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Donald S White


Donald S. White was born in Nanaimo during the depression and worked on fishing boats and in logging camps in order to put himself through university. He graduated from UBC law school and hung out his own shingle in 1956 when he was called to the bar. In 1963 he and Ken Derpak founded the firm Derpak White” and they practiced together until Ken’s retirement in 1985. 


Over the course of 50 years, until his retirement in 2006, Don had a varied practiced. Aside from tax, there was virtually nothing that he didn’t do. His practice included criminal law, personal injury, family law, estates, real estate and business law. His true forte however was in the courtroom. He was never afraid to take on a case no matter how challenging and would vigorously pursue the matter on behalf of his client. The best example of this was, when despite just being 27 years old, he acted for the “Man Without a Country”, George Christian Hanna, who had been a stowaway on a ship for over two years but was unable to get off because he did not have any papers saying where he was from. Don was able to get him off the ship and eventually arranged for him to become a landed immigrant.


Perhaps Don’s strongest trait as a lawyer was that he just simply got things done. Case in point, in the 1960s, before the days of computers and electronic filing, when another lawyer forgot a filing deadline for a lawsuit, Don, on one day’s notice was able to draft the lawsuit, charter a helicopter to fly to Port Alberni to file the lawsuit and then fly to Victoria to file it in the Land Title Office. All in one day?


Don currently lives in South Surrey with his wife Trish. He has written and self-published his memoir, Good Enough to be Delightful, Bad Enough to be Interesting.

Call to the bar in 1956.

Mr. White (left) and Hanna (right) on the way to court.

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