Jean passed away unexpectedly from what our classmate Linda Nolin Weber described as an apparent pulmonary embolism. Born in November 1947, Jean was 61 at the time of her death.


It is noteworthy that the first aspect of Jean’s life in the obituary was that she graduated from Widefield High School. While obituaries generally highlight other aspects of people’s lives before mentioning schools from which they graduated, the obituary about Jean started off with the impressive list of educational institutions from which Jean graduated. It is wonderful that the obituary about Jean began with her graduation from our high school.


Jean was a very sweet and nice classmate throughout high school. I recall her taking great pride as a member of the French Club every year at school. She used to smile upon uttering to me some French words that were beyond my comprehension, and I used to laugh upon replying to her with Spanish words that she did not understand. Jean noted at our 2006 class reunion that one of her high school memories was "Band Day in Boulder" in our junior year. Our classmate Barbara Billingsley Massarano recently told me that she enjoyed talking with Jean at our past three class reunions at which Jean told Barbara some stories about Mr. Berglund, the band teacher in high school.


At our historic 40-year class reunion three years ago, it was nice to see and visit with Jean. Flashing her usual friendly smile, she displayed her kind and warm qualities. On her reunion sheet, she listed her marital status as being divorced and noted that her hobbies included knitting. That creative hobby obviously was special to her because the word “knitting” was next to her name in her email address. She credited our high school Art teacher Mr. Nevin for teaching her that her creativity and imagination are limitless. In response to the reunion sheet's inquiry about what she would do differently in her life, Jean noted that she would not be what others (family included) thought she should be.


Joe’s death was discovered by our classmate Janine Moore Dancliff when she and her husband Randy were at a July 2009 social gathering at which Joe’s brother Frank (WHS Class of 1967) and Frank’s wife Suzie Shattuck Good (WHS Class of 1967) were in attendance. A day or so after the social gathering in Wyoming (where Janine resides and where Joe’s brother also resides), Janine notified our Class Committee Treasurer Debra Armknecht Allen, who forwarded the information to our Website Committee member Bruce McAlexander.


Born in April 1948 in Germany, Joe died from lung cancer at age 60 on September 5, 2008, at Davis Hospice Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He was cremated. The obituary about him noted that he worked at Lowe’s, the store that sells products similar to those at Home Depot. Joe’s only survivors are his brothers Frank and Robert.


When we were in junior high and high school, Joe told me that his legal first name was William and that he preferred going by the shortened version of his middle name Joseph. My clearest memory of Joe entails his smiling eyes that might as well have been the subject matter of Johnny Tillotson’s late 1950s popular song “Dreamy Eyes.” Long before his nice smile would appear on his mouth, it was easy to tell from Joe’s smiling eyes that he was going to flash his mouth smile at any second. Despite his great smile and nice looks, Joe always was noticeably absent from the photos in our yearbooks for the many years we were in school together.


Joe was a heart throb to several of our female classmates. Bruce McAlexander is fond of telling the wild story about me ending up in detention in junior high because of showing all the boys a Polaroid photo of a nude female classmate, who selected me to show the photo to Joe as she had a crush on him and wanted to do the nasty with him. If I would have stuck to my role as intermediary and gave the picture directly to Joe as instructed, that probably would have been the end of the situation. My mistake was that I passed the photo around during class so that numerous male classmates could see it. Although I was almost suspended from school because of the incident, I ended up in what Bruce refers to as “our introduction to prison life” (detention) supervised by Mr. Chambers (uncle of our classmate Terry Chambers) for several weeks. I won’t repeat the Spanish punitive words my mother directed at me when she learned what occurred. In addition to school officials placing me in detention for several weeks, my mother placed me on restriction at home for several weeks. Careful not to implicate Joe, I told school officials that I had no idea to whom the picture was directed. Joe later thanked me for not disclosing to school authorities Joe's connection to the incident. School officials did not take disciplinary action against the female classmate despite her identity being known from the photo, which was taken by her sister. For the gory details, click “Bruce’s Blog” on this website to read his essay titled “On to Sproul” regarding many fun times at Sproul Junior High School.


