Betty Jane (Neukom) White (1927 - 2017)

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Betty Jane Neukom White, Ph.D., 89, died on July 3, 2017, in Oklahoma City after a brief battle with leukemia. She was born in Denver on Aug. 14, 1927, to Julia Callan Coffey and Robert Lincoln Neukom. In 1929, the family moved to Indiana, first to Indianapolis then finally settling in Aurora. Betty graduated from Aurora HS in 1945.
The family moved back to her beloved Denver where she attended the University of Denver, graduating in 1949 with a bachelor of science in chemistry. She was a member of the Iota Sigma Pi National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry and Sigma Xi. She was a graduate fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.
Betty was a research scientist at CU's School of Medicine in Denver. In 1952, she married Roger Lee White, an artist and professor from Shelby, Ohio. They moved to Oklahoma City in 1956. She continued her career in research at the University of Oklahoma and served as an assistant professor. In 1964, she finished her master of science degree in biochemistry, followed by a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology in 1972. She retired from the Toxicology Department of Children's Hospital in 1994. She authored or co-authored more than 25 publications in scientific journals & books.
In 1959, Betty and Roger began construction of their cabin in Clear Creek County. He painted the majestic scenery and historic buildings, and she fished the beautiful lakes and streams. Many friends and family visited the cabin over the years.
She loved fishing, sports and Colorado. Spending time at her cabin, observing local wildlife and fly-fishing for trout were her favorite pastimes. She was a member of the American Chemical Society and the Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. Betty was a 20-year volunteer for the Department of Wildlife, where she taught youth how to fish.
Betty is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Julia White Muskrat and husband, Frank Muskrat, Jr., grandson Franklin "Chip" Muskrat III, all of Oklahoma City; sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, many cousins, her Aurora classmates, extended family, and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Robert Edward Neukomm, and her husband. Betty will be buried in Denver, following a celebration of life in Oklahoma City.
Published in Clear Creek Courant on Aug. 2, 2017
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