Governor Frank D. White

State of Arkansas





Obituary Notice

Former Arkansas Governor Frank D. White, 69, of Little Rock, born on June 4, 1933 in Texarkana, TX, died on May 21, 2003, at his home in Little Rock. He will be remembered as a generous and loving husband, father, grandfather, leader and friend. His smile, voice and heart were larger than the man. He generated laughter and good will with every person he touched and was selfless in his donation of time and efforts for charity.

Born in Texarkana, Texas, he was the son of the late Ida Clark Kyle and the late Durward Kyle and was adopted by Mr. Loftin White after his father's death when Frank was a young boy. His adoptive father passed away when Frank was 14. He was also preceded in death by his sister Lady Maude Dalton.

Frank White grew up in Texarkana, and received his high school diploma from the New Mexico Military Institute during his high school years. After attending Texas A&M for one year, he was appointed by U.S. Sen. John McClellan to the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned into the United States Air Force upon graduation from Annapolis. He flew C-130s (and, was a member of the 61st TCS) during his military career and later was a major supporter of Little Rock Air Force Base. After five years of service in the Air Force, he moved in 1961 to Little Rock and began his financial services and banking career with Merrill Lynch and Commercial National Bank. In 1975, Governor David Pryor appointed him to the Governor's Cabinet as director of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission, AIDC. White promoted the State's economy and opened Arkansas' first international office in Brussels, Belgium, during his AIDC tenure. Returning to the private sector in 1977, he became president of Capital Savings & Loan, resigning in 1980 from that position to successfully run for Governor of Arkansas. In a major upset victory, White defeated then-incumbent Bill Clinton. During his two-year term in office, he focused his efforts on initiating business practices in state government, highlighted the vocational/technical education system, and promoted economic development through trips across the U.S. and to Japan in efforts to recruit new business and expand existing business in the state. He was instrumental in forming the partnership between UAMS and Arkansas Children's Hospital, now recognized worldwide as leading medical research and care facilities.

He returned to the private sector in 1983, joining Stephens, Inc., an investment banking firm. After unsuccessful 1986 bid for Governor, he worked for First Commercial Bank in Little Rock until Governor Mike Huckabee appointed him State Banking Commissioner in 1998, a post he held at the time of his death. He was an active and respected Banking Commissioner, visiting every state chartered bank in Arkansas, shortly after his appointment.

He was devoted to community and civic leadership for more than 40 years, serving as president of the Arkansas Jaycees, president of the Little Rock Downtown Rotary Club 99, and on the Boards of Arkansas Children's Hospital, the Little Rock Port Authority, Baptist Hospital Foundation and many others. A popular emcee for special events, he was a catalyst for successful fundraising events benefiting charitable organizations such as Easter Seals and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Last July, he joined Governor Huckabee and six other former Governors for an unprecedented event to benefit the Governor's Mansion. His humor and candor was a major highlight for the standing room only event.

He is survived by his wife, Gay, daughters, Elizabeth White and Rebecca Chavez of Portland, Oregon, son Kyle and daughter-in-law Kelly White of Burke, Virginia, and four grandchildren, Tristan, Tyler, Julia White of Burke, Virginia, and Daniella Chavez of Portland, Oregon.

He will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, May 23. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 24, at 10 a.m. at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock with burial following at Mount Holly Cemetery under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home.

Courtesy of Ruebel Funeral Home, Little Rock, Arkansas