Although Bruce’s tale involving Joe and me certainly is very wild and sensational, our classmate Barbara Billingsley Massarano has an equally wild story involving her and Joe. Noting that she had “a lot of fun times with Joe” as he was her neighbor when she lived on Willis Avenue, Barbara fondly recalls a situation involving her, classmate Sue Jennings, Joe and another male classmate. Describing the four of them as "a bunch of mischievous kids having good clean fun," Barbara wrote the following about the incident:


“It was an upscale apartment building where my brother shared the "penthouse" apartment with some friends. I believe it was November and of course the outdoor pool was closed, so we scaled the wall to go for a swim. I wore a green knit sweater suit with matching suede shoes. I walked out on the diving board as everyone pondered whether to go in. When I saw the boys stripping down to their "tidy whities" I thought it would be funny to feign indignation so I yelled something, held my nose and jumped in. I had a hard time to keep from drowning with all the wet wool and shoes! I believe Everclear was somehow involved. But the funniest part was going up the elevator to my brother's place to get towels. I just remember the guys with their clothes neatly folded over their arms in their underwear as we rode up the elevator with well dressed tenants arriving home from a night out. We all just said "good evening" and stared ahead. My brother wasn't home and his roommates wouldn't open the door, so they [the guys] dressed in the hall and we went to the Dawn Restaurant where we participated in a giant donut fight. I looked like a drowned rat, but the guys looked pretty good.”


Our classmate Twila Wilson also was very fond of Joe. By the time we were seniors, Twila was Joe’s date at our Prom. My date at the Prom was the above-named Barbara, who came in a very close second place for the Prom Queen title that was barely won by our classmate Dee Kowalski. Linda Phipps was Bruce's date at our Prom. To this day, Bruce and I roar with laughter upon fondly recalling one part of Prom night when we glanced in the back seat of the car and watched Twila and Joe engaged in a luscious lip lock that seemed like it was never going to end. We thought they were never going to come up for air.

If any of you have other fond memories of Joe or Jean, please email them to our Webmaster Paul Snell for posting on this website.



Remembering Mel Davis

Mel Davis passed from this life on January 1, 2009. Our blessings and prayers go out to his family. Doug Allen writes: I was deeply saddened to hear of Mel's passing. He and I were never on the A list at WHS and amazingly we both managed to lead moderately successful lives. (Hear my chuckling) Mel and I started out our work lives together as busboys and dishwashers at the Cafe deVille on South Nevada Avenue. Not the most glamorous of starts but there were many college girls home for the summers as servers who always were looking for a date on most any evening. And that's enough of that story!


Fondly Remembering Our Classmate Jo Ann Vallone Thayer

by Donnie (Collier) Martinez (April 2008)

Having known her since we were kids in Security, where her parents owned the town bakery, Jo Ann always was very warm and kind to me. In our adult years, Jo Ann always remembered me by my childhood name "Donnie" in her annual Christmas cards. Her warmth and kindness continued at our 40-year high school reunion at which Jo Ann immediately took me under her wing and helped me throughout the event to find my way around due to my vision impairment. She and her husband Ed could have easily experienced the event on their own, but they watched out for me. I will always cherish the photos that Jo Ann and Ed gave to me. On the night that Jo Ann passed away about 9:00 p.m., I was in Denver attending a Chicano cultural event at which there was a spiritual performance by an American Indian flutist, who at one point requested the audience to close our eyes and remember people who have left our lives in death. Upon recalling my many deceased relatives and friends as the flutist played on, I also remembered the deceased classmates known by Jo Ann and others from our high school. Little did I know that Jo Ann passed away during the time of the flutist's ceremony. "Mitakuye oyasin" are the words the flutist used in his native language. In English, those words mean "We are all related." In addition to being related to her biological family, Jo Ann was indeed related to all of us. May she rest in peace.


Jo Ann Vallone Thayer

By Gillie Walker

April 24, 2008

Our dear friend, Jo Ann, passed peacefully from this plane Monday night, April 21, 2008, of heart-related issues. As I think of her and what to write here, I see a vivid picture in my mind of her glowing face at the reunion…she just looked so incredibly beautiful and glowing, as if she had her life and herself put together in the perfect way to bring her and everyone around her complete joy. I also see an image of her as a young person, full of youth and promise. But throughout, I see myself looking into those beautiful brown eyes of hers, so deep and soulful. Oh my gosh, she will be missed.

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.

Chuang Tse


Fondly Remembering Our Classmate Della Romero Birch

by Donnie (Collier) Martinez 

In a 1995 lengthy letter to me from Della, she remarked: “It is too bad we cannot bring back thetimes instead of just the memories.”

I knew Della and her twin sister Stella since the 1950s when we lived in Security, a subdivision of Colorado Springs. Della once told me that her family was the first Mexican-American family to buy a home in Security and realtors generally did not do business with Mexican Americans in the 1950s.

Their father Tino Romero, whom many people nicknamed “Shorty” because of his height, was the meat cutter for many years at the Simms Grocery Store in Security. My mother and Mr. Romero were friends.

