Frank D. White

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Frank Durward White (1933-2003) was Republican governor of Arkansas from 1981 to 1983.

Frank Durward White was born June 4, 1933 to Durward Frank Kyle and Ida Bottoms Clark Kyle in Texarkana, Texas. His father died when he was seven and his mother remarried to Loftin E. White of Dallas, Texas. His step-father adopted him and so his last name was changed to White.

As a teenager White attended Highland Park High School in Dallas, until his stepfather died in 1950. Then his mother moved back to Texarkana. Next he enrolled in New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico. He was appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated in 1956, ranked 273 out of 681. He earned an engineering degree.

White then went into the U.S. Air Force where he became a pilot. He left the Air Force in 1961 with the rank of captain. Then he married Mary Blue Hollenberg of Little Rock. They settled in Little Rock, and White went to work for Merrill-Lynch & Co. In 1973 White joined the management of Commercial National Bank. In 1965–1966 he served as president of the Little Rock Jaycees. White’s pastor was Reverend Mike Huckabee who also became a Republican governor of Arkansas. White divorced his first wife in 1973, and remarried to Gay Daniels in 1975. During the second marriage White gained custody of his three children from his first marriage.

White was a part of Democrat David Pryor’s cabinet. White left state government in 1977 to become president of Capital Savings and Loan Co. In 1980 White registered as a Republican to run against Bill Clinton who was running for his second term as a democratic governor. White beat Clinton 435,684 to 403,242. He made a big mistake at the first part of his term by claiming that his victory was “A victory for the Lord.” White was opposed to raising taxes so he began by making budget cuts. He cut the governor’s staff by 25%.

In the election of 1982 White ran against Clinton for a second time. This time Clinton was on top of the game and came out with the majority. So in January 1983 Clinton returned to office. White ran a third time in 1986 for governor and lost once again. In 1998 White was appointed by Governor Mike Huckabee to the position of State Banking Commissioner. White died on May 21, 2003, of a heart attack in Little Rock.

White was employed as an accounting supervisor for Merrill Lynch from 1961 to 1973, and then moved into management at Little Rock's Commercial National Bank. Then-governor David Pryor appointed White to the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission (AIDC). White eventually left this post at AIDC for the presidency of the Capital Savings and Loan Association in Little Rock.

In 1980 White ran for governor against incumbent governor Bill Clinton. Clinton had suffered in popularity by increasing the fee charged for car registrations and by accepting the Carter administrations' relocating several thousand Cuban refugees to Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith, Arkansas.

In office White saw passage of Act 590 to teach the the theory of creation science in Arkansas classrooms. The law was later overturned in the McLean v. Arkansas decision of 1982. White was defeated in a rematch with Clinton in 1982 and again in 1986.

Between 1998 and 2003 White served as Arkansas Banking Commissioner, an appointment received from governor Mike Huckabee.

White was born in Texarkana, Texas. He is a 1956 engineering graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Following graduation he became a United States Air Force pilot, serving until 1961. White was married twice: once to Mary Blue Hollenberg and again to Gay Daniels. White narrowly won the contest.White is buried at Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.


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