Bill White’s favorite place, according to his son, Ron, was Bethel College. That comes as no surprise to those who knew him. For 42 years, Bill served on the board of trustees at Bethel, with stints dating back to the earliest days of the college. For 17 years, he was chairman of the board. “From the time I was born,” says Ron, “my family was deeply rooted in the school.”
Having grown up during the Depression, White started his business career during high school and didn’t graduate from college. He did, however, attend Indiana University’s South Bend campus and Notre Dame, becoming a student of everything he studied. White not only immersed himself in the Bible, but he also became a master of many hobbies he picked up, including antique clock restoration. In fact, he eventually became one of the area’s experts in the field.
The pursuit of education was a priority to White, and it was important to him that his children go to college. All three graduated from college, one from Bethel. White himself received an honorary doctorate from Bethel in 2004.
With an extensive background in the steel industry, including his years as co-owner, chairman of the board, and president of Farnsworth Steel, White was a wise and astute businessman. He brought a wealth of knowledge to the board during his tenure. During times of growth and challenge alike, White reminded those around him that they had a great God who was vitally interested in Bethel and that they could act in faith. After his passing in May, he was remembered by one of his friends as, “a man who brought the consummate blending of faith and fact to Bethel and was a tremendous presence on the board, serving with grace and gentleness.”