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Sarah Lee White

1991883Sarah Lee White, 96, passed away on March 3, 2013 in Ennis, surrounded by family. The daughter of Sallie Dunning Beaman and John Branch Beaman, Lee, as she was known to friends and family, was born July 28th, 1916, in Lunenberg County, Virginia. She grew up in Norfolk as part of a large, loving, and faith-centered family. Always active in her church and with education; one of Lee’s fondest memories was the year of Episcopal Mission work as a teenager on Tanners Ridge in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Dunning Family helped found the small town of Aulander, North Carolina in Bertie County. Her Grandmother Lizzie Lee Tayloe-Dunning created a family based seven piece orchestra of classical instruments. It eventually became known as the Aulander Orchestra, which was part of Lee’s musical heritage. At age 10 she was playing the piano in church and by age fifteen she was accompanying her Aunt Eby and Uncle Walter with classical duets. Lee became a first soprano soloist about this time, but the Great Depression limited her progression into required classical professional training. None the less, she continued to sing with her beautiful voice into her seventies.At sixteen, she developed rheumatic fever and spent more than a year in bed studying her mother’s college texts and the Classics. After this period, her doctors informed her that she must stay in bed the rest of her life, that she would be dead by twenty-one and that she could never have children. She recovered from her heart problems by swimming two miles a day in the ocean against every doctor’s advice. In the meantime she was receiving a college based liberal arts education. She remained an avid reader, and in 1953 returned to formal education, when she audited and then was admitted, after structured class debates, to study under world renowned Theologian James I McCord, in graduate school at Austin’s Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Those 12 hours allowed her to attend Freeport Junior College, from which she graduated in 1965. She entered Northern Illinois University and graduated in 1967. She accomplished this as a minister’s wife with six children, while commuting eighty miles a day. Soon after graduating, she moved with her family to Ennis and taught second grade at Travis Elementary until her retirement. Lee met her future husband, Haves R. White, in Norfolk, where he was working as a machinist-tool maker in the naval shipyard during World War ll. They married on January 29, 1942 and resided in Ahoskie, North Carolina in the post-war years. In 1950 they relocated to Austin with their young family to pursue his calling to the ministry. Following his ordination in 1955, the ministry led them to Calvert, Belton, and Rockford, Illinois, where Lee also earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Northern Illinois University. They moved to Ennis in 1967 where Haves became minister at the First Presbyterian Church of Ennis and Lee began teaching at Travis Elementary School. Throughout their years together in the ministry, Lee remained active in Church education and the choir programs. Their marriage was a fifty-nine year love affair. Lee is survived by sons Reynolds, Gilbert, and Roger; daughters Betsy and Jenny; and one sister, Ellen; 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by husband Haves, son Hunter, six brothers, and three sisters. The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to her church, prayer group and other wonderful friends. Visitation will be March 6, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in the J.E. Keever Mortuary of Ennis. Services are scheduled for Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. in the First Presbyterian Church of Ennis. Life and Death By Sarah Lee White Life and death goes on While we sit here and mourn And greeting our new born, As the old has passed away, And the new begins its day. As the old meets his maker, The new begins his task To live a life well spent – For the purpose he was meant. So when the new becomes old, And he has met his goal, That was the Makers intent, A life lived well spent. www.jekeevermortuary.com

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Posted by on Mar 6 2013. Filed under Obituaries. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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