Quick with a quip, Don White chose education for his career
special to the daily
Donald Martin White craved education like a weeping willow needs water.
“One time, a friend’s father offered him a full ride through law school if he would come into their firm after,” said his wife, Marlene. “He chose education. So you know how important it was to him. He just had to have an education, no matter what.”
He made education his career. Even after he retired as a school superintendent ” including a stint in Summit County ” he continued to teach, joining the adjunct faculty at Adams State College of Alamosa.
White died Sept. 1 from complications after a bike accident. He was 75.
Most people called him Don.
He was born Feb. 18, 1933, in Emporia, Kan., to Ralph and Evelyn Dalton. His father left early. His mother supported the family, working as a waitress.
He met Marlene Jones in grade school. She was a year behind him.
“We started dating in junior high,” she said.
They’d go to the movies ” admission 12 cents. Or they’d go to dances Friday nights at the YMCA.
They married Aug. 28, 1953, in Kansas City, Kan.
From 1956-59, he served in the Marines, doing a tour in the Gaza Strip.
He graduated from College of Emporia, went on to get a master’s in education from Kansas State University and received his doctorate from Nova University in Florida.
He was a teacher, then moved up to principal, then superintendent in Kansas.
Then he moved to Sterling to become assistant superintendent. He served as superintendent in La Junta before coming to Summit County. He and his wife moved to Colorado Springs 16 years ago to be close to family.
“His hiking and his biking and his skiing were handy from here,” Marlene said.
He liked vigorous activity, not casual stuff, his family said. According to one family story, he took his grandchildren on a hike when they were in their early 20s. The youngsters started to run out of gas and wanted to turn back.
“Oh come on,” he said. “It’s only a few more miles.”
He was quick with a quip or an old joke.
“His secretary often told him he needed a new joke book,” Marlene said.
He was a member of the Colorado Association of School Executives, Rotary International, the Sierra Club and the American Civil Liberties Union.
He received awards for his contributions to education, including the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
He was preceded in death by his son, David.
He is survived by his wife, Marlene, of Colorado Springs; three daughters Leslie Jones, of Highlandville, Mo., Kelley Jackson, of Sterling, and Dana Annis, of Wake Forest, N.C.; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Donations: El Paso County Search and Rescue, 3950 Interpark Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80907.
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