Nancy I. White
Nancy Idol White
November 9, 1922 - November 28, 2011
Carrboro
Nancy Katherine Idol White, 89, of Carrboro, NC, died peacefully at home November 28, 2011, surrounded by her family. She was born in High Point, NC, on November 9, 1922 to Eugene Donnell Idol and Mary Alice Campbell Idol.
She was predeceased by her husband, Benjamin Urton White, her sister Margaret Idol Potter, and her parents. She is survived by her sons Philip Campbell White and his partner Shirley Richards, and Brian Thomas White and his wife Sara Peach, all of Carrboro, NC; and her sister Mary Campbell Idol Breeze of Greensboro; and nine nieces and nephews and their children.
Her early years were spent in Oak Ridge, NC, where her father was the academic headmaster of Oak Ridge Institute, and later in Pleasant Garden, NC, where her father was the Principal of Pleasant Garden High School and later Superintendent of Guilford County Schools.
Upon graduating early from high school in 1938, she attended Women's College, now UNC-Greensboro. She graduated in 1942 with a BA in Education. She worked as a fifth grade teacher for a year before enlisting in the Women's Army Corps in September 1943. After completing training in Maryland and Arkansas, she was stationed in Boca Raton, FL as a Classification Clerk. She attained the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged from the Army in February 1946.
Nancy enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill in March of 1946 and graduated with a Bachelor of Library Science degree in 1948. There she met her future husband, Ben White, who was also attending school on the GI Bill, after having served in the US Navy. They were married June 7, 1946, in Pleasant Garden, NC. She first worked at Wilson Library at UNC while in school.
Her first son, Philip, was born in the bathroom of her mother's house in Pleasant Garden in 1952, and her second son, Brian, was born in Greensboro in 1954. As a high school principal's wife, she supported Ben and raised her family in Brown's Summit and Liberty, NC, before returning to Chapel Hill so Ben could obtain a Master's degree in Geography. After Ben graduated he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve, Active Duty, and the family moved to Arlington, VA, followed by moves to New Orleans and Honolulu. The family then moved to Vienna, VA, where she worked as a librarian at James Madison High School, the Army Map Service, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. Next was a return to Hawaii.
After her husband Ben died in February, 1969, the family returned to North Carolina and settled in Carrboro. Nancy started in serials cataloging, and she later assumed the position of Head of Serials Cataloging at Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill. She anticipated and managed the serials cataloging portion of the transition from the Dewey Decimal System to the Library of Congress cataloging system, as well as the move from the card catalog to electronic records.
She became active in local politics as a member of the Carrboro Community Coalition and was a lifelong Yellow Dog Democrat. In the mid to late 1970s Nancy served on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. She was active in several important initiatives, including getting students to vote in Carrboro; adding Carrboro coverage to the Chapel Hill Transit system; adding bike lanes in Carrboro; beautification of downtown with trees and flower beds; creation of the Carrboro Community Park (now Hank Anderson III Community Park) on Highway 54 west, just west of Carrboro Plaza; and creation of Wilson Park off North Greensboro Street.
She retired from UNC in 1987 and enjoyed many years of retirement, during which she traveled extensively, including trips with her sister, Mary, across the US and to Ireland, as well as trips to England, Australia, and New Zealand.
She had a love of gardening, which she inherited from her mother, and was a founding member of the Carrboro Community Garden Club. She also loved to play bridge, do double crostics, read murder mysteries, work jigsaw puzzles, and dote on her many animals. She was also involved in the establishment of a branch library in Carrboro.
She always opened her house and her heart to her sons' friends and is fondly remembered by many.
Nancy was a lifelong Tar Heels fan, and among her last words was a faint "Go Heels!" during the recent Dook-Carolina football game.
The family wishes to express their gratitude for the loving care given to Nancy by her caregivers, Kelli Fearrington, Theresa Nassau, Segee Lynn, and especially Mary Lynn Horton.
The family plans a small celebration of her life at the home of Brian and Sara at 2:00 on Saturday, 1/28.
Published by The News & Observer from Dec. 4 to Dec. 11, 2011.
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3 Entries
A fond farewell from another Yellow Dog Democrat and alumnus of the Carrboro Community Coalition and the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. Nancy was a principled and tough politician with a great sense of humor. She played a very important role in making Carrboro what it is today.
Rest in peace, Nancy.
Steve Rose
Steve Rose
December 5, 2011
Brian and Phil, your mother was such a wonderful, bright, caring person! You did a wonderful job capturing the essence of her memorable life in her obituary.
Jerri Henline
December 5, 2011
Brian & Phil,
What a lovely remembrance of your mom! She was indeed a fabulous person, a wonderful mother, and lived a life well worth celebrating!
Suzan and Mark deSerres
December 5, 2011
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