Gerald Curtis John White passed away at his home on January 4, 2022, at the age of 95. He was the grandson of Swedish and Norwegian immigrants of the 1880s, Johan and Carolina Carlson, and lived in the house they built in Sletten Township, which he incorporated into the family’s new home in 1978. The day after graduation in 1944 from McIntosh (MN) High School, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet and while waiting for flight training was sent to learn radio mechanics at Truax Airfield in Madison, WI. When the war ended, he entered Concordia College in Moorhead, and from there went on to Luther Seminary and was ordained at Bethel Lutheran Church in Sletten township in 1953.
He married Inez Hagen of Kindred, ND, and served a parish in White Earth, ND, until her death in 1956, when he began graduate studies in Chemistry at NDSU in Fargo. After obtaining his Masters degree, he accepted a call to Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Kalispell, MT, where he met and married Joyce Alton. After a summer interim ministry in Fairview, Mt, the couple moved to Camrose, Alberta, where Gerald taught Chemistry and Bible at Camrose Lutheran Junior College for two years, before moving to St. Louis, MO, where he began his doctoral studies in Old Testament and Semitic Languages.
In 1962 he accepted a call to Bruflat and Trinity Lutheran Churches in Portland, ND. While serving the parish, he instituted a Lay School of Theology to deepen the knowledge of lay leaders in the church, and also taught pastors in the Charis and Great Plains Schools of Theology in North Dakota, as well as becoming Associate Professor of Chemistry and teaching world religions at Mayville State University.
In 1972, he was called to Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead to serve as Education Pastor, designing and managing the youth and adult education programs. From there, he moved to Rugby, ND, to serve the Bethany and Berwick congregations, before moving back to the farm near Winger in 1978. After a brief interim assignment in Duluth, MN, he accepted a call to the Faaberg/Norman/Ness parish at Rindal where he served for 10 years, retiring (for the first time!) and moving with his wife to Dickinson, ND, where she had become the Director of Counseling and Learning Resources at Dickinson State University. While in Dickinson, he served interim at the UCC church, as well as teaching chemistry and World Religions and supervising student teachers at DSU.
Four years later they moved back to the family farm at Winger, and for the next eleven years, he served as Visitation Pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in Fosston, followed by an interim pastorate at Calvary Lutheran in Winger (where he had been confirmed) and Immanuel Lutheran in Bejou, before once again retiring to build a chapel on the home farm to house and preserve the contents of Sand Hill Lutheran Church which was being demolished. In this chapel he conducted several Norwegian language services, honoring the faith and heritage from the pioneers of the area.
Still healthy and vigorous enough to continue building projects and cutting, splitting and hauling wood for the fireplace until a few months before his death, Gerald was, like the rest of the “Greatest Generation” of WWII, a remarkable man and a faithful servant of God. He leaves his wife of 62 years, his daughters Pr. Stephanie White, of Shelby, MT; Christine (Dale) Lennon, of Bismarck, Pr, Rebecca (Todd) Worner, Starbuck, MN; Dr. JoAnn (Ehsan) Khaleel, San Diego, CA; and Katherine White (Hiten), Anaheim, CA. He also leaves two foster sons, Cuong Le (Hang), Andover, MN, and Truc Le (Vy), Kent, WA; seventeen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church, Winger, MN at 3:00 with visitation before the service. Out of respect for family members and other vulnerable guests, masks will be required. The family suggests memorials to the churches or charities of your choice. Gerald’s special interests included WoundWalk.org, North Country Food Bank, Arbor Day Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, Doctors without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, and various Veterans’ organizations.
Blessed be his memory.