Burton David White
September 19, 1930 - February 14, 2021
Burton David White, 90, civil liberties advocate, journalist, labor organizer, mediator/arbitrator, friend and uncle, died Feb. 14 in Portland, OR of complications following a stroke. He was born Sept. 19, 1930 in Malden, MA to Louis White and Sara (Rosenberg) White.
After his service in the Army, Burton received both his BA and MA from Boston University and came to UC Berkeley to study for a PhD in Middle English. He played a leading role in the May, 1960 San Francisco demonstration against the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and the following year, as the head of Bay Area Student Committee for the Abolition of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (BASCAHUAC), led a nationwide tour of college campuses speaking out not only against the Committee but also their propaganda film, "Operation Abolition." In a comprehensive article, "Truth Leaps the Barricades," written for the 50th anniversary of the demonstration ( http://www.notinkansas.us/#Burton), he stressed that the demonstration and its tactics laid the groundwork for the UC Berkeley Free Speech Movement four years later.
In many ways one of a kind, Burton was a very private person and a man of strong principles. He joined the Public Affairs staff of Berkeley listener-sponsored radio station KPFA, covering the 1964 Free Speech Movement for the station. Many years later, while living in Oregon, Burton joined the KPFA Board from 2013 to 2016 and served as its Chair. Burton served as Director of Collective Bargaining for the California Nurses Assn., and after moving to Portland in 1979, as Director of Labor Relations for the Oregon Nurses Assn. and as adjunct faculty at the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center (LERC). Beginning in 1987, he served as an arbitrator and mediator in many bargaining, grievance, discrimination and other employment disputes.
For more than a dozen years, Burton relished his two-miles-a day walk with his black lab mix, Reba, who was the light of his life. Even after her passing in 2017, he pursued his daily "Reba Memorial Walk," often running into her dog friends and their humans, and most likely extending his health and life with the exercise.
Burton's family life was as rich as his amazing career. He enjoyed his East Coast family visits, during which he shared his joie de vivre, his great life experiences, his wit and his wonderful sense of humor. Burton was a Bon Vivant; a connoisseur of fine wines, teas and, especially, good food and cooking.
Burton is predeceased by his brother Alan M. White (2017), and is survived by his nephews Mark, Steven and Larry White, their wives Pascale, Cathy, Cyndy and grand nephews and nieces Sasha, Benjamin, Andy, and Emily, along with many loving friends to whom he left the legacy of creating change through action, perseverance, nonviolent resolution and objective communication. We are all the better for having known him, and the world is emptier without him. The family dogs Mowgli and Zsa Zsa will miss his endless raucous games.
In lieu of flowers or cards, donations can be made to his favorite park, the Summerlake Dog Park,
In Memory of Burton White
City of Tigard
13125 SW Hall Blvd.
Tigard, OR 97223
A memorial service will be held early in the Fall 2021 by his family in the Boston area, interested parties can contact the family through the listing of this notice on Legacy.com