Della was the first girlfriend I ever had. We were in 4th or 5th grade at North Security Elementary School when we went steady. I bought her a ring at Simms Grocery Store, where her father worked. Della proudly wore the ring on a chain around her neck.

When we were youngsters in Sproul Junior High, Della’s second boyfriend was our classmate Rod Gilliland. Throughout the time she and Rod were together, Della and I remained good friends and had many good laughs. Recalling our good times, Della wrote in a lengthy 8-page letter to me in 1986:

“I remember the time you turned in the words ‘Soldier Boy’ (the 1962 song by the Shirelles) for an English-class assignment and you got an A on it. You were always the funny one.”

After high school, Della met her husband-to-be Dick Birch in 1967 in California. They moved to Milwaukee, where Dick was from, and got married. They lived there for 11 years, during which time they had two sons. The Birch family moved to Denver in 1979 and lived there for four years. From 1983 up until Della’s death in 2001, they lived in Mesa, Arizona. Della was always proud of her husband. After I told her that Dick is a wonderful guy, Della once wrote to me in a letter in 1995:

“Yes, Dick is a wonderful man. I don’t think I could have found a better partner if I had ordered one.”

At our 30-year high school class reunion, it was fitting that my first dance was with Della. One of the highlights of the reunion was when Della, Dick, Bruce McAlexander and I got together. Dick got a big kick out of watching Della, Bruce and me as we roared with laughter reminiscing about old times in grade school, junior high and high school.

Della passed into eternal rest November 2, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona, at the age of 53. The day she passed away was the birthday of her husband, Dick Birch, with whom Della had been married almost 35 years.

At the time of her death, Della was survived by her spouse Dick; sons Tim and Brian; grandchildren; twin sister Stella; sisters Judy (WHS Class of 1964) and Pauline (WHS Class of 1965); and, her mother Erma. Della was preceded in death by her father, who passed away in the early 1990s.


Fondly Remembering Our Classmate Larry Cordova

by Donnie [Collier] Martinez 

November 2008

As I write this entry in memory of Larry Cordova, the beautiful Spanish slow song “Flor Triste” (Sad Flower) is playing on my earphones via an Internet radio station. I fondly remember Larry from the era of the 1950s and 1960s. He was one of the first people I met upon moving to Security in the 1950s. Larry and his family lived in a newly built adobe-style house that was one block away from the newly built adobe-style house that I lived in with my mother and stepdad. When I first met Larry, his younger brothers Kenny and Ricky were still in diapers and his younger sisters Lena and Betty Jo were strikingly pretty. Mrs. Cordova was always the backbone of the family.

Larry and I had many fun times together in grade school, junior high and high school. Larry, Yolanda Lopez and I used to have some very wild times hanging around together at night on Security's streets, which were very always pitch dark due to no street lights. We were a mischievous gang of three, although not the type of gang that people are familiar with nowadays. We may have been mischievous, but we never committed any crimes against persons or property. Larry always said that he would come to my defense if anybody ever messed with me. In the lingo of the 1940s and 1950s Pachucos (defiant Mexican Americans), Larry was my “carnal” (buddy, almost like a blood brother).

Our antics were almost always carried out between 9:00 and 10:00 at night when it was completely dark. If any of you were at home with your parents during those hours and found nobody at your door upon hearing your doorbell ring, then you can be certain that it was Larry, Yolanda and me. After ringing the doorbell at somebody’s home, we quickly hid behind nearby bushes and did our best not to laugh out loud upon watching the facial reaction of the person answering the door and finding nobody there. As time wore on and we began to refine that doorbell prank, we sometimes dropped off a small sack full of dog poop by the screen door in hopes that we could witness the person step in the dog poop upon answering the door. The sight of that used to later prompt thunderous laughter among Larry, Yolanda and me. If any of you were ever riding in your parents’ car as it traveled down Security Boulevard at night and you suddenly heard the sound of an egg splattering on the passenger window, then you can be certain that it was Larry, Yolanda and me. We used to take turns hurling an egg at passing cars. The egg was not strong enough to break the car window, but it was undoubtedly inconvenient and time-consuming to clean up the sticky mess. The egg-throwing prank was the source of roaring laughter among Larry, Yolanda and me.

The Holy Family Catholic Church at which Larry’s funeral was held in October 2008 is the same church where Larry, Yolanda and I used to get in constant trouble during catechism classes when we were kids. I have never known anybody who ever got evicted from catechism, but all three of us (Larry, Yolanda and I) came very close to permanent eviction when Father Leberer got fed up (justifiably so) with our disruptive behavior during catechism classes. As kids who thought we were tough and invincible, we did not grasp the consequences of our rowdy behavior.

