We at FolkWorks are saddened to hear of Don White’s passing. He was so well loved, and many have expressed beautifully these thoughts, on the Forever Missed website.
For our FolkWorks family, the memory that stands out is of Don volunteering at our FolkRoots Festival in 2019 in West Los Angeles. He was one of those volunteers who stood out. We never had to ask him to do anything because he just walked around the site, saw what was needed, and did it – from helping with sound and tent setup to making sure the bathrooms were clean and supplied. He even made sure that the handicapped spots in the parking lot were not preempted. He managed to be everywhere at once, and yet never rushing about. To anything we asked, it seemed his reply was always …”already done!”.. .This was just who he was… he volunteered to help out and was indispensable to FolkWorks and the Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest as well!
He will be sorely missed!
From the Forever Missed website
Don was a beacon of joy and levity in our small pocket of LA. Always first to the front of the boat on pelagics, and first to respond with a wry quip and an eternal grin, he was unmistakable in a crowd due to both his jokes and his height. Though most had to look up at Don, he never looked down on anyone. Unpretentious, kind and genuine, his well-meaning nature was compounded by his unflappable BS detector and ability to never take himself too seriously. Don was a regular on many local field trips with LA, Pasadena, and SaMo Bay Audubon Societies in his local stomping grounds along Ballona Creek, Kenneth Hahn SRA and beyond. He was not shy. You probably met and knew him, and likely shared a laugh.
An expert hiker/backpacker, Don was the victim of a tragic, heat-related accident in record temperature highs at Anza Borrego, helping prepare for the annual bighorn sheep count. Ever a committed citizen scientist and nature lover, Don participated in countless hawk watches, nature surveys at Tejon Ranch and Bear Divide, as well as years of regional Christmas Bird Count efforts, with notable, perennial contributions to a staggering number of count circles: Los Angeles, Palos Verdes, Lancaster, Malibu, Santa Clarita, Grass Mountain, Tejon Ranch, Tehachapi, Bear Valley Springs, San Jacinto and surely others.
Loving husband and father, Don was an avid cyclist, reliably seen wandering the Greater LA area with bike companion and lifelong friend Doug Chamorro. He was a ravenous reader who spontaneously spouted Emily Dickinson poems. He loved food, coffee, and about 50% of Trader Joe’s snack offerings. He could always tell you where to find the best Ecuadorian breakfast, or the only place to get Ethiopian coffee at 2am. The world is quite a bit dimmer with his light now gone. He was a gifted storyteller with many yarns spun and adventures endured. One regret we have is that we didn’t get to hear them all.
Don was outlandishly good company, truly one of a kind. Never being one for ceremony or service himself, if you wish to make a contribution in honor of Don, here are some organizations he supported: Friends of California Condors, Tejon Ranch Conservancy, LA Audubon, Pasadena Audubon, Santa Monica Bay Audubon, LABirders.org.
So long, Don (Ovibose), and thanks for all the birds.
Don White was 68.
[Editor note: Many stories are posted about Don on this site, and there is space as well to add your own.]
RIP: Don White
(April 4, 1953 - June 16, 2021)