Governor Frank D. White

Obituary Notice

Former Arkansas Governor Frank D. White, 69, of Little Rock, born on June 4, 1933 in Texarkana, TX, died on May 21, 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 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.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to 
Family Life, 3900 N. Rodney Parham, Little Rock, Arkansas 72212;  or
Special Fund, Fellowship Bible Church, 12601 Hinson Road, Little Rock, AR 72212;  or 
Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging, 4301 West Markham Street #748, Little Rock, AR 72205; or 
Arkansas Children's Hospital, 800 Marshall Street, Little Rock, AR 72202; or 
Baptist Hospital Foundation, 9601 Interstate 630, Little Rock, AR 72205.

Register Book

  • Gay, I was so saddened to learn of Frank's death. We had so many great experiences in the Governor's Office and in our campaigns. Frank has left a lot of wonderful memories to his friends and the Republican Party. Jim and I have you and the family in our hearts.
    Mrs. Pat McNeill
    Hot Springs, Arkansas

  • I am so sorry to hear about Gov. Frank White.
    Robert Passwaters
    Little Rock, Arkansas
  • We are saddened by your loss. You and your family remain in our prayers and have our sincerest sympathies and condolences.
    Ron and Sharon Tabor and family    Email:
    Little Rock, Arkansas
  • You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
    Gerald and Juanita Nesbitt
    Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Gay, may the Lord bless and comfort you in this time of sorrow. I love you and am here for you if you need me.
    Fran Sterling
    Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Mrs. White,
    I just found out from my father about Mr. White's passing last night, even though it's been almost two months, so I'm sorry for the belated nature of my message. However, I still wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all. I have many fond memories of Mr. White which I will cherish for the rest of my life.
    God bless you all.
    Christopher Ginnaven
    Legal Secretary / Administrator
    Los Angeles, California
  • My Dear Gay:
    I have just this morning learned of Frank's death while reading of Governor Huckabee in the Dallas newspaper. I have thought of Frank often through the years and certainly will continue to do so. I know that he and Jerry were such close friends in high school, and that Frank meant a great deal in his life. The joy of being with Frank was mine on quite a few occasions years ago - I especially remember a dinner at the home of Miller Barber in Sherman, and what a fun evening it was!
    I am so sorry that I didn't know at the time, and to be so late in sending you my most heartfelt sympathy.
    Jeanne Owens (formerly Mrs. Jerry Owens)
    Jeanne G. Owens
    Richardson, Texas