October 2, 2015
The family of honorary parade marshal Dr. Charles White will lead Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s 2015 Homecoming parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10.
White recently passed away on Aug. 3. He worked in various positions at Northwestern over a course of 23 years, retiring from the university in 1990.
He attended Blackwell Public Schools and graduated with the class of 1946. White continued his education at Northern Oklahoma College (NOC) where he played varsity basketball and tennis, sang in the chorus and men’s quartet. Later, he transferred to the University of Oklahoma where he completed his bachelor’s degree. It is also where he met the love of his life, Patricia “Pat” Ann Phillips of Wewoka, who along with other family members will be representing him in Northwestern’s Homecoming parade. Pat and Charles were together for 64 years before his passing.
“He was always happy,” Pat remembered about her husband. “He had a real good sense of humor.”
Eventually Charles returned to graduate school to receive a master’s degree in education from the University of Oklahoma. He taught at Newkirk, Braman, NOC, Oklahoma State University (OSU), and Northwestern. After teaching at Braman, he received one of 30 spots allotted by the National Defense Education Act to attend the University of Texas where he received one year of credits toward a doctoral degree that was completed at OSU.
“He would teach in public schools,” Pat said, “and then he would jump in the car to go somewhere to get more hours for his doctorate. He would get back home around midnight usually, and get back up at eight o’clock the next morning.”
In 1950, Pat and Charles were married. They had two daughters, Kay Lou and Terry, and wanted to find a place where they could settle down.
“He went to interview at a lot of places, but so many of the places he didn’t like the town,” Pat said. “We were both raised in a small town. He interviewed a lot of places, and we decided Alva would be a good place to raise our girls.”
From 1967 to 1990 Charles worked at Northwestern as the dean of students, the director of the division of education, psychology and physical education, as well as a professor of psychology and education, followed by a part-time position for a few years after retirement.
“If somebody had one class from him, they wanted more because he was very interesting,” Pat said. “They [the students] enjoyed his classes. He would bring chocolate covered peanut clusters on days the students would take tests. They always thought I made them but he [Charles] made them all.”
Charles was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, Delta Chi, Lions Club, Elk’s Club, and was listed in the Who’s Who in Americans in Science. He also was commissioned as an honorary Lieutenant Colonial by the ROTC and received a Northwestern Alumni award for being an outstanding teacher.
“He was very nice to students, and he enjoyed them. He helped them any time they needed assistance,” Pat said.
Charles loved to golf, too. In 1994, he went to a golf club-making school in Austin, Texas. He participated on the Alva Golf and Country Club Board and eventually became its president.
After putting off playing his trumpet publically for 46 years, Charles played with the Northwestern concert band, the Alva Community Summer bands, and NOC in Enid concert and jazz bands.
“He was a very good musician,” Pat said. “He used to play lots of times with the college band when they needed somebody.”
Although Charles was an OU alumnus, the Whites attended Northwestern’s homecoming and basketball games every chance they had.
In 1980 Pat opened her real estate business, Pat White Realty on Barnes Street in the downtown square. In front of her business is where her family always set up for watching the homecoming parade.
“Our family is always right out [there] on the sidewalk,” Pat said about previous homecoming parades. “I come down early and set out the lawn chairs so we can all sit and watch the parade.”
Pat had never thought she would be in Northwestern’s parade, but was honored for the chance for her and her family to represent Charles.
Charles’ family includes Pat; his daughters Kay and her husband, Larry Kiner of Enid, and Terry and her husband, David Steele of Wichita, Kansas; four grandsons and their spouses, Kyle and Jennie Kiner, Greg and Callie Kiner, Bryan and Abbie Steele, and Mike Steele; six great grandchildren, Anna, Caleb, Noah, and Lucy Kiner, Xander and Juliet Steele, and a sister Arlene James.
Posted on Fri, October 2, 2015
by Ali Kirtley filed under