Donna Nigh

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Donna Nigh
First Lady of Oklahoma
In role
January 3, 1979 – January 12, 1987
Personal details
Born (1933-03-09) March 9, 1933 (age 86)
Morris, Oklahoma, U.S.
Spouse(s)George Nigh
ChildrenBerry Michael Mashburn, Georgeann Nigh
OccupationCivic leader, public service, and mental retardation activist

Donna Nigh (born March 9, 1933) is an inductee of the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame and wife to former Oklahoma Governor, George Nigh. She served as the First Lady of Oklahoma for eight years as well as the first lady of the University of Central Oklahoma. She is well known for her service to Oklahomans with special needs and worked to improve the quality of living for citizens with disabilities.[1]

Early life[edit]

Donna Skinner Nigh was born in Morris, Oklahoma in 1933. She spent her entire childhood in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, attended Oklahoma City public schools, and graduated from Capitol Hill High School in 1951. Nigh was involved with the high school marching band where she was a "twirler" and played the saxophone.[2] Like many women at the time, Nigh married early and had her first son, Berry Michael Mashburn. Her first marriage ended in divorce and Nigh enrolled at Central State Teachers College (now the University of Central Oklahoma).[2] She could not complete her degree on account of needing to provide for her and her son. Donna's first major job was with Southwestern Bell Telephone. Next she worked for Trans World Airlines, working in the ticket office located in the Skirvin Hotel. It was at the Skirvin Hotel that Donna met her husband George Nigh while he was there for business. Six months later they were married in 1963.[2] In 1965 Donna gave birth to their daughter Georgeann.[3]

Career[edit]

While her husband was in office, Nigh was active in public service. In 1982 Nigh played a large role in passing legislation to fund group home projects, now identified as the Donna Nigh Group Home Program. Two years later in 1984, The Donna Nigh Foundation, a non-profit organization that awards grants to citizens with mental disabilities, was formed.[4] She also served as the first lady to her alma mater, the University of Central Oklahoma, from 1992-1997.[3]

Nigh and her husband appeared in walk-on roles in episode # 19 of the NBC soap opera Texas (playing themselves as Governor and First Lady of Oklahoma). The episode aired in August 1980. Cast member Lisby Larson (Paige Marshall) serenaded the couple with a rendition of "Oklahoma!"

On April 28, 2010, Nigh and her husband were robbed at gunpoint in the driveway of their northwest Oklahoma City home. They were uninjured, though her husband's wallet was taken. No suspect has been found.[5]

Service[edit]

Donna Nigh has served on the boards of many organizations, including:[2]

Awards and Achievements[edit]

  • Founder of the Donna Nigh Foundation (1984)
  • Appointed by President Bill Clinton as a member of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. (1997)
  • Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame (1995)
  • Oklahoma Hall of Fame (2008)
  • George and Donna Nigh Public Service Scholarship established (1999)
  • Capitol High School Hall of Fame
  • Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (1999)
  • Pioneer Woman Award
  • UCO dedicated the Donna Nigh Gallery in the University Center (1992)[3]
  • JFK Community Service Award (2012)[6]
  • ONE Awards honorary co-chair (2012)[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Donnah Nigh" (PDF). oklahomaheritage.com. Oklahoma Heritage Association. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Nykolaiszyn, Juliana (October 6, 2008). "Oral History Interview with Donna Nigh". Inductees of the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame Oral History Project. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "UCO Oral History Archive". library.uco.edu. University of Central Oklahoma Chambers Library. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  4. ^ "The Donna Nigh Foundation". occf.org. Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  5. ^ Saylor, Ryan. "Former #OKGov #GeorgeNigh robbed at gunpoint" Midnight PoliticsApril 29, 2010. Retrieved 04-29-10. Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ McDonnell, Brandy. "Toby Keith, former Oklahoma Gov. George Nigh and Donna Nigh to receive community service awards". newsok.com. NewsOK. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  7. ^ "George and Donnah Nigh named ONE Awards honorary co-chairs". edmondsun.com. Edmond Sun. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

External links[edit]