Will Rogers High School Class of 1956, Tulsa, Oklahoma homepage - Deceased Orbitituaries

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Services and obituary information for:

Don Whitsitt

Don Whitsitt


Died Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Santa-Monica, CA


Services 3:00 PM Sunday, August 26, 2012
Irvine United Congregational Church
4915 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA



     Whitsitt, Don Everett, 74, died June 5, 2012 at Santa-Monica-UCLA hospital. Don was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 26, 1937 to parents Paul and Gertrude Whitsitt. He spent the first 26 years of his life in Tulsa, and earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music from the University of Tulsa. Music was front and center to most of his activities. His outstanding ability as a conductor was fostered throughout college as he was the choir director at three churches and two private schools.
     Don met his wife Jaren Johnson through a university choir and they were married July 9, 1960, less than six months after they started dating. After graduating, Don and Jaren moved to California. He conducted five choirs each day at Salinas High School from 1964-1970. Both daughters were born during this time. The family moved to St. Cloud, MN so Don could direct choral groups at the college level. Northern Montana College was the next stop before heading to Indiana University from 1973-1976 where he earned his Doctor of Music degree in choral conducting.
      California beckoned again. Fortunately, there was an open position at Neighborhood Church in Palos Verdes Estates for a choir director. The ten years there were perhaps the most fulfilling of his career. The choir performed many major works with orchestras in addition to the usual Sunday morning anthems. Don also sang with the Los Angeles Master Chorale during this period.
      Throughout his life, Don loved to spend time with family, and to travel, read, and spend time outdoors. When raising the girls, Don shared his love of camping with visits to many state and national parks. Later, he and Jaren enjoyed several trips to Europe. The last decade of Don's life were made particularly happy due to the arrival of granddaughter Sofia. She was always a joy to spend time with and Don would usually have a guitar in hand as he sang with her and other family members.
      Don is survived by his wife, Jaren; daughters, Jill (Rick) Gibbs and Penny (Roni) Portillo; brother, Gene (Linda) Whitsitt; granddaughter, Sofia Portillo; sister-in-law, Sandy (Vic) Dobras; brother-in-law Marty Johnson; as well as Aunt Elsie Seay and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
      A memorial service will be held Sunday, August 26th at 3pm at Irvine United Congregational Church, 4915 Alton Parkway, Irvine, CA 92604. If you wish to make a donation in Don's honor, please consider the Music Fund at Irvine UCC or the (California State Parks Foundation).
      Published in the Orange County Register on July 15, 2012

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Please direct all questions to:
Sally (Lofton) Olah

Phone: 918-407-4088
PO Box 52443
Tulsa, OK  74152-0443

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