Peter Silman White
Born: 03/16/1933
Died: 01/12/2023
Location: Sarasota, Florida

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Peter Silman White

Peter Silman White, 89, passed away in Sarasota, Florida, on January 12, 2023, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Pete was born in Falling Rock, West Virginia, on March 16, 1933. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Fred and Helen, sister, Betsy, and brother Fred.

Pete is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Jo, daughter Anne, and son Brad (Heather). He was a man of deep faith and a devoted member of Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Charleston and All Saints Episcopal Church on Longboat Key, Florida.

From an early age growing up in Clendenin, Pete learned the value of hard work, from shining shoes to raising rabbits during the Depression and World War II. In his free time, he and his sister Betsy shared a love for basketball, shooting at a rim and backboard on a Sycamore tree by the house. It paid off. Pete starred for Clendenin High and was First Team All-State as a Senior. He had collegiate offers across the country – from Princeton University to the University of Kentucky under Coach Adolph Rupp. Because of his loyalty to his home state, he chose West Virginia University.

In his senior year under first-year Head Coach Fred Schaus, Pete was elected Captain. He was only one of a handful of players during that era to start every game and is one of only 10 Mountaineer players to average a double double in scoring and rebounds for an entire season. A 6’5” Center, on January 29, 1955, he scored 29 points and 27 rebounds leading WVU to beat Pitt. One statistic not recorded was that Pete broke his nose three times in 9 days and never missed a game in that memorable season. With a win over nationally ranked George Washington to win the Southern Conference Championship, he led the Mountaineers to their first-ever NCAA Tournament. This ushered in the Golden Era of WVU basketball with stars like Rod Hundley, Rod Thorn and Jerry West.

He also was outstanding in track and field and a four-year letterman as a high jumper and hurdler. While a student, Pete was a member of Mountain, Sphinx, and president of the Sigma Chi fraternity. For his lifetime achievements, Pete received the highest honor from his National Fraternity – The Significant Sig Award.

At WVU Pete met his wife Jo in English Class. As the story goes, the professor apparently didn’t like “jocks” and was tough on Pete. She failed him the first semester. Jo, a future teacher, took Pete under her wing. He passed the class, and the rest was a beautiful life together where they raised their children. Pete loved teaching his children about sports so much that they were quick to finish their homework after school because when Dad got home from work it was time for fun and games. The routine was basketball before dinner followed by ping pong then billiards and usually a game of gin or hearts before bedtime.

Daughter Anne achieved worldwide fame as the best Professional tennis player to come from West Virginia. She was an All-American at the University of Southern California, played at Wimbledon, all the major international tournaments, and was ranked 19 in Singles and 9th in Doubles in the World. She is currently Director of tennis at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club where she nurtures many young players. She is also an accomplished film documentary producer. Son Brad played Lacrosse at Vanderbilt where he was a two-year Captain, 1988 Southeastern Lacrosse Conference Champion, a leading conference scorer and later played at the highest non-professional level for the Washington Lacrosse Club. In 1996, Brad returned to West Virginia from government service as a legislative assistant to Senator John Glenn and later a Readiness Analyst for the Secretary of Defense, to join his father in the life insurance business, the White Planning Group. He has coached Lacrosse at George Washington High School since 2008. Pete was proud of his children and spared no expense or passion to support their goals.

After WVU, Pete was drafted by the NBA’s St. Louis Hawks but he declined the invitation to fulfill his ROTC commitment to the Air Force. He was immediately recognized for his brilliance with numbers analysis, critical thinking and trained to become an electronics countermeasure officer on one of the first 8 operational B-52s in the Strategic Air Command with the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Castle AFB. Pete would jam Soviet intercept frequencies/radars to deter surface to air missile attacks so his B-52 could make it to the target. He was also responsible for managing mid-air refueling on missions that lasted for dozens of hours.

