Amherst Magazine

David O. White '43

David O. White '43 died June 10, 2010.
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DAVID OLDS WHITE ’43

David Olds White died on June 10, 2010. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Janice, and their sons, John and David, all in Eugene, Ore., and his son, Benjamin, in Bethesda, Md.

David attended Monson (Mass.) Academy before enrolling at Amherst in 1939. He was admitted on a scholarship, played soccer and was a member of the Lord Jeff Club. He majored in history and graduated early to join the war effort.

During WWII, he trained with the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale in Colorado. He was deployed to Alaska and later to Guam, Iwo Jima and New Caledonia.

Following the war, while teaching at Girard College in Philadelphia, he married his childhood sweetheart, Janice Russell, of Easthampton, Mass. They moved west, where David enrolled in an M.A. education program at the University of Oregon. His commitment to education took him to Munich, Germany, in 1956 on a Fulbright scholarship to study the indoctrination of the youth during the Third Reich. His own inclination led him to develop democratic and egalitarian educational techniques. This did not always sit well with his employers. While working as an administrator at an American school, the post commander characterized his program of trying to bridge the cultural gap between American and German children a “fraternization with the enemy.” Shortly thereafter, the family returned to the United States.

He completed his Ph.D. in the history of education in 1972 and returned to Munich on a senior Fulbright. Ten years of teaching sixth grade in Eugene followed. He retired in 1982 but continued writing, attempting to convey his insights, encouraging curiosity and passion but avoiding the destructiveness of competitive extremes. He emphasized both theory and application, but while successful in the classroom, he remained unsatisfied with translating his efforts into literary form.

—Monty Hankin ’43

—John White

 

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