OBITUARY: Michael White

Michael White, 67, died Aug. 31, 2021, at Newton Medical Center.

Raymond Wiley and Nina Mae (Davis) White welcomed their second child, Michael Ray White, on Sept. 7, 1953, making a big sister out of Patti and ending her reign as an only child. Mike attended Roosevelt Elementary School, Chisholm Middle School and graduated from Newton High School with the Class of 1973.

Mike enlisted in the Navy on Jan. 8, 1975, serving on the USS Berkeley, a missile destroyer, until January 1977. Mike would continue to serve his country in the Reserves until January 1981. Throughout his life, Mike would work in several different industries and he held many different positions along the way. Collins Bus Company was one of his shorter experiences. It is hard to find many men that grew up in Newton at the time Michael did that didn’t end up working for the Santa Fe Railroad at one time or another, but Mike spent the majority of his career working at Boeing Aerospace. After being laid off and soon to be approaching retirement, Mike would find work as a custodian for the Newton School District.

Mike became a father when Chris was born on June 23, 1976. Mike married Joan Grochowsky on July 10, 1980. Mike and Joan shared 41 years together and have shared three boys and five grandchildren. Chris was a great big brother when Derrick made his debut on July 13, 1982, and Danny would surprise all of them by deciding to leave the womb before the turkey was done on March 4, 1988.

Though Mike was not an outdoor sportsman, he did organize and promote many outdoor events, such as the Newton Downtown Car Show and Blues, Brews and Barbecue. When Newton still had street dances and the Chisholm Trail Festival, you would find him giving his time and opinions to make sure things were done the right way. Mike loved a well-organized community event. Anything involving a car show or music, Mike could be found helping, organizing or promoting.

Fueled by a love of music, Mike and Joan spent countless hours at bars and venues scouting talent and enjoying live music and entertainment. Mike’s passion for bringing events and activities to his hometown would be the highlight of his summers. Many hours were spent at the Fox Theater. He loved and took advantage of every opportunity to enjoy music and passed that appreciation on to his boys. He had a respect for hard work and understood the talent and commitment it took to craft music.

Michael left us all unexpectedly and far too soon. He tried to leave Newton better than he found it and the same can be said for the love of his family. He was passionate about the things that mattered to him and he will be deeply missed.

Michael is survived by his wife Joan of the home, sons Chris White and (Carrie Budde), Derrick White and (Amber White) and Danny White, sister Patricia Warner and five grandchildren.

A gathering and visitation were from 5-9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 3, with the family receiving friends from 6:30-8 p.m. at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton. There will be a private family funeral service.

Memorial suggestions are made to the Michael White Memorial Fund to purchase musical instruments for needy students, in care of Petersen Funeral Home.

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