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Vernie White dies at age of 87

Vernie White performs at The Wilmore Opry, 2003. Vernie Arden White died on Friday, Sept 19, 2003, at the Comanche County Hospital in Coldwater, Kansas. He lived to the age of 87 years.

He was born on March 21, 1916, at the Holmes Ranch in Barber County near Aetna, Kansas, the son of Neal and Elizabeth (Alley) White.

Vernie attended Happy Valley, Happy Hollow, Duckworth, Shimer, and Nescatunga country schools and Wilmore High School. He spent nine months in the C.C.C. (Civilian Conservation Corps) north of Ashland, Kansas. He was among those who helped build Clark County State Lake at that site.

A lifetime resident of Comanche county, White resided on the Wall Place for 43 years -- almost half a century. He was a farmer and a rancher. During his life, he worked for Ed Thomas, S.A. DeLair, Art Perry, Perry Wall, Fred Parker and Miss Lizzy Briggs.

Vernie was a member of the First Christian Church of Coldwater, the Coldwater Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Comanche County Farm Bureau.

During World War II, he was in the United States Army, serving from 1942 to 1945. He took G.I. training after the war.

On July 1, 1945, White married Virginia Cary at the T.R. Cary home. She is among his survivors.

Other survivors include one son, Virgil, and his wife Karen of Waynesville, Missouri; two daughters, Vickie Widner and her husband Randy of Ruidoso, New Mexico, and Vanita Blundell and her husband Jim of Coldwater; one brother, Robert White and his wife Esther of Pratt, Kansas; three sisters, Hazel Renard of Farmington, New Mexico, and Zora Williams and Alma Haas, both of Coldwater; one sister-in-law, Viola White of Coldwater; 8 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and two step-great-grandchildren.

Funeral was on Tuesday afternoon at the First Christian Church in Coldwater. Officiating were Virgil White, Randy Widener, and Chet Mendenhall. Burial was in Crown Hill Cemetery at Coldwater.

In charge of arrangements was Hatfield-Prusa Funeral Home of Coldwater. Memorials to Vernie Alden White may be sent to the First Christian Church, Comanche County Hospital or to South Wind Hospice, all in care of P.O. Box 417 in Coldwater, Kansas, 67029.

-- The Protection Press, September 25, 2003. Reprinted with permission of Virginia White.

Above photo: Vernie White entertains at the Wilmore Opry, 2003. Photo by Dave Rose for The Wilmore Opry.

"Last week brought on some sad news for a lot of us in Comanche County. Vernie moved to his heavenly home. Vernie White was a member of the Wilmore Opry. We not only enjoyed his entertainment on stage, but we all loved Vernie's laughter and jokes. what a good friend he was, and he will be greatly missed. We are sure Vernie is entertaining the angels with his heavenly friends and on that heavenly stage. we all will miss you a lot Vernie!"

-- "Wilmore News" by Dan & Linda Winter, The Protection Press, 25 September 2003.

The Western Star, September 4, 1942.

Vernie White, son of Mr. and Mrs. Neal White, was recently transferred to Harding Field, Baton Rouge, La., where he is receiving training in a bombing squadron.

The Western Star, July 9, 1943.


Corporal Vernie White, U.S. Army.

At left: Corporal Vernie White, US Army.

Cpl. Vernie A. White, a Comanche County farm boy who has been in the thick of battle against the Germans and Italians in North Africa, has already had more thrilling experiences than most men 90 years of age.

He was inducted into the Army April 6, 1942 and was sent where no one wants to go, Camp Robinson, Ark., along with Lloyd Cole and a Protection boy. Then Vernie was separated from the home county boys when he was sent to Barksdale Field, La., the largest air base in the United States. After training in the air corps there he and 100 others entrained for Harding Field, La., for further training as a gunner. On October 6, Verle embarked for overseas duty and on October 14 wrote his first letter home from England. On November 3 he wrote a letter home while on the way to North Africa.

