March 29, 2019
Bishop C Dale White, age 94 of Concord MA, formerly of Newport RI, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 29, 2019 at Newbury Court, 80 Deaconess Road in Concord MA.
Dale White was born on January 20, 1925 in Sac City IA to Daniel Columbus White of Missouri and Anna Francis (Holladay) White of Missouri. Dale grew up on a farm in Iowa along with his seven brothers and sisters. He graduated from high school in Nemaha IA. In 1943, he enlisted in the Army, playing tuba in the Army Band. He had a beautiful baritone voice and a love of music. Upon the death of his father in 1944, Dale was sent back to run the farm in Iowa with his brother Joe. It was then he met his beloved Gwendolyn Ruth Horton, a music teacher. They were married on August 25, 1946. Both attended Morningside College in Sioux City IA where Dale earned his Bachelor's Degree.
Dale and Gwen relocated to New England, where Dale served churches in Newport RI, Hingham MA and Stoughton MA, while obtaining his Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from Boston University in 1951 and his PhD at Boston University School of Theology in 1963. They also began raising a family of six. When Dale accepted a position at the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (then General Board of Christian Social Concerns) in 1961, he and the family relocated to the Washington DC area. He was in charge of the Board's Division of General Welfare and also served as Director of the Division's Department of Social Health.
Dale and family moved back to New England in 1969 where he served as pastor of the East Greenwich RI UMC. Dale served on many boards, including the Board of Directors of the RI Association for Mental Health and the Board of Ministry and the Commission on World Service & Finance of the Annual Conference (So. New England). He also served as president of the East Greenwich Clergy Association. During that time, Dale was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Boston University. As Bishop James K. Mathews, UMC bishop in the Boston area, told Dale at the convocation: "Your clarity of thought, your intrepid, redemptive positions on issues of human development and survival, and your skill in communication have aroused admiration in colleagues and friends." Dale served as District Superintendent of the RISEM District before being elected a Bishop in the United Methodist Church at the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 1976.
Dale served as bishop in the United Methodist Church from 1976-84 in New Jersey and from 1984 to his retirement in 1992 in the New York Area, which included New York, Vermont, Western CT and Puerto Rico. During his years in the episcopacy, he traveled extensively to Africa, China, the Philippines, Korea, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Middle East, South America and Central America, studying world hunger and peace and justice issues. In the early months of the Iran hostage crisis, Dale was part of a seven-member U.S. delegation that traveled to Iran in hopes of helping the situation by reaffirming and restoring friendship between the American and Iranian peoples. Dale fought against apartheid with Bishop Tutu of South Africa. He was also a strong advocate for civil rights in the US, preaching and marching alongside many other religious leaders fighting for social justice.
As a fierce advocate for peace and justice, Bishop White tackled some of the big issues of recent decades — nuclear disarmament, environmental concerns and Middle East peace. He led the UMC Council of Bishops in the church-wide study, "In Defense of Creation: The Nuclear Crisis and a Just Peace" in 1986, a mobilization of the denomination against the continuing nuclear arms race. He was a delegate to the World Council of Churches' Consultation on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation in Seoul, Korea in 1990. He was a delegate also to the UNCED Conference, the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. He was Director of the Women's Division and the World Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, 1984-92, chairing the Africa/Europe/Middle East regional committee. Retiring in 1992, he served for two years as coordinator of the Organic Gardening Project at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville TN, and for four years as coordinator of the Africa Advocacy Program of the World Division. Dale summarized these initiatives in his book, "Making a Just Peace: Human Rights & Domination Systems" (Abingdon Press, 1998). According to Bishop William Boyd Grove, Dale was instrumental in establishing the Mission for Peace with Young People in the Northeastern Jurisdiction, which sponsors an annual trip to allow students to see and do mission. "That's had an enormous impact on a lot of young people who are now leaders of the church," Grove commented.
With all of Dale's involvement on the world stage, he was an Iowa farmer at heart, a caretaker of the earth, and a talented gardener who was devoted to the creation of community gardens as part of his ministry to the poor. In 1997 he established the Methodist Community Gardens located at Calvary UMC in Middletown RI. Thanks to the joint project of Calvary, St Paul's UMC in Newport RI and the Portsmouth RI UMC, and coordinator Linda Wood and her dedicated team of other volunteers, they have donated 22 ½ tons (45,000 lbs.) of food in the past 11 years. June – Sep, it is distributed through four farm stands FREE to anyone in need and senior citizens. Nov – Feb, the winter harvest is donated to local food pantries. The many flowers grown are distributed to nursing home residents. Dale was hopeful that the success of this endeavor would inspire other such projects!
Dale is survived by his children: Hazel (Leland) Lescalleet of Newark OH; Rebecca (John) Blair of Hebron NH, and Tura Beach, Australia; David (Beth) White of Gouldsboro ME; Teresa (Daniel) Kuczynski of Salisbury VT; and Lisa (Robert) Greer of Jacksonville TX; and by a brother, Joe White of Iowa Falls IA. He also is survived by seven grandchildren, John Tracy, Chris Tracy, Matt Blair, Kate White, Eve White, Sean Pendl, and Karina Lucia; 12 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his spouse, Gwendolyn Ruth White (2017); son Gerald Wesley White (1998); his sisters Elva, Ruth and Roberta; his brothers Dellus, Daniel and Jerry; and his parents Daniel Columbus White and Anna Francis (Holladay) White.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Bishop C. Dale White will be held on June 1, 2019 at 11:00 am at the Sudbury United Methodist Church, 251 Old Sudbury Rd, Sudbury MA. Clergy are invited to robe with white stoles for the processional. Clergy should gather in the chapel by 10:30 a.m.
Condolences can be sent to the family in care of his daughter, Teresa Kuczynski, at PO Box 153, Salisbury VT 05769.