Gwendolyn "Gwen" Ruth White, age 92 of Concord, MA, formerly of Newport, RI, passed away peacefully on Monday, March 27, 2017 at Rivercrest Wellness & Rehab in Concord MA.
Gwendolyn "Gwen" White was born on October 24, 1924 in South Sioux City, Nebraska to Rev. Samuel N. Horton of North Shields, England and Nellie (Welch) Horton of Valentine, Nebraska. Gwen graduated from Belden HS in Nebraska with national music honors in voice and composition. Gwen was a musician at heart. In addition to being a beautiful singer, she played piano, organ, violin, snare drum and timpani. She played drums in an all-female dance band during World War II.
Gwen attended Wayne State Teachers College in Nebraska, Buena Vista College in Iowa, Morningside College in Iowa, and Colorado State College of Education. In 1944, she received her Teacher's Certificate from the State of Iowa and began teaching High School English and Music in Nemaha, Iowa. There she met the love of her life, C. Dale White, and they married on August 25, 1946. She moved to New England where Dale served churches in Newport RI, Hingham Ma and Stoughton MA, while obtaining a PhD at Boston University School of Theology. When Dale accepted a position at the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society in 1960, Gwen and family relocated to the Washington DC area where she was involved in school tutorial programs and the music program at Annandale UMC. After moving to East Greenwich RI, Gwen continued to work with children as staff assistant to a Title I program in area schools. She was also a member of the New Jersey Area Task Force on Child Advocacy for the United Methodist Women of that state.
From the beginning of their ministry, Gwen played a leading role in church music programs, playing the organ, singing, and directing choirs. After Dale was elected UMC Bishop in 1976, they lived in the Princeton NJ area for eight years, then in the New York area for eight years. During Dale's years in the episcopacy, she traveled extensively with him to Africa, China, the Philippines, Korea, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Middle East, studying world hunger and peace and justice issues.
Gwen has served on the Commission on the Status & Role of Women in the So. New England Conference, the No. New Jersey Task Force on Spiritual Formation, the New York Conference Task Force on Spiritual Formation, and was a delegate to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 1976. Gwen was an Honorary Board Member of Ehwa Women's University in South Korea, and she served for two years as Director of Spiritual Formation on the staff of Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville TN.
Gwen pursued her calling as a leader of workshops on communication skills, spiritual disciplines, spirituality of children and family, journaling and intergenerational education and ministries. She has taught in Regional and Conference Schools of Christian Mission, and written for Methodist publications and an ecumenical publication for clergy spouses. Gwen was a nationally known retreat leader for over 25 years and a member of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance. She completed a two-year program in Gestalt Pastoral Care led by Tilda Norberg. She also shared leadership with Dale in seminars for clergy on marriage and ministry, and spiritual formation. In 2015, Gwen received a Lifetime of Discipleship Award from the Preachers' Aid Society of New England in honor of her many decades of service to the UMC in New England and throughout the world.
Gwen is survived by her husband, C. Dale White of Concord, MA; her 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 Remde of Jacksonville TX; her grand-children: John Tracy, Chris Tracy, Matt Blair, Kate White, Eve White, Sean Pendl, and Karina Lucia; and her 10 wonderful great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.
She is predeceased by her parents Samuel and Nellie Horton, brother Lloyd Horton and son Gerald W White.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to any of the following in memory of Gwen:
Preachers' Aid Society of New England
51 Charles Wesley Court
Wells ME 04090
Spiritual Life Center at Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Center
660 Great Pond Road
No. Andover MA 01845
Amnesty International USA
322 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
St. Joseph's Indian School
P.O. Box 326
Chamberlain, SD 57326