Donna Clair White


image of Donna Clair White

Donna Clair White

Donna Clair White was born in Seattle, Washington on November 9, 1935, and died peacefully, surrounded by family, in Snohomish County, WA, on September 19, 2023; she was 87.

Donna was adopted at birth by Fred and Leona Engel, who doted over their only child. Fred died in a hunting accident when Donna was five. Leona worked long hours to support herself and Donna. For several years, Donna lived off and on with distant family members and friends, but longed to be fully reunited with her loving mother.

When Donna was 11, Leona married John (Jack) Gregory. Jack helped Leona and Donna reestablish a stable, loving home for Donna’s teenage and adult years.

Donna studied at Western Washington University in Bellingham for two years. After leaving college, Donna met Clark Marshall; they married on June 29, 1957. Their son, Scott Frederick, was born on July 3, 1958; their daughter Sherri Marie on April 17, 1960; and daughter Michelle Rene on February 11, 1964.

A full-time mother, Donna was also instrumental in helping Clark build what became a motorsports empire. Her intellect, charm, knack for public relations and support were integral to the high-risk success of the business. For a time, she enjoyed an exciting lifestyle filled with celebrities, fast cars, racing, water sports, and luxury.

Clark was often away from home. Despite this, Donna provided a stable environment that included large Holiday gatherings of extended family and friends. Her unique ability to host lavish, loving celebrations remained a life- long passion and gift. Unfortunately, the lure of the fast paced “60’s lifestyle” began to consume Clark. After many separations and efforts to reconcile, Donna and Clark divorced in 1968, leaving her in uncharted, extremely challenging single-mother territory.

Donna did her best to raise her children in an at-times socially and financially unstable environment. She was a forceful, deeply caring mother.

She married and later divorced Ernie Woods, esteemed basketball coach for Bellevue Community College.

On New Year’s Eve, 1976, Donna married Jim White. Jim helped provide the kind of stability and care for Donna and her children that she had enjoyed when her mother married Jack. The family flourished during Donna and Jim’s marriage. Donna no longer had to worry about finances and was able to explore areas of life she wasn’t able to before.

With Jim’s encouragement, Donna indulged in interior design, traveling the world, and many other pursuits. But her greatest passion was art. Donna showed promise as an artist from a young age, but was unable to devote herself to it because of the various circumstances of her life. Now, she fully immersed herself in the world of art, particularly plein-air painting. Donna was able to cultivate relationships with some of the top artists in the world. Under their tutelage, she became an extremely accomplished and respected artist herself. She also became a keen art collector.

Donna’s unique, astute artistic aesthetic imbued all aspects of her life. Her interior design, furnishings, wardrobe, gifts, mannerisms and personality all embodied the artist Donna was.

During this time, she continued her tradition as a strong matriarch and hosted many family gatherings, showering love, affection and wisdom on her three children, five grandchildren, spouses, partners and friends. Because of her openness and warmth, many considered Donna a “second mom”.

When Donna was 44, she was contacted by her previously unknown half-sister, Lois. Lois wanted Donna to meet Florence, the birth mother they had in common. Donna agreed, and both families met at Lois’ home. This meeting led Donna to search for her biological father, William Byrd. Donna and William developed a loving and rewarding relationship that continued until his death in 2003.

After 20 years of marriage, Donna and Jim divorced. Donna was able to continue her passionate pursuits until she started to suffer from an extreme form of chronic pain. Although her ailment limited her art and travel, she fought to enjoy every ounce of life she could.

The blessings of a good mother, grandmother, matriarch may be the greatest gift one can receive in this life. The kind of person who, despite her flaws, again and again delivered her finest grace to her extended family and friends: the gift of unconditional love.

Donna leaves a wonderful living legacy: her son Scott, daughters Sherri and Michelle, grandchildren Scott, Chad, Travis, Ella (Bon) and Lila, son-in-law Tracy and many other loved ones.

We love you so much. Godspeed…

At Donna’s request, no formal memorial service will be held.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, to honor Donna, donations can be made to Mary’s Place:

8 Responses to “Donna Clair White”

  • Tim Boettcher says:

    So sorry for your loss. Donna was always very sweet to me and although she will be missed, I am thankful that she is no longer in pain. Godspeed, indeed!

  • Beverly White says:

    Donna and I became best friends in high school. Many wonderful memories. It seems as though I have loved her all my life. Bob and I moved to Oregon in 2008 and though we lost touch, Scott and Sheri kept us in touch. Thank you for continuing to keep our love always as “besties.”

    Love, Auntie Bev`

  • Shelley Clark says:

    Lisa and I send our love to all of the Marshall clan.

  • Greg Taylor says:

    What a lovely tribute and what a remarkable woman. It seemed she lived a long, passionate life filled with love and adventure; certainly a life well spent.

  • Marla D Clemens says:

    My Memories of dear Donna are many. With tears and love I say Goodbye, but I will always still feel part of the family. Love to you all. Marla

  • Julia Corsi says:

    What a beautiful and inspiring life. Sending so much love.

  • Janine Stratton says:

    What a beautiful tribute to beautiful Donna. The moment I first met her I felt her sweet soul. She was so humble and kind, despite her amazing talents, beauty, and wisdom. Her love of her family, children, grandchildren, art, animals, flowers and nature’s wonders will always inspire me to appreciate these things. Her hugs and pure love will be so missed, but know she’s still with us and an angel to us all. Much love and prayers to her sweet family.

  • RayeAnn Harter says:

    Donna was always a class act. I loved her passion for art, fashion, family and friends. She was one of my mothers best friends.. they had many years of shopping sprees, cocktail lunches, more shopping and lots of laughs. They really enjoyed each others company. She will be missed. Xoxxo

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