Michael Lee White, age 74 years of Niles, Michigan, husband, father, grandfather, trucker, car-guy, and honorable veteran died peacefully at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 with his family gathered around at home following an extended illness. His family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the staff of Centrica Care Navigators hospice.
He was born on September 16, 1947 in Mishawaka, Indiana to Herbert Lee and Maxine (Damm) White, moved with his family to Niles in 1958, and was graduated from Niles High School. He enlisted in the United States Navy, and was discharged as a Veteran of the Vietnam Era. Back in Niles, he joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local #364, and drove for the Preston Trucking Company, and later drove for the Saint Joseph County Public Works Highway Division from which he retired.
Mike had been a member of the American Legion Post #26 in Niles, and was a member of the AMVETS Post #1978 in Niles. He enjoyed maintaining a nice yard, and had owned a Harley-Davidson motorcycle which he rode throughout the area, and a few longer trips including successfully negotiating the Tail of the Dragon highway – 11 miles with 381 curves on the western border of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.
He maintained a remarkable fleet of automobiles, always changing as a child or grandchild would need a car, but always included a classic 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. He took his family camping throughout the United States, using a variety of tents, trailers, and RVs, and often spent time at Roger’s Lake. As a young man, Mike developed a deep interest in music, including orchestral music, and became a great percussionist, often performing perfectly the well-known drum solos of the Surfari’s hit, “Wipeout”.
Mike had the great sense to ask Sandy Leach for a date to Skate-a-Rama, and on October 17, 1966 – in-front of the Justice of the Peace, Ralph Bowman at Bowman’s Motel – he married Sandra Jay Leach. They celebrated last year the remarkable Fifty-fifth anniversary of their wedding.
Surviving family includes his wife, Sandy White and their children, Jodie (& Paul) Badman of Niles, Jamie (& Patrick) Fisher of Niles, and Jason White of Chicago, Illinois; grandchildren Hannah Sweet, Ethan Sweet, Lauren Biggs, Parker Biggs, and Jenson Fisher; and Mike’s siblings, Jackie Jo (& Chuck) Evans of Osceola, Indiana, Donald (& Carol) Hooker of Texas, Melanie (& Tom) Piteo of Cleveland, Ohio, and Kevin Henri of Michigan City, Indiana; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and by an infant granddaughter, Sandra Jay Michele Jones; and a sister, Toni Brown.
The family of Michael White will gather privately to share memories and honor his life. Committal will be at a later date in Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles. Contributions in memory of Mike may be made to Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, Tennessee, 38105, https://www.stjude.org/ . Arrangements were completed at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
Mike clearly enjoyed life, beginning with music, but also traveling for work, and on his Harley, and camping. More importantly, he loved the people in his life, taking his family camping, providing his kids and grandkids with great cars, and most importantly, loving and protecting Sandy.