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.
I heard this sad news this morning during a haircut and it was tough news. Not only can the Whorton family be very proud of a Husband, a Father and Grandfather; rather the whole family that is Elmore County can count themselves blessed to either have known Mr. Don or at the minimum have been served by him as Commissioner. I run a lot of circles, and I have not ever heard even one disparaging word about Mr. Don. In fact, just the opposite is true and I believe that all of us can only hope to leave a legacy as half as good as the one Mr. Don has left. Thad nailed it, he was a regular guy. It was the regular guy I would see on Sunday sitting next to his wonderful wife and grandchildren in church. That was the guy I would run into in one of the many stores around town or at a City or County event. Just a regular guy, doing his constituents bidding and the Lords work. That was Don, always trying to make things better for everyone, and never wavering on what he felt was right and just. Never caving in to pressure if he thought his idea was the correct thing to do. He didn’t care for my politics either, however he never let that get in the way of speaking to me and engaging in conversation. The Whorton family has suffered the great loss of their true North and for that our prayers and thoughts are with them in this difficult time.
My prayers are with this wonderful family. He will be missed.