Now that the North African invasion is over he has been doing guard duty, but says that they are moving soon, destination unannounced. He writes that he will be glad when it is all over and he can come home.

Cpl. White, who is in the ordinance department of a bombing squadron, wrote a most interesting letter just received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Neal White. The letter, which has passed an army censor, gives some interesting details, not hitherto revealed, and inasmuch as it was passed by the censor, and the actual fighting there is over, the Star uses the letter:

May 25, 1943
North Africa

Dear Mother and All,
I have a few minutes to write you a few lines so here goes. As the North Africa Campaign is over we are allowed to tell some of our personal experiences and where we have been in sections. When we left England, we were among the first to invade North Africa. We went through lots of excitement. We landed in the Oran sector and slept in the open without any shelter from the weather for some time but were lucky to even eat. We pushed on to the Algeria sector. There we underwent a good many bombing raids. We had to lay in mud to get below the ground far enough, to guard against the concussion of the Jerries' bombs. They dropped gadgets from the air for the purpose of puncturing the tires of our planes and trucks, also they dropped booby traps, attractive objects like fountain pens and flashlights. The minute one was picked up it would explode. We ordinance boys worked day and night delivering bombs, loading planes, and driving convoys of supplies along the front where needed. I have seen a lot of North Africa. I was also in French Morocco for some time. Everybody is thrilled over the fall of Rommel's Army. Wish it would all end.

Lots of Love,

"Country Gal", The Western Star, July 11, 2006.

Music has been a big part of my life since I was growing up. I think that you can tell a lot about the times that we live in by the music that is written. Take the roaring 20’s: it was a time that America was happy and the music showed it. The 20’s had the flappers and the music was lively. In the 30’s, during the depression, the blues were inspired. They sang of the hardships of the times. During war times, songs like "Don’t Sit under the Apple Tree" were popular. The fifties were exciting with the sock hops. I remember some of Woodstock - the Beatles - Elvis- Porter Wagner- Buck Owens- Loretta Lynn - Alice Cooper -Pink Floyd. (I thought I was a rebel for a while).

We lived over 20 miles from town so we had lots of time in the car going back and forth and we spent a lot of that time singing like ‘Found a Peanut’- ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ -‘White Coral Bells’. Mom taught me how to sing a round. Dad sang a lot also. When Dad would rock me to sleep he would sing the Fly song.

Dad sang on horseback often. When he lived with and worked for Mr. and Mrs. S.A. Delair, Mrs. Delair taught him the song ‘The Unfortunate Man’. It was funny and fit Dad. I have never heard the song other than when Dad sang it, I don’t know if it was something that she wrote or something that she had learned as a child and passed it along to Dad. He liked to sing songs that would make me cry-like ‘Poor Charley’ and ‘The Baggage Coach Ahead’. He thought that it was so funny to see me bawling my eyes out about poor ol’ Charley dying and not being able to see his mother when the work is done this fall. Or about the poor baby crying on the train and the dad not being able to comfort the child because the mother was in the baggage coach in a coffin. I never could handle the song ‘Shep’. As I got older I heard the song ‘‘The Letter Edged in Black’ - that song broke my heart, too.

I got to thinking the other day that life is made up of music. When you are young you hear a song and think that you would like to have that sung at your birthday party, then you hear a song when you are dating and you have "your song", then you hear a song that is just perfect for your wedding. After that you hear a song and think that you would like to have that song sung at your 50th wedding anniversary... years pass and you hear a song that is near and dear to your heart and you think: "This is what I want sung at my funeral".

-- by Vanita (White) Blundell, Vernie's daughter.

Also see:

Cornelius Vernosdol White, known as Neal White, he was the father of Vernie White.

World War II News Articles From Comanche County, Kansas

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding & transcribing the above WWII news article!

This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin, who recalls Vernie White with great fondness, with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book.

This page was created 28 November 2003 and was last updated 02 September 2007.