Donald Ray White, 85, of Cullowhee died peacefully surrounded by his children early Thursday, April 15, 2021.
Born June 24, 1935 in Maryville, Tennessee. In 1954 he married Kathleen Downey White. He served in the United States Air Force and was a Veteran of the Korean War. Following his service in Arizona and Colorado, he returned home with his family to work as a civilian in Research and Development at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He later relocated to Cullowhee, North Carolina where he helped to develop the Audio-Visual Department at Western Carolina University. He was instrumental in building many of the sound systems used for concerts and sporting events at the University and in other local stadiums.
Don was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He enjoyed working on his many “projects”, cooking and music. He loved to fish the Fontana and Chilhowee lakes. He had a tough, stubborn exterior and reserved his softest side for his grandchildren. His greatest legacy was his determination, loyalty and faith reflected in the close-knit family that he leaves behind. His absence leaves a grief that is only calmed by knowing he is at peace, with Kathleen and walking with His Lord and Savior.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Lola White. A sister, Veleeta Murphy. And his loving wife of 56 years, Kathleen Downey White.
He is survived by a brother, Juan (Mary Jo) White; sisters Judy Hickman and Patricia (Eddie)Dailey and many nieces and nephews. His children, Theresa (George) Hyler of Asheville; Rod (Linda) White of Bryson City; Kathy Sumner of Cullowhee; and Donna (Chad) Garrigan of Lake Wylie, SC. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Mistie (Chuck) Collins of Whittier; Katy (Jeff) Spence of Lawrenceville, GA; Buzz Hyler of Chicago, IL; Deena Sumner (Ricky Wright) of Sylva; Dr. Callan (Allison) White of Fairview; Chad (Nathalie) Sumner of Sylva; Cody (Cayla) White of Bryson City; Heath (Taylor) White of Gastonia; Hunter (Erica) White of Jacksonville, NC; and Savannah Garrigan of Lake Wylie, SC. As well as his great-grandchildren, Charlie and Lola Collins; Bella Spence; Lena, Declan and Jameson White; Brady Sumner; Nolan and Landon White; Scarlett White and Finley White.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the American Heart Association or the local charity of choice.
A private memorial is planned for a later date.
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