David Nygaard was a noticeable absence from the Newton City Commission meeting April 10. In his stead, vice mayor Kathy Valentine ran the meeting.
City staff expressed concern that Nygaard had not answered his phone during the day. About an hour after the meeting ended, news surfaced as to why he had gone missing.
According to city staff, Nygaard was found deceased in his home by police who went to check on him.
Nygaard was selected as mayor Jan. 9, 2018. He was first elected to the commission in 2015.
“Dave exuded pride for Newton and was passionate about making it a better place to live and raise our families,” city staff wrote in a statement. “As he often said, he was a ‘Newtonian by choice’ and loved our community.”
A retired U.S. Navy Force Master Chief and financial advisor/banker, Nygaard was also past president of the Newton Rotary Club, a past district governor of District 5690 of District 5690 Rotary International, past president of United Way of Harvey County, past president of the USD 373 Board of Education, past president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Harvey County Historical Society.
He was a life member, of American Legion, VFW, Disabled American Veterans and the Wichita State Alumni Association.
He married LaVerna Nygaard, November 27, 1970, at the Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton. They were married for 34 years before she passed away in 2015. Together they raised two daughters.
Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect who found Mayor Nygaard in his home.