How many young people in Duchesne learned how to dance – square dancing, ballroom dancing, line dancing – from Mrs. White in elementary school? How many young people in Duchesne learned to be more responsible for their own actions by interacting with Mrs. White in elementary school?
I must admit, there were times that I was a little scared of Mrs. White. She could be a little sharp with her words and firm in her expectations, especially for a carefree young boy. Not once, however, did I doubt that she cared about me and all the other students at school. A person can’t work that hard at their job and not love the people they serve.
When I was on the “dance team” in sixth grade, one of my favorite things was to see her smile or hear her offer praise to us after we had done well at a dance. Praises and smiles came only after work, practice, correction, and more instruction. Her passion and high expectations pushed me to work harder and to expect more of myself.
And who didn’t love to see Mrs. White riding around town on her scooter?
It wasn’t until high school, however, that I got to know her at a personal level. At Church, I was assigned to be home teaching companions with her husband Chuck. He was just starting to get active in the Church and I was assigned to show him how to be a home teacher. Spending time with Chuck was a treat for me. He had a wonderful sense of humor and great stories about working all over the Basin and the Mountain West. It was great to listen to him visit and share stories with the families we were assigned to visit. We even had the privilege of working together for two summers at the school district. One day, after I had graduated from high school and before I left on my mission, we were assigned to tear out a bathroom at Union High School. The school year had just started. It was time to carry a toilet out of the bathroom and throw in the back of our truck, but it was in between classes. I told Chuck that we should wait until everyone was back in the classroom.
He smiled and said, “No, let’s do it now.”
So I was on the front side of that heavy, industrial toilet with the front of the bowl tucked right up under my chin. We stepped out into the hallway, completely full of students and faculty. I endured the shocked and teasing comments in good cheer, until I saw a girl that I spent time with at a dance a week or two before. She looked right at me, she recognized me and her face contorted in disgust. I never asked her out.
One Sunday, after Chuck and I were home teaching companions for a bit, Mrs. White pulled me aside to tell me thank you for being friends with her husband. I wasn’t sure what to say, but I assured her that it was an honor for me. She then invited me to come by their home sometime to visit.
Over the course of my last year of high school I did just that a handful of times. Usually it was just for a dessert on a Sunday afternoon. It also turned out that all three of us liked Ray Stevens, so we spent an afternoon watching their collection of Ray Stevens VHS tapes. They told me about their family, about Chuck’s work in the oil field, about their family vacations. Chuck even once called to confide in me a problem he was having and asked me, a seventeen year old kid for advice. They listened as I discussed plans for college and a mission and my dating life.
I was saddened to learn of Mrs. White's passing this week. I was blessed to get to know Chuck and her so well. All of us were blessed for knowing Arloa and Chuck White.
Blackburn Vernal Mortuary
Arloa Woolley White
September 11, 1940 ~ November 17, 2017
September 11, 1940 ~ November 17, 2017
On November 17, 2017, we lost our dearly devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Arloa was born on September 11, 1940, to Arlo and Stella Wooley in Vernal, Utah. After being raised in Rangley, Colorado, she married Charles (Chuck) White on December 21, 1957. She traveled all over the western US with Chuck's work, until settling in Duchesne, Utah in 1971. She touched many children's lives while working as the elementary secretary and teaching dance. After retiring in 2000, her and Chuck traveled all over the country in a motorhome for 11 years, finally settling in a new home in Stansbury Park, Utah. She loved to sing karaoke, and teach line dancing to her friends. She is survived by her children; Rick (Debbie) White; San Antonio, Texas; Arla (Mark) Liebmann, of Stansbury Park, Utah; 7 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren, and numerous relatives and friends, including siblings sister, Connie (Bill) Bankster, of Grand Junction, Colorado; Leon (Jenny) Wooley, of Rifle, Colorado; Gwen (Les) Wilson, of Pasco, Washington. She was preceded in death by her parents, and brother, Art Wooley. Funeral services will be conducted on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 11 a.m. at the Blackburn and Sons Vernal Mortuary. A viewing will be held Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. and one hour prior to the services. Burial will be in Maeser Fairview Cemetery, under the care and direction of the Blackburn and Sons Vernal Mortuary.