October 2019

THERE WILL BE A 55-YEAR REUNION of our classmates at some point in the summer of 2021, according to the unanimous sentiment expressed by attendees at the September 2019 luncheon. Among the 21 luncheon attendees, two-thirds of them offered to serve on the planning committee for the 55-year reunionThe newly-formed committee is made up of the following classmates: Patti Kueck Daniel; Lydia Romero Fine; Linda Nolin Weber; Maryellen Brada Manuszak;Marie Mimi George Torreano; Ron Petty; Bruce McAlexander; Warren Knight;Roy Manuszak; Donnie Martinez; Paul Snell; Mike Adragna; Steve CoxandBruce Brian. Two other classmates (Debbie McGowan and Judy Sackhoff Lollar) were also at the luncheon, but stated they could not be on the planning committee despite expressing interest in attending the 55-year reunionPaul and Donnie offered to be on the committee with the caveat that they will do so from afar (via the class website and email broadcasts) due to uncontrolled population growth causing ongoing traffic congestion nightmares whenever they travel to Colorado Springs from where their respective homes are in different parts of Denver. Pattisaid she was going to draft our classmate Shirley Guinta Tafoya to be part of the planning committee. If Shirley does become part of the committee, this will mark five (5) times that she has offered her talented skills in organizing our reunion events. She is the only one in our class to help organize the 10-year, 20-year, 30-year and 40-year reunions. Because the planning committee is still in the early stages, other classmates are always welcome to become part of the process to plan the event.

Non-1966 WHS folks who joined us at the September 2019 luncheon were: Lyle Wikner (Class of 1965); Dave Kindsfater (Class of 1965); Ray George (Class of 1965); Lorene Ritter (Class of 1967); andSheila Nolin Schwartz (Class of 1973)Ray shared with some of us guys a few dirty jokes, which I wont repeat here out of respect for the women who read this newsletterA humorous moment occurred when nobody knew whose name was being called when the restaurant server used the Spanish pronunciation Lee L” to announce the persons food order being readyWhen the server used the Spanish pronunciation two more times and nobody replied, I told Lyle Wikner that the server was referring to himbecause she used the correct Spanish pronunciation of his first nameWhen I asked Lyle and Dave (both of whom helped to organize past reunions for their Class of 1965) if they were going to be involved in planning the 55-year reunion of their class coming up next year in 2020they both rolled their eyes and simultaneously said no way and added that they would attend only if their other classmates organize the event. In other words, they have been there, done that” upon knowing from first-hand experience the extensive work it takes to organize such events.

The 55-year reunion of our class was the brainchild of our classmate Ron Petty,who put the bee in my ear via telephone when he called me in July 2019. After about one hour of nonstop chatter upon socializing at the September 2019 luncheonRon spoke up and interjected, Hey, everyone, lets not forget the reason we are here – to talk about who is interested in having a 55-year reunion.”He is to be commended for getting the ball rolling.” In addition to once again demonstrating his leadership skills that date back to high-school years when the entire school elected him as Student Council President, Ron is to be commended for the courage it takes to be involved with planning the 55-year reunion while simultaneously continuing his journey of grief over the loss of his beloved wife Darla last year.


OUR CLASSMATE STEVE WILLIAMS recently wrote a somewhat detailed piece about our classmate Dave Larsen, who passed away at the end of August 2019.Enclosed below is the text of Steves submission.

Though I haven't seen Dave Larsen since high schoolwhen I got the news of his death, I was moved to write.

Dave and I were not close friends. But I remember him fondly as a good-hearted,smart, studious, serious and seriously idiosyncratic guy, who did not fit the profile for any high school clique. For one thing, he seemed to be earnestly trying to be a young man, in contrast to most of us, myself included, who were mostly swept up by teenage immaturity. I remember his upright bearing, topped by a layer of curly, Lyle-Lovett-like hairIt doesn’t surprise me that he was a long-time Presbyterian elder.

We were on the debate team togetherDave was an ardent, prepared, and well-spoken debater. I wish I could recall a meaningful or humorous debate anecdote to share, but my memory of our time long ago at Widefield has not offered one up.

I do remember him – I think  giving me rides home and elsewhere in a tiny,quirky Messerschmitt car, powered by a rear lawn mower engine, which you entered and exited by opening up its hinged front, with the steering wheel attached.

Dave was a good guy when we were young and I suspect that he remained one over the years. I was saddened to hear of his death and extend my sympathies to his wife, children, and friends.

[Note from Donnie: Thank youSteve, for sharing your remembrancesall of which provide interesting insights about the type of person Dave was when we were at WHS long time ago. For readers who want to watch the 3-minute slide show that Dave Larsen put together as a tribute to his brother Sam (WHS Class of 1965) who passed away in October 2018, please go to our class website and click the Personal Updates tab at the top right area of the home page so that you can view the video (with the Righteous Brothers 1965 slow song Unchained Melody as a backdrop) directly on our website.]


