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Arkansas’ first Miss America, Donna Axum Whitworth, passes away Nov 5, 2018 Updated 11 hrs ago

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Donna Lee Axum Whitworth, the El Dorado native who was crowned Miss America in 1964, died Sunday, the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Competition announced on its Facebook page.

She was 76. The El Dorado High School and University of Arkansas graduate was 21 when she became the first Arkansan to receive the title.

“It is with much sadness to share that Donna Axum Whitworth, Forever Miss America and Forever Miss Arkansas, passed this afternoon,” the statement said.

Whitworth received a master of arts degree from the University of Arkansas in speech and drama. She taught at Texas Tech University and Blinn College while also working on the seminar circuit.

She wrote one book, “How to Be and Look Your Best Everyday: A Comprehensive Guide from a Former Miss America.”

Her marriage to J. Bryan Whitworth was her third. They lived in Fort Worth and had a combined five children.

She donated $250,000 to the Donna Axum Fitness Center at the University of Arkansas in 2003.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.