Cover photo for William Dean White's Obituary
William Dean White Profile Photo
1937 William "Bill" Dean White 2023

William Dean White

March 10, 1937 — September 29, 2023

Independence

 

The community of Independence lost an icon on Friday, September 29th with the passing of William (Bill) Dean White, 86.  Bill, as he was familiarly known, was well-known in local circles for operating a successful real estate business, being a civic leader and an avid golfer.

 

Bill was born on March 10, 1937, in Morehead, Kansas to Virgil and Ruby (Nielson) White. He attended schools in Chanute, KS and graduated in 1955. During his high school years, he was as a multi-sport star and letterman. He led the Comets to an SEK championship and back-to-back trips to the state tournament, including a third-place finish in 1955.

 

After high school, he played football and basketball for Independence Community College, where he excelled and earned Eastern Division All-Star. He then took his scholastic and athletic ability to Baker University where he earned his undergraduate degree and continued his multi-sport career.  Bill lettered for two years in three sports – football, basketball, and track. “Whitey” played quarterback and led the Wildcats to the 1958 conference championship. He was named to the All-Methodist All-American first team and was a second-team all-conference pick in basketball. He was inducted into the Baker University Hall of Fame in 2010 where his entire family witnessed one of his proudest accomplishments.  

 

He attended Pittsburg State where he received his master’s degree. He achieved his EDS from Emporia State.

 

Bill’s professional career began teaching at Moran High School where he also held his first coaching position. He then earned the position as principal and coach at Horton High School. A move to Independence allowed him to become the head coach of Independence High School Basketball where he led the Bulldogs to a state berth in 1967. He then became head coach at Independence Junior College in 1969 and ushered in two of the most exciting years in Pirate history. Bill coached the 1970 Bucs to the Region VI title.

 

He married his childhood sweetheart and lifelong partner Marie Grogan on August 26, 1956, in Chanute, Kansas.  They celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary on August 26, 2023. This enduring love was a match made in heaven as he was the football star, and she was the homecoming queen. They were blessed with three children: Sally, Tim and Janelle White.

 

In 1977, Bill’s real estate professional career led him and Marie to found Bill White Real Estate. Part of his distinguished accolades include serving on four state committees and residing as President of the Independence Board of Realtors. In 2023, Bill White Real Estate celebrated 46 years of successful and acclaimed business. Bill was active in many Civic activities which included Chairman of Independence Community Chest, served multiple time as President of Independence Optimist Club and President of the American Red Cross Board. Bill was a man of great faith and had a deep relationship with the Lord. He attended the First Christian Church in Independence.

 

Bill as an avid sportsman. Since 1965, He and Marie have been dedicated and cherished long-standing members of Independence Country Club. You could find him on the golf course rain or shine, zero degrees to 110 degrees. He attained seven hole in ones! He fulfilled his life-long dream of playing the Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland and where he received a private tour of the clubhouse from a St. Andrews R&A member. Later in life he became an astute collector of left-handed wooden shaft clubs which he played with in several tournaments. He also loved to take to the basketball court where there was no such thing as a foul (in his mind). He loved teaching his grandchildren, as well many other Independence youth to all his favorite sports.

 

Bill will be remembered as a devoted family man and Grandpa who loved to share and retell his   football glory days – play by play, would love to hunt for golf balls in any terrain and that he would take time and demonstrate a genuine interest in every single person he encountered no matter their walk of life. Everyone who knew Bill will feel a loss with his passing.

 

Those left to cherish his memory include Daughter Sally (Dr. Charles) Calabrese, Uniontown PA, Son, Tim (Cindy) White, Independence, KS and Daughter Janelle (Scott) Leonard, Bartlesville, OK, nine grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his two beloved older brothers:  Don White and Robert White. 

 

Visitation will be held at Webb & Rodrick Funeral Home on Thursday, October 5 from 5:00 – 7:00pm. Funeral service will be at the First Christian Church (319 W. Laurel St.) Independence, KS on Friday October 6th at 1:00pm. Reception following the service at the Independence Country Club.

 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Bill White Independence Country Club Beautification Project in c/o Commercial Bank. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Dean White, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, October 5, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Webb & Rodrick Chapel & Crematory

306 W Main St, Independence, KS 67301

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Celebration of Life

Friday, October 6, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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