I don’t specifically recall the first time I met Don Whorton. I was in my late teens and had already become very interested in all things political. I’m sure I listened to Rush Limbaugh frequently and I was a registered Republican. Don’s future(at the time)son-in-law, Ricky Roberts, and I would occasionally talk politics and Don never missed an opportunity to take a little jab at me for being a Republican. In fact, I’m certain that from the time he figured out that I was a Republican, he never called me by my name again. For the last twenty years or so he referred to me exclusively as George. As in George H.W. Bush, the Republican president at the time I met Don. I can’t begin to count the number of times he said to me, “One day I’m gonna’ take you to Washington and show you what it’s all about!” This was, of course, before he ran for and was elected to the Elmore County Commission as a Republican.
Don was never one to shy away from politics. Unlike many politicians, though, I believe that Don sought public office because he genuinely wanted to make life better for those he served. I think he succeeded. There were times when it was a bumpy ride but that is to be expected in politics. Good times or tough, he conducted himself, both personally and professionally, in a manner that all public servants should. In a way that his constituents could be proud of. He never came across as self-important or arrogant. He came across as a regular guy who cared about the issues that the citizens of Elmore County faced and wanted to help them deal with those issues. He came across that way because that is what he was, a regular guy. A humble dairy farmer with a servant’s heart. We should all aspire to reach such lofty heights by way of humility. It wasn’t always easy on him and his family, but he always persevered and did what he believed to be the right thing.
Don passed away this morning after a long illness and my prayers and thoughts are with his family, who are among my dearest friends. To Janice, Carol, and Beth, I would say simply this: Take comfort in the fact that your husband and father was a good, upright man and Elmore County is a better place because he chose to live, serve, and raise his family here. I am proud not only to have called him my commissioner, but my friend as well. He will be greatly missed.