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Arkansas’ first Miss America, Donna Axum Whitworth, dies

November 6, 2018

FILE - In this Dec. 29, 1963, file photo, Miss America Donna Axum gets a kiss from her rescuer Bill Fielden after he rescued her from a deadly fire at the Roosevelt Hotel in Jacksonville, Fla. Whitworth, the first Miss America to come from Arkansas, has died in Texas. Whitworth's husband, Brian Whitworth, says she died Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, at a hospital in Fort Worth. She was 76. ( Lou Egner /The Florida Times-Union via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The first Miss America to come from Arkansas, Donna Axum Whitworth, has died in Texas.

Whitworth’s husband, Brian Whitworth, says she died Sunday at a hospital in Fort Worth. She was 76.

A cause of death was not released. Brian Whitworth says his wife suffered a variety of illnesses, but was well enough to travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, less than two weeks ago where she visited friends and attended a University of Arkansas football game.

Donna Axum Whitworth was born in El Dorado and was crowned Miss America in 1964.

Funeral services are scheduled for Friday in Fayetteville.

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