Donald B. White, 86, of White Bear Lake, a professor of turfgrass at the University of Minnesota, died Dec. 23.

In his 45-year teaching career, White had a significant impact on the turfgrass industry locally, nationally and internationally.

Starting in 1961, he taught several courses at the university related to turfgrass science, landscape design and nursery management to many of the course superintendents throughout the state and nation.

As a scientist, White's most important contribution to turfgrass research was the development of a commercially viable annual bluegrass, Poa annua. His research led to the release of the first creeping bluegrass in 1997. It is being used by golf courses throughout the world, including Pebble Beach.

As an environmentalist, he was a huge proponent of prairie grasses and reduced impact grasses, later called "sustainable" turf.

Before the USGA offered their on-course turf advisory services, White provided consulting services on his own time to courses all across the Midwest.

In 2006, the Minnesota Golf Association and the Minnesota Section PGA recognized White's career contributions by electing him into the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame. In 2013, the MGA recognized White with its highest award, the Warren J. Rebholz Distinguished Service Award.

Services will be held for White at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Jude of the Lake, 700 Mahtomedi Ave., Mahtomedi.

Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. Thursday at the Honsa Family Funeral Home, 2460 East County Road E, White Bear Lake and one hour before the mass at church.

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