December 2021

OUR CLASSMATE TOM NIGBUR recently passed away on December 19, 2021, at the age of 73. The sad news of Tom’s death was conveyed to our classmates Paul Snell and Bruce McAlexander, both of whom contacted me. Listed below is what Tom’s wife Drinda Dawson Nigbur (WHS Class of 1967) wrote in her 12/23/21 communication to Paul.

Good morning Class of 1966. Sadly I am letting you all know about my husband Tom passing away December 19, 2021, at the age of 73. He was diagnosed with Small Cell Lung Cancer four months ago and Small Cell is an aggressive cancer that will continue to return the rest of your life. At the time of his diagnosis, he already had cancer in his liver and bones and he was at stage four cancer. He left this earth to his heavenly home with a beautiful passing. At this time we do not have the date for a celebration of life and we will be taking his ashes to Ford Kansas Cemetery for burial in the Spring. God is good everyday and everyday God is good!!

Born on April 6, 1948, Tom was a very friendly and popular student who was with many of us for several years through graduation at WHS. Several of our female classmates had a “mad crush” on him. The last time I heard directly from Tom was via email eight months ago in April 2021, at which time he wrote:

“Hey Donnie!  Drinda and I will not be able to attend the August reunion. But I'm sure it'll be a blast! Ya'll stay safe.”

I also heard directly from Tom last year in early January 2020, at which time I sought his permission to give his contact information to our classmate Barbara Garrison so that she and her husband could meet Tom and his wife Drinda for dinner while Barbara and Brian were temporarily staying in the Mesa, Arizona area. Upon granting me permission to give his contact information to Barbara, Tom wrote:

“We would be delighted to hear from them.”

In addition to Tom’s permission, I also got permission from our classmate Judy Whitmore Precise to give her contact information to Barbara so that Judy and her husband Sandy could attend the dinner with Tom, Drinda, Barbara and Brian. I also made arrangements for our classmate Stella Romero to attend the dinner event, but she cancelled at the last minute due to not feeling well from the Stage 4 pancreatic cancer she was battling at that time.

My February 2020 newsletter had an article about the miniature reunion the six of them (Tom, Drinda, Judy, Sandy, Barbara, Brian) had for two hours in a quiet corner of a Red Lobster restaurant in the Mesa, Arizona area. According to Barbara’s summary of the January 2020 gathering, Drinda brought along the WHS yearbook that “made it so much fun to remember favorite (and not so favorite!) teachers, clubs and organizations we belonged to, and challenged our long-term memories as we tried to recall acquaintances and old friends.”

About Tom and Drinda, the January 2020 attendees learned: (a) after WHS graduation, Tom went to CU Boulder on a football scholarship; (b) Tom and Drinda married in 1968 and resided in campus housing for married students; (c) Drinda loved her bank job, which CU found for her; (d) Drinda is working with their son nowadays in their estate-sale business; and (e) whenever Drinda and their son finished an estate sale, Tom did the heavy lifting by generally helping with the cleanup and transporting unsold items to Goodwill or Salvation Army. As of that time in January 2020, Drinda and Tom had been married for 52 years.

The last time I heard directly from Tom’s beloved wife Drinda was a year ago in November 2020, at which time she wrote:

“Good morning Donnie, thank you for all your memories and all you do for the Class of 1966.”

In the booklet for our 40-year reunion in 2006, Tom addressed the event that had the most impact on his life since graduation, to wit: “Marriage and the birth of our son (in that order).” When asked to recall when he realized he had grown up or gotten older, he wrote: “When I hid my own Easter eggs and couldn’t find them.” When asked to share a high-school memory, he wrote: “The day Drinda came up to me and asked me for a date.” Regarding the teacher who had the most influence on him, Tom listed Coach Bob Powers.

When asked to list the craziest thing he did in high school, Tom wrote in the 2006 reunion booklet:

“Dave Theiss and I rode around with scarves on and our shirts off.”

After an abrupt pause on that reply, he wrote, “I may want to re-think that question.” Because he paused and did not elaborate, several classmates became curious that maybe there was more Tom wanted to say about them riding around with scarves on and their shirts off. Perhaps his wife Drinda knows whether or not Tom had more to say about that incident.

Tom was preceded in death by his brother, Dan Nigbur (WHS Class of 1968), who passed away earlier this year.

Please join me in extending condolences to Tom’s beloved wife Drinda and other 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 by clicking the “Add A Memory” tab via the online guest book at:

If you have your own memory or story about Tom and would like to share it for people to read in the upcoming newsletter next month in January 2022, send it via email to:

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

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martínez (December 24, 2021)

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martínez is my birth certificate and legal surname