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

So sorry to hear of Debbie Armknechts passing. Prayers to her family and friends. God bless all.

-- John Sarmiento, Class of 1966

To the Armknecht familyPlease accept my profound condolences for your loss of Debbie. She surely is smiling down on you.

-- Pete Spiers, Class of 1966

So sad to hear of Debs passing. She was a long term good friend whom I have so many great memories with. From grade school to working at HP [Hewlett Packard], we shared so much. God bless you Richard and Chanin and the rest of the family. You were her world and I know you will miss all that love. Love from the Humphrey family.

-- Donna Williams Humphrey, Class of 1966

I lived down the street on Rosemont Drive and often visited the warm, loving Armknecht family. Lots of hugs and laughter happened. Debbie was fun and caring. Will always treasure the friendship of the Armies Debbie and Andy Armstrong. Condolences to her loved ones.

-- Starr Coakley Miller, Class of 1966

Donnie, thanks for the updates on our class mates who have passed. Always sad to hear but inevitable as the years pass by for us all. You always honor their memory with such grace and fond memories. Thanks. Could you please send me the link to the video [about the 20-year class reunion] you mentioned in your last update. Seems I must have missed that. Appreciate all you continue to do to keep us informed.

-- Dean Otey, Class of 1966

[Note from Donnie: For the status of the video of the 20-year reunion, please see the article elsewhere in this update.]

Good morning, DonnieI wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your keeping the class updated on all of the happenings. I have not been able to attend any of the reunions and I was not very popular in high schoolso I'm sure not many would remember me but I appreciate all of your work keeping us informed. I hope you and your family are doing wellHave a great day and Thank You!

-- Deanna (Dee) Scott Van Goethen, Class of 1966

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

Thank you for the infoyou are doing an awesome job with this newsletter.

-- Roy Kraut [His graduating class was not provided.]

I appreciate your efforts to facilitate connections among classmateseven though I havent participated in post-graduation events.

-- Steve Williams, Class of 1966

Don, thanks for taking time to always keep us informed about our classmates. I find sadness in the loss of each individual, but your words always paint kind memories of our classmates. Each time I read your newsletter, I find it carries me back to our time together at Widefield High School and in the Security community.I find I too remember the good things about all the people we interacted with. As the list continues to grow, I choose to celebrate the good times we had together.Each person helped shape who we would eventually become. Thank you for continuing to paint our portrait!

-- Mick Martin, Class of 1966


A FILM of OUR 20-YEAR REUNION will be made available in the next update,which will provide information about the conversion of the old film to a computerized modern format that can be viewed for free in the privacy of your homeUsing old style mid-1980s computerized lettering to display the films title at the beginning and the words The End when it is over, the film was produced by Joy Payne Humphrey, Debbie Armknecht Allen and Donnie Martinez. An excerpt of the slow and mellow song, 20 Years Ago by Kenny Rogers, is played at the beginning and end of the film. With the use of a 1980s Video Home System (VHS) camcorder that belonged to Joythe film’s first 30 minutes feature brief shots of numerous classmates who are frequently told by Joy that she was going to show the film at the 30-year reunion. Although the film never was shown at the 30-year reunion, people now will have an opportunity to finally view it 33 years after it was filmed at the July 1986 reunion at which 70 of our classmates were in attendance.

When the film was mentioned in the September 2019 announcement about the death of our classmate Debbie Armknecht Allen, numerous people expressed interest in watching the film. On the online platform where the film has been stored the past three yearsit is currently inaccessible due to being in the locked position and the complicated procedure to unlock will take a computer whiz like our class website manager Paul Snell to help me figure out how to access the filmOne would think there would be a simple unlock button for me to press, but I guess that is asking too much in this age of complicated procedures to perform online tasks.

The total length of the film is 1 hour and 20 minutes, with the outdoor section lasting 30 minutes and the indoor section lasting 50 minutes.

Hazel Garlick (Class of 1967) was the first person shown in the filmHazel (now deceased) was married to our classmate Ken Loveless at the time of the 20-year reunion. Immediately after Hazel introduces her daughter, there are brief shots of our classmates in the following order: Jean Puylara (now deceased)Linda Nolin;Rod Nyborg; Rhonda Richards; Bruce McAlexander; Judy Sackhoff; Anne Lively;Donna Wiltgen; Donna WardandPerry Pierce. Our classmate Terry Chambers then steps up to the camera to offer food for thought by stating:

“We’re getting to where we can start enjoying life, thank God.”

After Terry, the camera shifts to brief shots of our classmates Doug Allen, Denny Stenson (singing with his son Toby), Mark Haggar, Warren Knight (singing the Meow song) and Mike Adragna. Right after Mike, almost all 70 classmates in attendance are shown in a group shot set against the backdrop of the hills at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on a sunny and cool afternoon.

