David Andrew Nygaard, 70, of Newton passed away unexpectedly in his home on 9 April 2018. He was a loved and dedicated father, husband, brother, son, uncle, and highly respected member of his community.
David was born in Hastings, Nebraska on 4 November 1947, to parents Harry and Elsa (Fielder) Nygaard. He spent his early years in Hastings, and the family moved back to their home town in Mott, North Dakota when he was in the 6th grade. The family relocated to Newton in 1962, and David decided to make Newton his home. He always stated he was a “Newtonian by choice.” He graduated from Newton High School in 1966, received his Bachelor of Arts in Education from Wichita State University in 1973, and Master of Arts in Education from WSU in 1974.
David joined the Navy Reserves in 1965 and served in Vietnam. He also served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm on the U.S.S. St. Louis (LKA-116). He retired from the Navy as a Force Master Chief. In 1997, David was selected as 1 of 4 Naval leaders in the entire US Navy to help close bases on the West Coast of California. David worked at Kansas State Bank in Newton, which later became Bank IV. He started out as a bookkeeper in 1965 while still in High School and eventually became the Vice-president of Loans and Human Resources, spending more than 30 years at the bank before retiring.
David met LaVerna “Bernie” Ott while she was waitressing at the West Wend Cafe while taking a break from college and proposed to her two weeks later. They married on 27 November 1970 at the Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton. They were in a car accident in June of 1971 which altered their path forever, leaving Bernie physically disabled for the remainder of her life. He spent their marriage caring and supporting her with as much normalcy as he could, considering the trying circumstance, while never losing sight of his adoration and love for her. They were married for almost 45 years when she passed away in September of 2015. They were the best parents and instilled hard work, compassion, and empathy in their two daughters, Nichole and Natalie.
David spent over 5 decades of his life serving his community through various organizations. He was a Member and former president of the Harvey County Bankers; Member, Past President, and former Secretary Treasurer of the Newton Chamber of Commerce; Member, former President, and former Chairman of the United Way of Harvey Co.; Past President of Newton Junior Chamber (the year Newton was #1 in the state) also serving as former Vice-President and former Reginal Director; former Board member of the USD 373 Board of Education serving as president for the 1989-1990 school year; past President of Newton Rotary Club; past District Governor of District 5690 of District 5690 Rotary International; former Chairman of the Harvey County Historical Society; past Chairman of the Newton Tourism Board; Board member for the United Church of Christ; and was elected to the Newton City Commission in 2015, serving as Mayor of Newton at the time of his passing.
He was a member of various clubs and associations, including but not limited to: VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Wichita State University Alumni Association, and Masonic Lodge.
David was a tireless community servant, volunteering for Meals on Wheels; Senior Patrol; coached many of his daughter’s soccer, t-ball, and softball teams; and was noted for his delivery of thousands of popcorn balls and peppernuts to local businesses around Christmas time.
David received many awards over the years including Newton Chamber of Commerce Top Ambassador and Ambassador of the Year, Starks K. Vincent Award: Outstanding Local President Kansas Jaycees, Wichita State University Alumni Association Award of Distinction, Newton Recreation Commission Wellness Division Volunteer of the Year, Newton High School Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1996, David was chosen to carry the Olympic Torch when the flame passed through Newton on its way to Atlanta for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Also, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for being the best Grandfather, Father, Husband, and Brother by his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Joe Nyggard, wife LaVerna, and granddaughter Sienna Daniels. Survivors include their two daughters, Nichole (Robert) Daniels of Topeka, Kansas and their sons Royce, Brody, and Lucas; Natalie (Cody) Ioerger of Manhattan, Kansas and their daughter Zoe and son Edison; Sister Joette (Charlie) Speake of Colstrip, Montana, and several nieces and nephews and their children.
Family visitation will be Sunday 15 April from 3:00 to 5:00pm and the Memorial Service will be Monday, 16 April at 2:00 PM, both held at the First United Church of Christ, 210 East 4th in Newton, Kansas. Family graveside committal services will be held at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in his honor to be given to The Nygaard Family Scholarship Fund in care of Central Kansas Community Foundation, 301 North Main Street, Newton KS 67114.