Donald O.H. White, 87, of Keokuk, passed away at 11:14 AM, Friday, April 29, 2016, at his home.
Donald was born June 24, 1928, in Monmouth, Illinois, the son of Eugene and Vera Dorothy White. He was united in marriage to Verna Derr on September 18, 1950, in Quincy, Illinois. Verna preceded him in death on November 30, 2015. Don had lived in the Keokuk and Powdertown area since he was 4 years old. He served in the United States Army. Don was a professional race car driver. His career started on dirt tracks in Cedar Rapids. He also raced on sand at Daytona Beach and held the speed record at Daytona Beach before the big track. Don White was the first Keokuk race car driver to have an effect racing on the national scene. He began in the IMCA in 1949 and won titles in 1954, 1955 and 1958. He moved on to the United States Auto Club (USAC) where he won titles in 1963 and 1967. He had the most wins in USAC history and was selected for the USAC Hall of Fame in 2013. Don had eleven seasons in a row where he finished in the top five in points, including eight seasons in a row when he finished in the top three. During a four-year-stretch between 1966 and 1969, Don won 32 races and finished second sixteen times in eighty-two starts. He finished his racing career in 1986.
Don is survived by three daughters, Barbara Mae Barnes of Keokuk, Kathy Jo (Charles) Cole of Slater, Iowa, and Linda Sue (Richard) Mulholland of Mt. Vernon, Iowa and two sons, Johnny Lee (Carolyn) Kite of Cantril, Iowa and William Ernest (Mary Schneider) Kite of Keokuk; two sisters-in-law Virginia LeMatty and Marianna Derr. He is also survived by grandchildren, Gina Parrish, Erin Schnur, Jason, Kara, Jordan, and Josh Barnes, Tice Cole, Kelly Krause, Rossilyn Babington, Lucas Mulholland, Vicki and Mick Kite, Chris and Joe Kite, Carrie Fekete, and Amy Benson; thirty-five great grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In addition to his parents and his wife Verna, he was preceded in death by a son Gary White, one brother, two sisters, and brothers and sisters-in-law.
A service celebrating his life will be at 10:30 AM Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at DeJong-Greaves Celebration of Life Centers at 917 Blondeau in Keokuk. Burial with full military rites will follow in Montrose Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 Tuesday evening at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, Iowa.
As a kid growing up in Milwaukee, Don White was my hero. It started with the 66/67 charger on the Milwaukee mile. Sad to hear that he is gone. I could not wait for summer each year and the USAC stock car races at the fair park. Those were magical times for a young, impressionable boy. My dad bought us a checkered flag at the races, my mom made us a white flag out of a pillow case and we used an apple tree branch as a green flag. My brother and I would organize bike races in our neighborhood, I was always Don White and my brother was Jack Bowsher. At times, we had as many as 24 kids on stingray bikes racing on our street in an oval marked by garbage cans. It all came to a screeching fault when Mile Zion lost his chain and ran smack into the telephone booth breaking his arm in front of Cornell's market. Mrs. Zion would not let Mike race with us any longer and word got around that the Taft boys were too wild. LOL. God bless you Don White, until I see you in heaven.
Following Don to race's in Milwaukee, Michigan & Springfield. Always so much fun and exciting, really miss those days.
Growing up in Iowa and a racing fan from 7 years old my first track hero's were Don White and Ramo Stott. First saw Don in person at Hawkeye Downs. What a driver...what a competitor and obviously a great family man ! Sympathy's to the extended White family.
Hawkeye Radio Network
Thanks Don say hi to Norm and the Boy sure must be some Racing Up there It hard to find it around here
Years ago at Keokuk Raceway and Donnellson Raceway my Uncle Jean Maag raced with him. Great times when I was a youngster. To Linda: Sorry about you loss. Hope all is well with you. Long time no see.
great competitor and a class Guy off the track proud to have known Don My condolences to the family RIP
Don was not only a great race car driver, but also a great man. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to get to know him better. He was a good example of how a man should live his life. He was a hard worker and will be sorely missed.
Fond memories of "going racing" while I was growing up. Don was a big part of those memories. RIP. My condolences to the family.
So Sorry for your Loss! May he rest in Peace! Now he can be with Verna and have ever lasting Peace! Love To The Family,
Extremely sorry to have learned this. I remember going to Don's shop while growing up in Powdertown.
Always a kind man.
Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
my favorites of Don, so many, living next door to my grandparents on main street we would climb the fence and go to Dons garage and watch him fix those old race cars, or going to his house with my Dad and watch the films of Dons races, going and watching him race, and talking wiyh other greats about Don and the Keokuk gang.Keokuk lost a legend,
Linda & Family
Sorry for your loss, Don was a great person on & off the race track. Donnie and Ernie put Keokuk on the map.
My sincere condolence and Prayers are with you and your Family.
Don with his Dodge Charger.
I've known Don since 1998, when he sold me this car to restore. I learned a lot over the years from Don and I'll miss his stories about his racing days!
My sympathy to his entire family and especially to Barb, who has been very helpful with my questions about the car.
Don was a great guy!
So sorry for your loss,he will never be forgotten,may God be with you during these difficult times.
Mark and Diana Coovert
Linda I am so very sorry for your loss. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Don was already my racing hero even before I saw him race for the first time in 1968 It was with great joy that I was able to watch Don win at Milwaukee 3 times in the 1970's. A brief chat with Don was all the reason I needed to visit Keokuk for the reunions. So glad I made the trip last year...RIP Don.
Prayers out to the family.Always a gentleman and one of the best racers in the USA.
So very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you all! What a great long life and God Bless.
Kathy, Barb & Linda, So sorry for the loss of your dad. His racing career made Keokuk proud! Your Dad was respected and loved by many. Prayers for you and your families.
Barb, so sorry to hear of the passing of your
father, he was the most enjoyable person to have coffee with. He was a delightful person, always cheerful. I know he will me missed by many. Take care and God Bless
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