Robert White
Robert White

Obituary of Robert White

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Obituary of Robert White Bob was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 9, 1933. When he was eight, his family moved to the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. Bob was never idle and he was always thinking of ways to be productive and work. One of his first jobs was working at Quimby Movie Theaters, which operated three theaters in Fort Wayne. He also had a paper route and worked at Gus’s Frozen Custard where he delivered tasty treats via roller skates. Bob graduated from New Haven High School in 1951 and joined the U.S. Naval Reserve at the age of 18. He moved to Chicago and got a scholarship to attend the School of the Chicago Art Institute and he was also attending the University of Chicago. He also got a job in Bakery Flour Sales, covering a five state area for General Mills. In 1958, Bob was called to active duty with the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was assigned to the USS Franklin Delano Roosevelt CVA42 aircraft carrier. He served in the Atlantic Fleet where he worked in the legal office and his specific assignment was as the Captain’s talker on the bridge of the ship. He loved his time in the Navy. He ended his service with an honorable discharge in 1961. He attended Cook County Hospital School of Nursing and graduated from South Chicago Community Hospital School of Nursing on September 9, 1964. Two months later he became a Registered Professional Nurse by the State of Illinois Department of Registration and Education. He began his nursing career at the La Rabida Sanatorium for children (now known as La Rabida Children’s Hospital) in the terminal rheumatoid medical department. He was then made Director of Nursing Staff. From there he went to work for Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Illinois as a charge nurse over the orthopedic and neurological floors. Bob also worked for Dr. Norman Tepper, an ophthalmologist in Chicago. He was the office manager and scrubbed in with him for surgery. Bob became one of the first PAs in Chicago. Later, Bob was recruited by Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles. He traveled there to check it out. During the same trip he stopped in Austin, Texas to visit a friend who worked for the Austin State Hospital. Bob had taken postgraduate courses in Psychiatric Nursing and, unknown to Bob, his friend had set up an interview for him at The Austin State Hospital and State School. Bob was offered a job at the State School and he accepted the title of Director of Staff Education. He traveled all over the state of Texas in that position. From there he went to work for the Department of Mental Health and Retardation (MHMR) for 15 years. Then he took a position at Seton Medical Center under the administration of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Bob was the first RN hired at the West 38th Street location. He became Assistant V.P. of Operations and was in charge of many projects that he loved, including:

 The establishment of the Emergency Department

 The establishment of the Neonatal Unit.

 Bringing Helicopters to the Hospital

 Architectural and Planning Department

 Administration of Food Services, Maintenance, and Housekeeping

From there Bob returned to the State School and bought back his retirement and helped set up a Home Health Care Agency. He officially retired in 1998. He became very active in our brand new subdivision, The Villages of Shady Hollow. He was the first homeowner Board Member and was very instrumental in the development of the community. For many years he was also active in the Austin Elections Division, serving as Judge, Deputy, and Clerk. He loved the meeting and greeting of so many fellow Austinites. Among many other interests, in 1974 Bob also received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from St. Edwards University. The next part is more personal, but such an important part of our lives together that I want to share it with you. This was written by Bob, so it is directly from him. I don’t know the date he wrote it, but that does not matter. Just about everything I had an interest in, Bob was also interested in, because he loved almost all forms of art, was very knowledgeable and was an artist himself. He was extremely supportive of me. I loved art, but more as a collector. One of the most wonderful things that happened to us was collecting paperweights. So here are Bob’s own words of one of our most life-changing events.


