NAIN Notes Passing of Founding Chair, the Rev. Dr. Charles White

The Rev. Dr. Charles “Chuck” White passed away on Oct. 26, in Everett, Wash., where he and his wife Liz moved to be close to their children.  He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ of 55 years (Dec. 20), his daughter, Teresa White Alldredge, son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Cary White and four grandchildren.

For those in Washington, there will be a graveside service in Snohomish. A memorial service is being planned to be held on Dec. 7, at the United Methodist Church in Kernville, CA.  Details will be posted by his children on the Chuck White Facebook page.

The family asks that no flowers be sent but has suggested instead a memorial gift to the Kern River Valley Educational and Cultural Foundation, P.O. Box 405, Kernville, CA 93238-0405

Chuck received his MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, in 1968. He served both as a pastor for congregations and in leadership positions beyond the local church in Christian ecumenical and interfaith organizations.

As a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he served the church in the Kern River Valley and Tehachapi, California; Buffalo, New York; Barrow, Alaska; Seattle and Onalaska, Washington; and Los Angeles..

Chuck co-chaired the Steering Committee that facilitated the formation of NAIN (1988-1990).  He then served as first Chair of the NAIN Board of Directors from 1990 to 1994 and was NAINews editor for a long time.

70th Birthday

Chuck’s 70th Birthday Celebration at NAINConnect 2007 in Richmond: Liz & Chuck, Sam Muyskens, and Bettina Gray

He resided until recently in Wofford Heights, CA.  In spite of gradually failing health, he had an active retirement.  Most recently, he served as President of the Kern River Valley Revitalization for over five years and was instrumental in the KRVR’s leadership in forming the Kern River Valley Community Fund. He served as Membership Chair and Secretary for the KRVR’s Giant Sequoia National Monument Association to insure the Kern Valley is a designated gateway to the Giant Sequoia Monument. He served as President of the Kern River Valley Education and Cultural Foundation to provide educational tools and opportunities to those who otherwise would not be able to achieve their educational dreams and goals.  A memorial may be found at http://www.kernvalleysun.com/news/local/article_f564ace8-416c-11e3-b95b-001a4bcf887a.html

Chuck was among the first people Woody and I met at our first NAINConnect in 2003.  He welcomed us newbies with grace and openness.  At the time, NAIN was still mailing its newsletter.  He started the transition to an online version, then passed the task to me.  Chuck was always so generous in his praise of others.

I think this tribute would be best served by quoting some of his NAIN friends.

Bettina Gray:
He will be very much missed.  Many of us remember him from NAIN’s earliest years.  He was the first Chair of NAIN and helped us through the early stages of organizing, bringing a great deal of wisdom and insight into what creates a functional and strong non-profit structure. At that time he was Executive Director of the Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries (BAMM).  His leadership to NAIN was critical and he offered it with a great spirit and a wonderful sense of humor.  My memories of Chuck are always punctuated with the sound of his laughter.

Our prayers go to the family in their time of grief.

Chuck White — what a wonderful soul — an inspiration and a friend.

Sam Muyskens:
I remember as though it were yesterday Chuck White, at the 1988 “ North American Assisi” in Wichita, stressing the point that “we must be a network”.   The merits of being a network have been questioned over the years, and sometimes it has been difficult for us to define the mission of a “network”.   It was not difficult for Chuck White.   It is my opinion that the reason for our success is that we have retained the “network” concept.  Thank you Chuck.

Elizabeth Espersen:
I first met Chuck White when I put together the 150th Anniversary Interfaith celebration of the founding of the City of Buffalo, NY.  Chuck was then Executive Director of BAMM.  I recall one of our conversations where Chuck said he felt ready to reach out to a larger interfaith arena than just one city.  He wanted to touch the world.  I believe that NAIN gave Chuck the opportunity to do just that:  touch the world.  And didn’t he do it well and splendidly!  Chuck and I mentored each other; he was a great man, a holy man.  He will be missed but I suspect his presence and expertise will continue to mentor many as interfaith work continues through the efforts of NAIN.

Paul McKenna:
Chuck White was a wonderful, beautiful, dedicated man. We the children of NAIN…we stand on his shoulders.

Rev. Clark Lobenstine: AMEN!

Paul Chaffee:
He was a terrific grassroots interfaith leader and a wonderful friend.

Teja Singh:
Deeply grieved to read the sad news.

Rev Chuck White was a warm and friendly greeter whenever I met him much later in his life.

He had lot of enthusiasm for our organization and members. We will miss him.

May God bless his soul and grant peace and solace to his wife and relatives.

Rev. Earl Smith:
I will remember Chuck White as someone who embraced life and was accepting of everyone . His humour and good sense made him easy to be with. His love for others makes him great. I will miss him.

Tatiana Androsov:
I met Charles at one of the last NAIN meetings that he attended (New York) and felt his leadership and wisdom.  I know that Elisabeth Esperson, who worked so closely with him in those formative NAIN years, treasures every moment that they spent bringing the different faith groups of our North American Continent together.

NAIN Past Leaders

Former NAIN Chairs at NAINConnect 2008 in San Francisco, NAIN’s 20th Anniversary Celebration: Peter Laurence, Chuck White, Kay Lindahl, Don Mayne, and Mike Goggin

Chuck was not able to attend our NAIN 25th Anniversary Celebration in Toronto, but Bettina Gray and Rachael Watcher interviewed him in their Anniversary Video.  Current NAIN Chair Rob Hankinson sums it up well, “His vigil now is passed.  His NAIN legacy lives on in all of us.”

From Teresa (White) Alldredge

Hi, I am Chuck White’s daughter, Teresa.  I have one correction you need to make in your blog post about dad.  He attended High School in Santa Maria, CA.  He was buried in Snohomish WA next to my husband.  My brother and I attended Snohomish High School.  Please pass on my thanks to the members of NAIN for their wonderful comments about my father.  At his graveside service were two of his Jewish friends.  One from Seattle and one from Madison Wisconsin.  It was a joy to us to have them attend.

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