August 2, 1934 - January 16, 2021

 

Clarence L. White went home to the Lord in the early morning hours of Friday, January 16, 2021.

Clarence moved to St. Cloud Minnesota in 1962 from his native New Orleans. His first thought after getting off the train in the north on a well-below zero, snow-filled sky day was that another winter would not find him there. He had come for a job at the VA Hospital in town as a Kineseotherapist. Soon after, he married his college sweetheart Willie Mae Young.

After his Kinesiotherapist training, he was to be assigned to a VA somewhere in the country, and when he asked his soon-to-be bride whether he should take the job in far-off St. Cloud, Minnesota, she said yes. The man from New Orleans would spend the rest of his life in that community.

He worked at the VA until the beginning of 1997. Soon after arriving in town, he began coaching football and basketball, coaching football for nearly three decades. He also served in many capacities in his church and community. His job and his volunteer avocations were just a few places where he applied his ministry over a six-decade span.

Clarence was born in New Orleans, LA on August 2, 1934. He played football there at Booker T. Washington High School and won a scholarship to play football at Xavier University in New Orleans. He became captain of the football team before he was drafted into the United States Army.

After his Honorable Discharge from the Army, he returned to Xavier to finish his degree. After graduation, he completed his Kinesiotherapy training at Tuskegee Institute before accepting an assignment at the St. Cloud VA.

Over the years, Clarence has been involved in numerous civic, church and community efforts where his impact is still felt in the lives of his neighbors. His work includes serving as President of the St. Cloud chapter of the NAACP, serving as a member of the board of the first St. Cloud Human Rights Commission, serving on the Deacon Board and as an Elder at Calvary Baptist (Calvary Community) Church, taught Sunday school, and belonged to several ecuminical Bible studies in town. He worked with New Beginnings, was a member of the Twin Cities Reel and Trigger Club, and was a board member of the first YMCA in St. Cloud. He was a winner of the Mayor’s High Five Award. Clarence was recognized on several occasions by colleagues and administration for his above-and-beyond work at the VA. He worked as a volunteer football, basketball and baseball coach at Holy Spirit school, Calvary and in the local Babe Ruth league, helping young people in many capacities, and serving in many other ways as he walked through his community with neighbors, friends, immediate and extended family, and strangers.

Clarence was a frequent guest speaker at churches and schools in the St. Cloud area. It was a common occurrence when he would be walking down the street in St. Cloud and he would be stopped by a former patient from the VA or someone who he coached and they would express to him how he changed their lives. He was a father figure for many in his avocational work and a healer to others.

Clarence is survived by his wife, Willie Mae; his sister, Eunice Thompson (Jesse) of Cerritos, CA; son, Clarence White, Saint Paul; daughter, Charlotte Ashanti (Malachi), Brooklyn Park; son, Michael White, Southfield, MI; daughter, Jennifer Boyce (Jesse), Chicago; grandson, Sidney Carlson White, and granddaughters, Kamarah Ashanti and Nyah Ashanti.

A small memorial will be held for family in the coming week, but, Lord and social conditions willing, a remembrance for the community will be held on Clarence’s birthday, August 2, 2021. Please mark your calendar and join this celebration.