A Life Lived: Dean White was a lifelong learner

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Terri Guillemets, an author from Phoenix, Ariz., is credited with saying, “Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul — and you answer.”

Dean White, who lived on N. Main St., was constantly listening, if not to herself, then to others, and especially the scriptures. Dean, who died Sept. 22 at the age of 90, was a lifelong learner. “She was constantly learning, exploring, and teaching,” said her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth White. “She also had a big heart, and was very kind and generous.”

In her earlier years, Dean was a teacher, retiring from Keystone Elementary School in Johnson City, and later worked in insurance.

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Dean was an accomplished artist. She especially enjoyed painting landscapes, and her home was filled with her work. “She saw beauty in everything, especially nature,” said Elizabeth. “She also enjoyed reading and collected books. She read all the time, even when she was under the care of Hospice.”

Dean also enjoyed traveling in her younger days, and among the places she had visited and explored were Greece, Egypt, and Africa. “She was touched by people, their thoughts, how they lived and worked. She studied constantly,” said Elizabeth.

However, one of her greatest loves was studying the Scriptures. “She was one of the most spiritual people I’ve ever met. All throughout her life, she studied the Scriptures and was very learned in the Word. She was very faithful,” shared Elizabeth.

For over 35 years Dean hosted weekly a small Bible study group in her home. “It was her way of sharing the Word and her faith with others,” her daughter-in-law said.

Dean also from time to time attended Brown’s Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church and enjoyed worshiping and studying with the people there.

The mother of four children, who include Cary of Elizabethton, Roy Lee of Flowery Branch, Ga., Pamela White of Berkley, Calif., and the late Diana Gail Saari, Dean had five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. “She adored her grandchildren and had a great relationship with them,” said Elizabeth, noting that she often painted with her kids, Adam and Carly White. “She enjoyed spending time with them.”

A very private person in lots of ways, Dean enjoyed the time she was alone and studying. Art was how she expressed herself. Dean’s daughter-in-law described her as an “open-minded” person, who never imposed her thoughts or beliefs on others. “She readily shared them, but was just as open to the thoughts of others. I know that I and my family will miss her deeply,” said Elizabeth.

For sure, Dean White was constantly feeding her soul. But, she also fed others — sometimes with a paintbrush, other times with thoughts from the Scriptures, a kind word, or just a smile or greeting.