Several years ago circa 2003, Yolanda and I laughed uncontrollably upon reminiscing about our pranks during our childhood and teen years. Upon reflecting on the actions of our gang of three from the 1950s and early 1960s, Yolanda commented: “At least we weren’t doing drive-by shootings like they do nowadays.”

At one point or another back then, our respective mothers expressed that Larry, Yolanda and I were not a good influence on one another. Our mothers were probably right, but we sure did have fun and wild times together.

When my friend Renee moved to Security during our junior high school years, she also began to hang around with Larry, Yolanda and me. We used to hang out and have some great social times at the Cordova family home. After Larry and I graduated high school together, our respective lives went down different paths and we saw each other only once in a great while. I frequently ran into Larry’s gentle Uncle Joe when he lived here in Denver, so Uncle Joe always kept me updated on the Cordova family. Due to my health challenges from a three-year-long neurological illness for which there is no cure, I was unable to attend Larry’s funeral in late October 2008 and extended my condolences to the Cordova family. Larry ya descansa en paz (now rests in peace).


Larry Cordova, 60, born October 24, 1947 in Alamosa, Colorado to Virgil and Mary Cordova passed away October 19, 2008. Larry was a lifetime resident of Security, Colorado where he graduated from Widefield High School and later attended Colorado Mountain College. Larry enjoyed cooking for his family, was an avid movie buff, loved music and was a true Bronco-holic. Although many friends and family supported him in his battle against diabetes and heart disease, he gently surrendered surrounded by his family at Memorial Hospital. Larry will be remembered for his love of family, great sense of humor and loyalty to friends. Larry was so proud of his grandchildren and loved nothing more than spoiling them. His unconditional love and overwhelming generosity will never be forgotten. He will live on forever in our hearts. He is survived by his mother, Mary Cordova; son, Phillip (Chantelle) Volcic; sisters, Lena (Dale) Cottingham, Betty Jo (Catarino) Olivas; brothers, Richard (Gail) Cordova and Kenneth (Mary) Cordova and grandchildren, Cheyenne, Noah and Cierra. In addition he is also survived by many nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by his father, Virgil Cordova. Visitation will be held, today, October 23rd, 6pm. Funeral Mass will be on Friday, October 24th, 2pm. Both services will be at Holy Family Catholic Church, 331 Main St., Security, CO. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Funeral Dinner Fund through Holy Family Catholic Church in Larry's memory.


Angie Goodwin Budde

by Donnie (Collier) Martinez

 January 2009

It is with great sadness that I announce the death of another one of our classmates, Angie Goodwin Budde. News of her death came three days after the recent funeral for our classmate Mel Davis, whose death ushered in the year 2009. Angie’s death was discovered by our Class Committee’s goodwill ambassador, Bruce McAlexander, who requested that I write something about Angie.

 Before proceeding with the tribute to Angie, let me first share an observation conveyed to me by Bruce regarding the recent funeral for Mel. Based on music played at the funeral, Bruce noted that Mel and his wife Debby were fans of Country Western music. That genre also is among my musical variety (R&B, Mexican, classical, jazz) as a longtime lover of dance and music. By playing Garth Brooks’ 1989 mellow song “The Dance” at the funeral, Mel and Debby Davis sure had a good taste in music. Even before Mel’s funeral, by coincidence I had been searching to buy “The Dance” via the iTunes store. Offering only musical tributes to Brooks, iTunes does not offer any music by him and shame on them for that. Brooks’ beautiful song “The Dance” ranks right up there with George Strait’s slow song “What's Going On In Your World.”

 Unknown to our Class Committee until Bruce’s recent discovery, our classmate Angie Goodwin Budde passed away three years ago on January 15, 2006. According to the public obituary published in the newspapers of three cities that month, Angie’s death was the result of her battle against brain cancer over a period of fourteen years.

 “Words cannot adequately describe the profound impact Angela has had on the many lives she touched.” Those were the opening words of the obituary about her. Knowing her like many of us did from grade school through high school, it did not surprise me to learn that Angie had an impact on people in her adult years long after our many warm encounters with her during our many school years together.

 Born February 19, 1948, in Wichita, Kansas, Angie moved to Security with her parents in 1955 when she was seven years old. Among the first arrivals in Security, Angie and several of our peers attended school in a house before the grade school was finally built. Although she was always relatively quiet and shy, she always had a strikingly beautiful smile and sparkling eyes that expressed her kind inner being. By the time we were in junior high and high school together, Angie always began each new school year with a brand new stylish hairdo that was worn the remainder of our school year. While most of her hair styles each year were the short-length variety, she dazzled us with her stunning longer hairdo when we began our senior year together. It was clear that Angie was becoming a stylish and pretty young woman, more outgoing than the shy young girl we once knew.

