Dixie and Brian Welborn loved West Hills College Coalinga where they were classmates more than 60 years ago.
Brian was part of a group of 22 World War II veterans who returned to the college to continue their interrupted educations. He went on to a 30-plus year career with Standard/Chevron Oil in the fields near Coalinga.
Dixie (nee Peterson) served as student body president in 1945-46. The next year she graduated and went to work for the college. She retired as supervisor in the business office in 1983 after a 36 year career.
The couple purchased and lived in a small house down the street from the college that they bought in 1951. Dixie was alumnus of the year in 1989 and in 2006 she was honored by the college athletic hall of fame.
West Hills Community College District Chancellor Frank Gornick first knew Dixie when he was a student at West Hills College Coalinga in the mid-1960s. A little lost after arriving in Coalinga from his hometown of Chicago, Dixie helped look out for students and made them feel at home.
"I didn't know where to pick up my work study check," Gornick said. "She called the coach and told him to send me over. She joked with me and asked, "How did I expect to eat?" She always looked out for our best interests."
Dixie and Brian were among the college's biggest cheerleaders-attending athletic events, Christmas open houses, accreditation forums and the district's 75th anniversary celebration in 2007. Dixie served as the final proofreader and fact checker for a 144-page book that the district did in celebration of that anniversary.