They say time heals all wounds. I like to believe that’s true, but I also know that sometimes a hurt is so big that it may take a lifetime to heal. That was the case for a local Perry man, Herman Augusta White. Today, with no immediate family left behind to mourn his loss, we will gather to say goodbye and tell his story.
Herman was born on December 1, 1921 in Wayside, Oklahoma—the son of Andrew Thomas White and Zula Mae Logan White. Herman’s childhood is a mystery to us today. We know that he survived The Great Depression (1929-1939) being only eight years old when the stock market crashed. I can assume that Herman learned to be frugal and inventive as a young boy during this time.
As Herman became an adult, we can suppose he worked a hard job like men around these parts do. We know he worked in the oil and gas field for many years. The men who give their hearts to the oilfield are a tough breed. They are up at dawn, carrying heavy chains all day, and come home dirty, tired, and hungry.
Herman was blessed to have the love of his life waiting for him at home. Her name was Evelyn Gertrude Leniger White. The two were joined in holy matrimony on September 24, 1941 at the Baptist Church of Broken Arrow. We can only imagine how they met, where he proposed, and the size of the wedding. But one thing we don’t have to imagine is how great their love was. Herman never recovered from the loss of Evelyn in 1998 and their only son, Mickey in 1999.
At the tender age of 24, Herman watched along with a grief-stricken nation, as footage of the Pearl Harbor attack was aired. I had not yet been not born when that happened, so I can only try to conjure up the emotions he felt that day. I remember, instead, how I felt on September 11, 2001—fear, shock, grief, and anger.
Herman left his new bride on May 7, 1945 and entered active duty in the U.S. Navy. He served his Naval Training Center at San Diego, California, then was stationed aboard the USS Muliphen (AKA 61) where he fought against America’s enemies in the Pacific campaign. Herman’s Naval Air Station was in Orange, Texas. He achieved a rank of Seaman Second Class V-6 USNR-SV. Herman White was awarded the Victory Medal as well as the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. Although he may have been scared, Herman was brave in the face of danger. It is because of courageous men like Mr. White that we are free today. After serving for one year, Herman returned home to his wife and started a family.
Mickey was born on December 19, 1951 in Perry. The couple doted on Mickey. We know this because their family home is filled with photos of Mickey as a boy, his school awards, and mementos from family vacations.
After the loss of his family, Herman found himself alone for the last twenty years of his life. He spent his days playing dominos at the Perry Senior Citizens Center and drinking coffee at Mr. C’s convenience store. He was a quiet man, never saying much. He preferred. instead, to keep his home life private while he waited to be reunited with his family once more.
On August 11, 2019, the Lord called Herman home to his beloved wife and child. Oh, what a joyous reunion that must have been.