Immediately after the group shot, there are brief shots of our classmates in the following order: Gary Storm; JoAnn Vallone (now deceased); Diane Otey; Eldon Lee; Steve Rhodes; Barry Thompson (now deceased); Linda Thomas; Rich Stroud; Gary Galyardt; Peggy Flynn (with her husband Ron Meredith, Class of 1965); Beth Plana (who brought her 10 kids to the reunion); Mick Martin; Joy Woods; Doug Allen; Patti KueckShirley GuintaMike Oliver; Wanda Floyd; Les HermannJanine Moore; Perry Pierce; Lerry Young; Dean Otey; Bruce Brian;Pam Rains; and, Glenda WindleThe next frame then shows our classmate Roy Manuszak offering food for thought by stating:

“Tomorrow’s a dream, yesterday is a memory, and today is a b**ch.”

The next frame shows Roy and his wife (our classmate Maryellen Brada Manuszak) in a group shot with all of their children. Then there are brief shots of our classmates in the following order: Phil Martin; Myra Boberg; Danny Cancil (now deceased); Terry Chambers; andBarbara Garrison.

After Barbara Garrison is shown dashing off into the distance upon declining Joy’s invitation to sing for the camera, there is a short one-minute humorous intermission featuring recreation activities such as bowlfing (utilizing bowling balls on a golf course) and bike boxing (guys boxing each other while riding bicycles).Immediately after the intermission, there is a brief two-second shot of Twila Wilson the last classmate to be shown in the outdoor section of the film.

The film’s last 50 minutes feature a more intimate round-table discussion among some of our classmates. Filmed indoors, the session begins with classmates trying to figure out whose childhood photo was featured in the Guess Whocolumn of our WHS newspaper in the mid-1960s. Initially stumped about the identity as they read out loud several hints provided in the article, they eventually figured it out and simultaneously stated the classmates name.

Throughout the 50-minute indoors segment, you will see and hear classmates reflecting on their past school experiences as well as expressing some of their innermost thoughts, feelings, concerns and aspirations. One classmate recalls the hoop skirts that were popular in the 1950s and how embarrassed she was on one occasion when her hoop skirt flew upward and exposed her underpants during class at grade school in Security. Another classmate describes how she felt abandoned when her friend dumped her upon the friends decision to become one of our popular girls in high school. Another classmate talks about almost getting expelled from school after getting caught with a photo of a classmate in the nude.Using her hands and facial expressions, Debbie Armknecht Allen does a hilarious portrayal of how she played the tuba in our high school bandOne classmate talks about her discomfort with classmates hugging her at the reunion when those same classmates ignored her when we were in high school. Classmates also discussed the following topics: (a) going to high-school formal dances with an arranged date; (b) addressing unresolved problems with individual classmates 20 years after graduation; (c) having superficial and meaningful relationships(d) pitting students against each other with divisive popularity contests; (e) trying to break cigarette habits in adult years; and, (f) feelings about growing old upon approaching the age of 40. Toward the end, the prom-queen discussion got a bit convoluted with our classmate Myras perception that our prom queen was voted upon at the beginning of our senior yearBecause the dialogue was based on that mistaken premiseit is important to clarify that the voting for prom queen took place at the end of the school year. The indoors segment ends with a close-up of Patti Kueck sighing after saying “Thats really sad in reference to some of the issues that were discussed. The words The End then flash on the screen accompanied by Kenny Rogers slow song, 20 Years Ago.”


TO VISIT OUR CLASS WEBSITE that was assembled and has been maintained since April 2009 by our Class Committee member and Webmaster, Paul Snellplease go to: www.1966whs.com


PLEASE do not TAKE IT PERSONALLY if you do not hear from the Class Committee right awayAs volunteers, we have only so much time within which to do our volunteer work as well as tend to other aspects of our personal lives. Delays in my replies, in particular, are due to me not being awake very much anymore as sleeping long hours is the only time period during which there is total relief from my neurological illness for which there is no cure. It is now fourteen (14) years that I have had massive nerve damage. As noted in my update in July 2013, another reason for delays in my replies is that I have been slowing down more and more since late 2012  it takes me forever to get something done. My doctors attribute the slowness to me getting older, not the neurological illness.


This update was prepared by me.

Respectfully submitted,

Donnie Martinez

Known at WHS by stepfathers surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname

a/k/a Butch (pronounced Booch), 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 Frank to older women saying I look like their idol Frank Sinatra

a/k/a Dee Dee, a fun name used by people to mean Dear Donnie

a/k/a Shorty due to me shrinking 3 inches over the past two years

a/k/a Bernie to people who say I look like their hero Bernie Sanders

I dont care what people call me, just call me.