Maryline 'Whitie' White
Maryline "Whitie" White
On March 9, the day before her 94th birthday, Maryline White (known as “Whitie” to many), passed peacefully from life at the moment she was ready. All who knew her will recognize that she was in charge till the end!
Maryline was born in Dayton, Ohio to Robert and Elise White. Her family moved to the Detroit area when she was about five years old, living in the city and eventually moving to Bloomfield Hills as family fortunes rose. She attended Denison University for a year, but became impatient to begin working, and secured her first job in journalism as a “copyboy” at the Pontiac Press. She delivered trays of type and cups of coffee, while always seeking to become a reporter. She knew she had fully achieved that goal when her editor called her in the middle of the night, shouting, “White! Get down here! We need you to write a story!” That story was the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Maryline moved to Cleveland with her parents, and was assistant military editor at the Cleveland News, but on a subsequent move to Manhattan, she discovered few newspapers had any use for a “girl reporter.” Resourcefully, she put her writing skills to work by beginning a 20-year career at Young & Rubicam (Y & R), an international advertising agency.
Her wish to serve during the war led to possible desk assignments in the WACS or the WAVES, but she longed to be in the action. Life was an adventure, and she was determined to be in the middle of it all. Her dream to serve in Europe came true with a one-year assignment in the Red Cross, where she was assigned to Patton’s Third Army, driving a half-ton Club Mobile across southern France and Germany to bring coffee, doughnuts, and conversation to American GIs. Like everyone, she worked for weeks on duty in the field, but was able to utilize her time off to explore the wartime world. She traveled far and wide to learn about the locals’ experience of invasion and Naziism, even attending a day of the Nuremberg trials. Of course, she also enjoyed perfecting her downhill skiing in the Alps.
Upon her return to New York and her career, Maryline briefly married a fellow Y & R employee, but the marriage did not last. Widening her horizons in New York included discovering a lifelong passion for jazz, Broadway shows, and sports cars, as well as meeting the love of her life, Louise Shangle. In their first 10 years together, they founded and successfully sold an inn and a restaurant, traveled the western U.S. in their Airstream trailer, learned to pan for gold, raised and showed Scottish terriers, and found sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous.
Maryline and Louise eventually settled in Goose Rocks Beach, Maine, where Maryline returned to journalism. As investigative reporter, education editor, political reporter and columnist, she garnered three Associated Press awards during her time with the Biddeford-Saco Journal, the Maine Sunday Telegram and the Portland Press Herald. She retired in 1984, to immerse herself in local politics, as well as environmental work to save marshes, green spaces, and wetlands in southern Maine communities.
After Louise’s death in 1999, Maryline began to consider the rest of her life. Her love of the West and wish to be near family were pivotal in her eventual decision to move to Ashland in 2004. Here she joined committees at her Mountain Meadows community, as well as contributing time to Equamore Foundation, JPR, and SOPTV, Basic Rights Oregon, the Democratic Party, and more. Along with a busy social life of new friends, jazz, and Camelot Theatre, she joined a women’s writers group to help her work on her memoirs.
Friendly, curious, and outgoing, with a vibrant and unique outlook on life, Maryline will be missed by her many friends and family. Her survivors include nieces Caroline (Nancy), Mayo, and Barbara (Bob), and nephews Rob (Terri), Riley (Laura), Hutton (Melody), and Evan (Maria), as well as 10 great nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her two sisters, Mayo and Bobbie.
Donations may be made in Maryline’s memory to Equamore Foundation, Southern Oregon Humane Society, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Asante Ashland Hospice. A celebration of life will be held at the Mountain Meadows Clubhouse in Ashland, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm Saturday, April 11. All are welcome to bring reminiscences, enjoy light refreshments, and no doubt, share some laughter and tall tales.