Paperweights are an evolution in my fine arts appetite. My interest developed in a red brick two-room school with a bell on top, and an outhouse and a horse tied out back. While the teachers taught one of the other grades, the rest of us did whatever, as long as it was quiet. Coming from a big Chicago school, I was a foreigner in a new land with no end of things to record in drawings. I didn’t get sent to the cloak closet for doodling nor for not knowing how to flush the outhouse. I even rode horses at recess. What fun this move from city to the country! My art desire broadened. I won a few scholastic art awards and then a scholarship to the Fort Wayne Art School. I taught a class for children and parents on weekends and worked as an assistant curator (flunky) in an Art Museum and attended Indiana/Purdue University Extension for academic courses. I also worked as a parttime floral designer in a local shop. After completing the two-year program, I won a scholarship to the School of the Chicago Art Institute. I continued behavioral science studies at the University of Chicago. I was interested in using art as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool for children with behavioral problems. I have steeped in all the arts the big city offered a young adult. What fun this move from the country back to the city! School, partying, and work took their toll. I was broke, got sick and lost my hair, and had to find a full-time job and put a hold on things. I continued my scholarship studies at the Art Institute and discovered I was good at retail sales at Marshall Field & Co. After the Art Institute, I did some freelance illustrating for publishing companies. From there I went to work for General Mills in Bakery Flour Sales and Management. I became the “Betty Crocker” of Chicago. That is, I responded to calls and letters addressed to the fictitious trademark. From there I was drafted into the U.S. Navy for the Korean Police Action—War! I rode it out on the aircraft carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt as a Legal Specialist. (I had passed Military Justice School by unknowingly taking the entrance and final exam in one sitting.) Fortunately, the ship was assigned to the Mediterranean and North Atlantic without a battle. This was my first real exposure to the arts and architecture of Europe and the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. What fun for a would-be artist to experience the history of his field! Upon returning from service, I decided the bakery flour and cereal business was not compatible with my fine art and behavioral science goals. I used my GI bill and continued my studies at Chicago and Northwestern University in Social/Psych and added the physical aspects of human existence by taking a course in professional nursing. With scholarships, I studied at Cook County Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago and graduated from South Chicago Hospital School of Nursing. I did postgraduate work at Illinois State Psychiatric Institute and got to work with the famous Bruno Bettelheim and his work with autistic adolescents. (David & Lisa Movie) I got involved with the development of the new field of art in psychiatry. With experience in teaching, sales, accounting, marketing, and military leadership and as a more mature male in the field, I moved rapidly into the management ranks in health care. I credit my experience and education to knowing and using the creative processes learned in art school. After being in the middle of Detroit burning in 1965, being robbed, mugged, and witnessing subway stabbings in Chicago, and the blizzard of 1966, I decided to pursue something in the cleaner, warmer, less crowded West. Cedars of Lebanon Hospital offered a great position just after the Watts riots. I said no thanks to jumping from the frying pan into the fire. I stopped in Austin to visit friends, got recruited to the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. In late 1967, I packed what I could in the car, sold everything else and migrated to Central Texas, and became a Mental Health Professional and educator for 13 years. During that time I finished another degree and did graduate work in Business Administration. I had a one-man painting show at Yarings in Austin where I sold several paintings and got a huge ego boost. What fun for a city slicker to come to cowboy country without snow shoveling! I left the state service to go back to general health care with the Daughters of Charity Health Services System and soon became a Hospital Administrator at Seton Medical Center. Because I was the only administrator with both patient care and a fine arts background, and who could read blueprints (thanks to Dad), I was given the hospital to remodel, redecorate and expand to neighborhoods. I introduced fine arts to patients’ rooms and public areas with healing designs and colors. Art and Associations with artistic individuals were back in my life again. I did the hospital bit for 14 years and was retired. I returned to State service for a short time so I could retire from that career too. I helped start a home health agency in Austin and then fully retired from the health care and mental health business. Much fun and relief to be away from the ailing and sick business. My first paperweight, a gift, was a crystal multi-faceted orb without the bees. It was added to my small collection of varied objet d’art. My favorite art periods are Impressionists, Post Impressionists, Cubism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, WPA and Arts & Crafts. In 1982, Carl introduced me to the renaissance of the Art Nouveau/Deco movement in glass vases and the beautiful iridescent, fumed, surface-decorated paperweights. In 1986, I joined with Carl Carter, Harvey Jones, and George Grope to form the Paperweights Collectors Association of Texas. I was hospitalized at the time of the first meeting so I am not a charter member—just one of the founders. I became PCA TX Treasurer in 1993 when our previous treasurer became ill. Every phase of this growing interest has a peck of stories. What great fun to remember! Our collection growth and quality is matched by our growth in friends and acquaintances made through exploring the art of glass. We enjoy having our collections seen and enjoyed. A beautiful paperweight is certainly easier to display and transport than a painting and every bit as complex and beautiful. The one art form complements the other. ____________________________________________________________________________________

Bob is predeceased by his parents William R. White and Lillian Lauersdorf White; his mother and father-inlaw, Wanda and Jack Carter; sister Elizabeth Jane White Bitzinger; brother William R. White, Jr. Bob is survived by his husband of 39 years, Carl Carter, and many family members and dear friends, including: Lorraine Azevedo, Keith and Barbara Bitzinger, Gail Crann and Mark Muenze, Art and Joyce Elder, Ron and Evelyn Gauny, Don Warner, Elnora B. Webb and Nora Webb.

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Robert White

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Robert White

1933 - 2021

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