Admiral Steven "Steve" Angelo WhiteRead More
Admiral Steven ("Steve") Angelo White, 92, of Charlottesville died peacefully in his sleep on Monday, February 1, 2021.
Born on September 18, 1928 in Los Angeles, California, Steve grew up in Tujunga with his parents, Croatian immigrant and retired policeman Steven George White (Stojan Sutalo) and Helen White (née Blanchard), his sister, and his two brothers.
Eager to serve his country during World War II, Steve unsuccessfully attempted to enlist while underage. Following early graduation from Verdugo Hills High School in 1946, he pursued studies via scholarship to Occidental College. In 1948, he joined the United States Navy Reserve as an enlisted seaman recruit. Soon after, he continued his studies via a Naval ROTC scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC). In 1951, he made the best decision of his entire life and married Mary Anne Landreau and commenced a (rapidly-growing) family.
As a commissioned officer, Steve served aboard the cruiser USS Manchester (CL-83) during the Korean War. In 1953, he entered the submarine program and served aboard the diesel submarine USS Tang (SS-563). Three years later, he entered Admiral Rickover's prestigious Naval Nuclear Power Program. Steve and his classmates, who comprised the second class to pass through the rigorous training at the Naval Nuclear Power School in New London, Connecticut, were known as the "Dirty Nine". Following further training at the nuclear prototype reactor in Arco, Idaho, Steve received assignment to the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), Rickover's first nuclear submarine. Steve remained with the Nautilus from 1957 to 1960. In August 1958, he participated in Operation Sunshine, the first successful transpolar crossing—traveling from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean via the unexplored and dangerous depths of the Arctic Ocean. Emerging in the Atlantic Ocean, Steve sent the coded message of their achievement, "Nautilus Ninety North". He was the last surviving officer of the "PANOPO" crossing (Pacific to Atlantic via the NOrth POle).
Following further training in 1960 at Westinghouse's Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, Steve served aboard the USS Ethan Allen (SSBN-608), first as Engineer and later as Executive Officer. During this assignment, he participated in Ethan Allen's live Christmas Island shot (in 1961), the only complete missile test with an armed warhead ever ordered, and was engaged in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In 1964, Steve received his first shore duty assignment, serving on the staff of the Deputy to the Submarine Force Commander Atlantic (SUBLANT), during which time he unilaterally developed the Operational Reactor Safeguard Examination (ORSE) for submarine personnel. Two years later, after training at Rickover's CHARM school in Washington, D.C., he served as commanding officer of USS Pargo (SSN-650). Under his command, Pargo accomplished significant North Pole exploration and experiments. In 1969, he served as Commander of Division 102, and the following year went to work directly for Admiral Rickover at Naval Reactors.
In 1972, Steve received the "plum" assignment to serve as Commander of the Navy's second Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Submarine Squadron in Rota, Spain. Two years later, he was named Commander of Submarine Group Two, based in Groton, followed in 1976 by an assignment to the Office of Naval Material (NAVMAT), serving under Admiral Michaelis. He continued his prestigious service for nine more years, including two years serving under the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (OP-02), in charge of Submarine Warfare, three years as COMSUBLANT, and two years as Chief of NAVMAT. Throughout his over thirty years in the Navy, he demonstrated deep love of his country, dedication to the submarine service, and an unshakable commitment to reform and fiscal responsibility. He received many awards, including the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four times), the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
In 1985, following his retirement from the Navy, Steve commenced work as a contractor. That same year, he took charge of the nuclear power division of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and undertook intensive reform and restructuring leading to the successful restoration of TVA's Sequoyah PWR Unit 1 in 1988. Soon thereafter, he retired from TVA.
After retirement, Steve dedicated the rest of his life to the care of his beloved wife, innumerable building projects, cross-country trips (in a motorhome nearly as large as one of his submarines), and time with his extensive family.
Steve was predeceased by both of his parents, his sister, Frances, and his brothers, Raymond and Richard. Steve is survived by Mary Anne, his devoted wife of 70 years; his seven children, Valerie White, Denise Walker, Lori Donlon, Steven White, Kenneth White, Brice White, and Beth Elliott; their spouses; 35 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren (and counting), and many nieces and nephews. When he considered all that he had accomplished in his life, Steve insisted it was the result of hard work and "God shining His light on me". He unequivocally stated over and over again that his greatest "achievement" was his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His unique blending of toughness and charm touched many. He is already sorely missed, and will be cherished in the hearts of family and friends.
Mary Anne and the family are overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring of support and affection from all who loved Steve. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, February 13, 2021, at 2 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville. The burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the St. Joseph Shrine at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish, 401 Alderman Road, Charlottesville, VA, 22903 (which is in honor of Steve and Mary Anne).
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.