Cover photo for Charles A. White's Obituary
Charles A. White Profile Photo
1932 Charles 2023

Charles A. White

February 25, 1932 — July 28, 2023

Davenport Barrington

Charles A. White, distinguished English teacher at Barrington High School, who made a memorable impression on scores and scores of students, passed away July 28, 2023.  He was 91.


Mr. White was born in Lisle, IL on one of the original farms of what is now the Morton Arboretum.  His father worked for the growing Arboretum and his grandfather was one of Joy Morton’s primary propagators.  Son of Henry A. White and Josephine (van Gemert) White, he graduated from Downer’s Grove High School and from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana in 1954.  While at the University, he met and later married the love of his life, Jeanette Gilchrist from Peoria, IL. who survives him to this day.  The day after their marriage in 1955, the couple took the train from Chicago to New York City where they boarded the USNS General Simon Buckner and sailed across the Atlantic.  Mr. White was to report for a two-year stint with U. S. Army in Bamberg, Germany.  With a rank of 2nd Lieutenant, Mr. White quickly rose to 1st Lieutenant and led a front-line, combat-ready platoon.  The new Mrs. White was given a leave of absence from her position at Kraft Foods to accompany her husband and work remotely.  While stationed in Germany, the couple began a lifelong love affair of travel.  They visited Munich, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg, Switzerland, Florence, Venice, and Rome where they shared their acquired love of theater and opera, art and architecture, as well as concert music, snow skiing and ice skating.  A better tour of duty hardly could have been imagined.

Mr. White began his teaching career at Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights then came to Barrington High School in 1962.  Mr. White taught all levels of English at Barrington, but his specialty was the senior elective course, Major British Writers.  He was passionate about the writings of authors such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Geoffrey Chaucer, Samuel Beckett, T. S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, and, of course, William Shakespeare.  He developed and designed a “theater-in-the-round” room and had students recite, perform, and memorize important pieces of poetry, prose, and dramas.  Mr. White served as English Department Chairman during a particularly remarkable period of Barrington High School as he helped guide and shape the direction of the rapidly growing school.  During his career, Mr. White taught abroad several times, once on a Fulbright Exchange in England, as well as in Munich, Vienna, and at the American International School in Salzburg.

Mr. White provided a spark of inspiration and was co-founder of an innovative and award winning course, “Junior English and the Interrelated Arts”, still featured at Barrington High School.  As conceived by Mr. White, the course became a team-taught collaboration between the English and Art Departments.  Underlying philosophical connections were explored in American literature, art, architecture, theater, opera, and  even in Shakespeare.  It was his belief that such connections provided meaningful access for readings and writings in, particularly, American literature.  Students also learned to use the cultural environment of Chicago to attend live performances of dramas, symphonic music concerts, opera, and exhibitions, including an architectural walking tour snaking through Chicago’s Loop designed as a architectural treasure hunt.  Being an opera aficionado and expert, Mr. White took students to the Lyric Opera twenty-eight years in a row.  A natural and informed tour guide, he also took students abroad during many summers.  A list of former students is far too lengthy to mention, but many became dear friends and contacted him often long after they graduated.  Indeed, former students of his are all over the world and still consider themselves part of his “family.”  Many seemed proud to keep Mr. White appraised of their respective professional accomplishments.

Never one to hide his opinion, Mr. White served for many years in various volunteer community positions including the Barrington Area Library Board of Directors during a time of rapid growth.  He was particularly influential in the library expanding into an architecturally award-winning facility.

In addition to his teaching and his students, perhaps one of his proudest achievements was the collection of Native American paintings and sculptures that he and his wife managed to assemble over the latter decades of their life.  What began as ski trips to the Taos, New Mexico eventually included visits to art galleries in the Taos and Sante Fe area which then morphed into visits to artist’s studios.  The Whites forged many friendships with Native artists as they purchased art work that, in turn, encouraged the artists to keep working.  Mr. and Mrs. White were very aware that their support of Native artists contributed to a broader appreciation of Native communities as everyday life in many seem so dedicated to the arts. Their collection, mostly of work from 1960 to the present, has been the focus of several exhibitions most notably in Mrs. White’s hometown of Peoria, IL and at the Sangre de Cristo Art Center in Pueblo, Colorado at the very northern edge of the American southwest.  Eventually, their entire collection will be passed on to the Sangre de Cristo Art Center where it will remain as a cultural asset available for scholarly research, public exhibitions, and educational outreach programs.

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, September 14 with visitation from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a short service following at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 149 W Main St, Barrington, IL 60010.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Huntington Disease Society in Charles A. White’s name would be most appropriate and appreciated.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, September 14, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory

149 West Main Street, Barrington, IL 60010

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Starts at 5:00 pm (Central time)

Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory

149 West Main Street, Barrington, IL 60010

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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