FRANK D. WHITE was born in in Texarkana, Texas, to Durward Frank Kyle and Ida Bottoms Clark Kyle and was given the name Durward Frank Kyle Jr. His mother later remarried and his stepfather, Frank White, adopted him. White legally changed his name to Frank Durward White. He graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute and received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 1952. After graduation from the academy in 1956, White took a commission in the U.S. Air Force, accumulating more than 1,800 flying hours before discharging in 1961 with the rank of captain. He began a business career in Little Rock in 1961 with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith. White was a senior account executive with Merrill Lynch until 1973 when he joined the management team at Commercial National Bank in Little Rock. He was appointed director of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission in 1975, a position he held until 1977 when he became president and chief executive officer of Capital Savings and Loan in Little Rock.
He was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1980. During his tenure as Governor from 1981 to 1983, he signed a measure approved by the legislature requiring Arkansas teachers to include “creation science” in the curriculum if the theory of evolution was also taught. The law was later struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge but drew national attention. Governor White was the second Republican elected governor of Arkansas since the end of Reconstruction in 1874. After leaving office, White worked for a Little Rock investment firm, then joined First Commercial Bank as senior vice president. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee named White his state banking commissioner in July 1998. Governor White passed away on May 21, 2003. He is buried at Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture: Frank Durward White (1933–2003)
Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors' Conference, 1983.
Old State House Museum