After active duty, Captain White served his nation in the West Virginia Air National Guard with 130th Airlift Wing as a navigator on C-119s. In the 1960’s during the Cold War, one of the 130th’s chief missions was the airborne insertion of Special Forces behind Soviet lines, should they invade Western Europe. Their training was grueling and involved extremely low altitude flying, so low that one night over Sissonville, Pete jumped into the cockpit to alert the pilot that the plane was flying too low and they would hit a ridge. The correction was made, the C-119 took the tops off trees and limped back to now-Yeager Airport, “using every foot of that runway.” Pete stopped by St. Matthews Church that night on the way home to give thanks for the Grace of God.

Following his active duty, Jo returned to finish her undergraduate education at WVU and Pete enrolled in WVU graduate school studying Industrial relations. In Morgantown, he began his insurance career with Northwestern Mutual Life as a statistician, part time agent and worked the front desk night shift at the Hotel Morgan.

Pete had an exceptional career in finance and insurance for over 60 years, with an extensive background in business, estate and charitable planning. He was a Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy.

In 1973, he joined Connecticut Mutual as General Agent for West Virginia. Under his leadership, the agency’s production tripled in under 8 years. “Tired of babysitting people who didn’t want to work,” Pete moved to St. Petersburg, FL where he returned to Northwestern Mutual, specializing in executive benefits planning for public and private corporations. In 1987, Pete was honored to be recruited by longtime friend Gaston Caperton to return to West Virginia to run the life insurance division of McDonough Caperton. There, he enlisted his best office manager, Donna Whited, who loyally worked with Pete until her retirement in 2020.

With his son Brad, Pete established the White Planning Group in 1996. The firm joined PartnersFinancial, where they assisted clients with optimal results as they ‘sat on the same side of the table’ as the client. Pete was grateful for his enduring friendships made at Partners. During his career, he achieved the insurance industry’s most prestigious awards: Top of the Table, Court of the Table and was a life, and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Roundtable. Pete was a Lion in the Life insurance industry.

Pete loved his diverse community and was active and held offices in the following organizations: The Association of Advanced Life Underwriters, the Society of Financial Service Professionals, The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, The Charleston Estate Planning Council, West Virginia State Heart Association, Kanawha County Heart Association, The Charleston Army Navy Club, Sunrise Museum, Fund for the Arts, Charleston YMCA Development Committee, Charleston Rotary, West Virginia Allergy Foundation and West Virginia Senior Olympics Board.

Among all these fine organizations, one that stood out was West Virginia University. Pete was the longest seated member of the Foundation, 42 years. In 2016 he received the Foundation’s Outstanding Volunteer Philanthropist Award. He was a member of the Irvin Stewart Society and in 2001, he achieved the highest honor at WVU – the Order of Vandalia. In 2019, Pete was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame for his basketball achievements. In total, there are less than 5 people in Mountaineer history who have amassed as many accolades from WVU. To Pete it was straightforward – he wanted to give back for all he had received.

Pete warmed a room with his big heart and quick wit, lessened tensions with his calm demeanor and loved all, from his dogs and cats to all walks of life. And he loved to travel, sharing in trips around the world with Jo’s successful travel business in the company of great friends and beloved clients. Never stopping, Pete played Senior Olympics basketball well into his 70’s and charged the net in tennis to his early 80’s.

The family thanks many who cared for Pete, especially Mary Shaheen, who moved to Florida with Pete and Jo. She is a kind soul who gave so much. The family expresses its gratitude to The Inn at Sarasota Bay and its incredible staff who loved Pete. He was their “Gracious Man,” as the Mayor of the Inn.

In his humble way Pete always thought about others and paved a path of philanthropy. If you would like to share in your love for Pete and his inspiration, the family recommends donations to the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute for Parkinson’s Research, c/o the WVU Foundation, Attention Tim Bolling, (PO Box 1650, Morgantown, WV 26507-1650) and St. Matthews Episcopal Church (36 Norwood Road, Charleston, WV 25314).

A Memorial Service to Honor the Life of Pete will be at 11:00 am, Thursday, June 1, 2023 at St. Matthews Episcopal Church, Charleston, WV.

Memories may be shared by visiting and selecting the obituary. Snodgrass Funeral Home of South Charleston is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements.


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Celebration of Life Service

Thursday, June 1, 2023
11:00 am
St. Matthews Episcopal Church – Directions
36 Norwood Rd
Charleston, WV  25314


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