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In Memory of . . . Donovan E. White (1928-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Monday, January 30, 2012
The Rev. Donovan E. White died on December 30, 2011. He was 83 years old.  Rev. White was born in Gloversville, NY, on November 11, 1928 to David C. and Elsie B. (Van Nostrand) White. Rev. White attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware in 1952 and his Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Rochester, Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1956. He also studied at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.

He served at the First Unitarian Church in Erie, PA, from 1956-1960, after being ordained there in 1956. He then taught college at Slippery Rock State College in PA, and Lake Erie College in OH. From 1963-1966, after re-enlisting, he served as an air force hospital chaplain at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS. Rev. White returned to parish ministry in 1966, serving at the First Church in Templeton, MA, until 1974. In 1974, he was called to the Universalist Church of the Messiah in Fort Plain, NY, from which he retired in 1982. He then started his own upholstery business, Donovan’s Upholstery, in Mayfield, NY.

Rev. White’s family described him as a kind, gentle, insightful man who had a sharp, powerful mind. He was a great positive thinker and thought-provoker, who, by believing the best in everyone, encouraged others, at times unknowingly, to want to be better people. He was a disciplined man; loving new ideas and never hesitating to challenge himself and others. He was a great conversationalist and an avid reader, walker and swimmer. He enjoyed classical music and baking bread. As a minister, he is described as having been gifted in providing spiritual and emotional counsel to those in need. His weekly services were found to be uplifting, positive, and applicable. "He was a light so bright you couldn’t help but be in awe while in his presence. He was deeply loved and will be forever missed.”

He was a member of the Gloversville VFW.

Rev. White is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Millett and her spouse, Fred of Valatie, NY. He also left seven grandchildren; Donnabea, Meghan, Donovan, Zeb, Myra, Gary, and Sarah; two great-grandsons, Benny and Lewis; a brother, Ernest D. and his wife, Irene of Mayfield, NY; a sister, Medora Venneman of Hollywood, MD; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Rev. White was predeceased by his beloved wife of 60 years, Donna (McWain) White; his son, Samuel D. White; and his brother, Harold W. White.

Family and friends paid their respects to the memory of Rev. Donovan E. White on January 2, 2012, at the Jeffords and Stewart Funeral Home in Broadalbin, NY, followed by a graveside service, which was presided over by the Rev. Bonnie Orth.

Donations in Rev. White’s memory may be made to Mountain Valley Hospice, 108 Steele Avenue, Gloversville, NY 12078. Messages of condolence may be left on the family’s online guestbook at

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