Donald Weyker - Specialist Four
- Purple Heart
- Viet Nam
Donald Dennis Weyker was born October 8, 1946 in Marshalltown. Since his Dad was named Donald too, he went by Denny.
Denny had an older brother, Gary, who also served in Vietnam, and we regret that Gary and both his parents have passed away. The details we have about Denny’s life were generously provided by high school friends and former neighbors of the Weyker family.
Max Kvidera was a school classmate and he said this about Denny, “In addition to being blessed with an infectious smile and a wonderful, carefree attitude, "Weyk" was a fervent fan of the Beach Boys. Every time I visited the Weyker household, it was rocking with "409" or "Little Deuce Coupe" or "In My Room" or "Surfer Girl." This was before karioke, but Denny could perform and sing every tune by heart. I was a big Beach Boys fan as well, but I couldn't hold a candle to him. He looked the part, too, with blonde hair and penny loafers covering sockless feet.
Weyk was a genuine friend who showed empathy to his buddies and their problems. I remember a few times when he provided great advice for succeeding with the opposite sex. We also spent many summer nights driving around in his car, sharing stories about girls, future plans and our friends.”
Another old friend confirmed his love of the Beach Boys, and remembered riding around town with “Be True to Your School” and “I Get Around” blaring on the car radio.
Patrick Neff, a high school chum, remembered Denny’s favorite movie – “Nevada Smith” starring Steve McQueen. When Pat and Denny went to see it at the drive-in, Denny had already seen it so many times he could recite the dialogue which totally ruined the film for Pat! Pat also remembers him on stage at a dance at the community college, belting out “Louie Louie” just like the Kingsman who made it famous. Patrick described Denny as an “animated” person who wore his emotions on his sleeve.
Another classmate, Darlene Tomhave, says ” Denny was a doll. He had white/blonde hair, blue eyes, and a baby face. And he was such a kid at heart. When he was 20, he looked 14. I would imagine if he were alive today, he would be 62 going on 32.
Denny’s family attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church and he attended St. Mary’s School through his junior year of high school. At St. Mary’s, he played football and golf, and was a caddy at the Elmwood Country Club. When he transferred to Marshalltown High School for his senior year, he continued with golf and was also active in the YMCA. He graduated from Marshalltown High in 1964.
He attended Marshalltown Community College for two years and then transferred to Iowa State to major in Urban Planning. He was in Ames from September 1966 to May 1967.
Susan Bakken remembers Denny too. She said, “We were friends in high school, at Marshalltown Community College and then at Iowa State. We were both there our junior year. We were excited about going to ISU after being at a community college. Denny joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity as there were quite a few members from Marshalltown. We did enjoy Friday afternoon parties. Denny was a happy, fun loving person. He was handsome and the girls liked him. Everyone one had a good time with him and he always had a smile on his face. At the end of spring quarter 1967, we packed up and headed back to Marshalltown. It was a beautiful spring day as we left the campus and I remember leaving the Sig Ep house. I know Denny was afraid of what grades he might get. If grades were not good, then it was off to Vietnam.”
Denny left school after that spring quarter and worked on the railroad as a Chicago and Northwestern brakeman until he left for the Army in February 1968.
Classmate Susan said, “I am not sure how it happened but we spent New Year’s Eve 1967 together. We were with my parents and some of their friends. Denny liked to be with our friends, but had a good time with people my parent’s age. We went to the old Elks club in Marshalltown and danced to a live band. Denny liked to dance and we had a great time. That was the last time I saw him.”
After basic training, he arrived in Vietnam on November 4, 1968. He was a clerk typist, a Specialist 4, and served as a secretary to two colonels and a general – a clerical job that seemed “safe”.
On December 5, 1968, his base camp at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam came under a mortar fire and he died in the attack. He was 22 years old.
Friend, Max Kvidera said, “My world hurt when I heard he had been killed in Vietnam. It hurt again, many years later, when I found his name on the Vietnam Veterans wall in Washington, D.C. I think about him often.”
Susan Bakken concurs, “I have fond memories of him and especially of that New Year’s Eve we spent together. A few years ago, a small replica of the Vietnam memorial came to a cemetery near where I live. I did a rubbing of his name and then again when I visited the Wall in Washington DC. When I think of him, I remember his care free spirit and love of life. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about a dear friend.”