 In high school Angie and I were in typing class together. I was always fascinated by Angie’s accuracy on the keyboard and her good scores on the typing tests. As I struggled to learn how to type on the old-style Underwood typewriter, Angie was very helpful and patient in providing helpful tips to me. “Now, Donnie, put your fingers this way,” she used to say upon illustrating techniques. Angie was a proud member of the Future Secretaries of America (FSA) club. Bruce and I joined numerous high school clubs to achieve our goal of getting our pictures in several sections of the yearbook, but we were not allowed to join the FSA club because the club sponsor Miss Woods was firm that the club was for females only. Given the long history of patriarchy and male-only clubs, it was long overdue when women-only clubs finally emerged in the 1960s. Based on the strict gender roles in those years, Angie and other female teens seemed to be socially programmed toward the secretarial profession after high school.

 Like other young women in our class, Angie defied rigid gender roles after high school when she did not end up in the secretarial profession after all. With other career choices slowly opening up for women in those years, Angie ended up in the teaching profession.

 The records of our past four high school reunions provide a snapshot of the direction of Angie’s life after all of us graduated from high school. Almost a year after graduation, Angie married our longtime classmate Eddie Nickum. Just as Angie had that special pretty smile, Eddie always had that special laugh and great sense of humor that kept many of us laughing during our many years of school together. Angie and Eddie both attended Southern Colorado State College from which they graduated in 1970. Angie had her Bachelor’s degree in English and Eddie had his Bachelor’s degree in accounting. 

Shortly after college graduation, Angie started her teaching career at Fountain High School for about one year. In 1971 she and Eddie moved to Denver, where she continued her teaching career at Adams City High School. By the time of our ten-year class reunion in 1976, Angie had gotten her Master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and Eddie had gotten his Master’s degree in biology from the University of Northern Colorado. Their first child, a son named Clint, was born two months before our ten-year class reunion. 

By the time of our 20-year class reunion in 1986, Angie and Eddie were still together and residing in the Denver area upon pursuing their respective careers. In the course of her teaching career, she was recognized with prestigious awards as Colorado Teacher of the Year and as Colorado Journalism Teacher of the Year. Former students were referred to in the obituary as fondly remembering Angie for her stylish and colorful clothing as well as her excellent teaching methods. 

Based on the time frame referred to in the obituary, in 1992 Angie began her long battle against brain cancer. In 1994 she moved to Arizona. By the time of our 30-year class reunion in 1995, Angie’s surname was Budde through her second marriage to a man named C. Thomas Budde. As of our 30-year class reunion, Angie and her new spouse were living in Mesa, Arizona, while Eddie was still residing in the Denver area. 

By the time our class committee began working on our 40-year class reunion, Angie was still residing in Mesa, Arizona. Angie was among the classmates on the list assigned to committee member Ken Loveless. Based on the phone number Ken had for Angie at the time of the 40-year reunion, a couple of phone messages were left for her by me in February 2006. Considering her jovial and courteous style, it seemed odd that Angie did not return the phone calls. None of us on the reunion committee knew that she had passed away a month before in January 2006. A memorial service for Angie was held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Mesa, Arizona. Funeral services were held January 28, 2006 at Crown Hill Mortuary in Lakewood, a city adjacent to Denver. Burial was at Crown Hill Cemetery in Lakewood. 

Although it was Angie who presumably needed and got support during her 14-year battle against brain cancer, the obituary described Angie as “an inspiration and support extraordinaire” for her husband C. Thomas Budde. Angie is survived by her husband, her parents Bryce and Lois Goodwin; two brothers Bryce Jr. and Ken; four children and four grandchildren. Angie’s oldest child Clint was 29 years old at the time of Angie’s death. 

In addition to her long career in the educational profession, Angie had been breeding and exhibiting Skye Terrier dogs for almost 30 years. Her hobbies included photography, embroidery and scrap booking. Angie’s warmth, sparkling eyes and signature smile will be sorely missed. She is now resting in peace. 

With the deaths of three of our classmates over the past year and with the recent discovery of the 2006 death of our classmate Angie, it is important to put in perspective that we are at a point in our lives where death will be a frequent visitor. Death knows no seasons. As many of us know from the loss of loved ones, life can be snatched away in the bloom of youth as well as the weakness and health challenges that come with being in our older years.