Whitesburg KY

Dingus family of Burdine

Preacher Dingus was well known in Letcher County. Three of his children I knew best were Jack, who was very athletic; Bobby, who was my classmate at Burdine Grade School, and Joyce, who was a pretty girl who went on to be a cheerleader at Jenkins High School and married Wayne Collins, who played sports with me before I went into the military.

My mom sometimes gave me a dime to buy my lunch and I would walk the few yards from our school to the Dingus Café and buy a Moon Pie and a Nexi pop.

In the 1960s when war started in Vietnam, my printing department at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., built up from nine printers to 22 printers almost overnight for round-the-clock printing for Travis, the West Coast and the Far East. A S/ Sgt. Dingus was assigned to me, and worked for me many years. I never thought to ask him if he knew the Dingus family from Burdine because he was from another state.

Sgt. Dingus and his wife became great friends with my wife and kids. He was on my bowling and basketball teams. On every Christmas, I would take him and his wife along with my family to the base mess hall for dinner. The mess sergeant was a good friend of mine, and he made sure we got plenty to eat and would give my kids a bag of candy and fruit to take home with them. My kids loved it.

Sgt. Dingus told my wife and me many times that they could not have kids, that they wanted one so much. He and his wife came to our house one night and he could hardly talk. He said his wife was going to have a baby. He said he had my wife and me to thank, that with all our kids something rubbed off on him and his wife.

I somehow brought up the name Preacher Dingus, and he told me that was his uncle.

Note: I want to thank Donna Kay Boggs and husband of Jenkins for doing a story on my family and for the 100-year Jenkins birthday.

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.

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