July 27, 1936 – February 6, 2018
On the morning of February 6, 2018, at the age of 81, loving husband, father, and grandfather Donald “Don” Lee White passed away in San Jose, California. Don was born on July 27, 1936, in Woodland, California, one of two children of George and Hazel White.
At an early age, the family moved to Washington and settled in Puyallup where Donald found his love for music as a member of the band and sports playing baseball, basketball, and golf. Don graduated from Puyallup High School in 1954 and shortly after high school moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in golf.
In 1959 Don enlisted in the U.S. Army where he spent much of that time overseas in Korea. After two years of service, Don went back to golf working as a teaching professional at various clubs around the country such as Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank and Meadowbrook Country Club outside of Detroit. While teaching he received his PGA Card in 1967 and began playing in tournaments all across the country. In January of 1969 while playing in the “Little Crosby” Pro AM in Salinas he met Kathy McMurry of Watsonville. They were married at the Watsonville Baptist Church on August 9, 1969. In 1970, Don took a job at Exmoor Country Club in Chicago as assistant head professional before eventually moving back to Watsonville and continuing on the tour. In 1975, Don officially retired from golf and began his “second career” in the financial services industry. He worked at Prudential Financial in Watsonville for over 25 years until his retirement in 2005.
Don was a renowned storyteller, an avid Oakland Athletics and Golden State Warriors fan as well as a collector of James Michener, John Steinbeck, and China Stamps. However, the hobby most will remember him by was his love of Bonsai. Don joined the Watsonville Bonsai club in 1981 and just as he taught golf decades before he continued his love of teaching and people with his students at local workshops or offering private lessons at his home. He taught a monthly Bonsai class at Aladdin Nursery and was a very active participant in the Santa Cruz County Fair. In early 2017 Don and his wife Kathy moved to San Jose to be closer to their son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.
Don is survived by his beloved wife Kathy of 48 years, son Conor, daughter-in-law Angela and his two granddaughters Sloane and Finley. He will always be remembered for being a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.
A memorial service and celebration of Donald’s life are scheduled for Friday, February 23 at 1:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Glen Manor Chapel, 2671 Plummer Ave. San Jose, CA 95125. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.