NORMAN — Tom and Donna Odom Wilhite have been Norman residents for almost 37 years. Both attended Lexington High School and were sweethearts who graduated together in 1963. They were married in the Lexington Church of Christ on June 25, 1963, a month after high school graduation.
July 1, 1963, was the induction date for Tom and his best friend, Mike Boatright, who would leave for United States Air Force Basic Training in San Antonio. They had joined under the “buddy system.” That left one week for Tom and Donna to plan a wedding. A cousin, Sharon Holsonbake Dickerson, loaned her wedding gown to Donna.
After the wedding, basic training and further training in Amarillo, Texas, Tom reported for duty at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, La. Donna accompanied Tom and they remained in Bossier City, even though Tom’s military time was up.
Their first child, Jeffrey, was born in Bossier City. Donna completed a college degree in education at Louisiana State University in Shreveport before they moved back to Oklahoma. They have lived in Cleveland County since 1976. A second son, Jonathan, was born in 1980.
Tom transferred from the VA Medical Center in Shreveport to the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. He was a federal employee for more than 30 years and retired in January 2000. Donna started doing speech therapy for Cleveland County Head Start and did substitute teaching in Moore and Norman schools.
She was employed with Norman Public Schools for 20 years until her medical retirement in 1997.
Both sons have followed in their mom’s footsteps when they each pursued advanced degrees from the University of Oklahoma.
The great joy that now surrounds Tom and Donna is the time spent with their three grandchildren, Alex, Kate and Michael.
They are the children of Jon and Juli Wilhite. Their son, Jeffrey, is on faculty at OU.
Tom and Donna will host a 50th wedding anniversary party from 7 to 9 p.m. June 25 at the McClain County Bank in Lexington.