Clarence J. “Cubby” White, 99, of Peck St., Negaunee, passed away peacefully Sunday morning, March 10, 2019 at the DJ Jacobetti Home for Veterans, Marquette, MI.
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Cubby was born August 21, 1919 in Negaunee to Henry and Mary (Roy) White. Cubby was preceded in death by parents; siblings: Louise, Rose, Alphonse, George (Blackie), Walter and Paul (Porkie); beloved wife, Bernice (Coron) White in 1986; son, Jim (White-O) in 2014; daughter, Rita in 2018; and great-grandson, Evan Andrew in 2001. He is lovingly survived by daughters, Joan (John) and Mary (Phil); daughter-in-law, Nancy; son-in-law, Bruce; grandchildren: Lisa (John), Charlie (Patti), Andy (Angie), Angela (Gene), Shawn, Lee, Adam, Tony and Julianna; great-grandchildren: Olivia, Veronica, Matthew, Emma, Levi, Elizabeth, John Evan, Ella, Austin, Caitlin, Marlee, Emily, Wes and Julia.
Cubby attended Negaunee St. Paul High School until he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to financially help his family who had fallen upon hard times during the depression.
Cubby was a proud veteran of the United States Army, having served during WWII from 1941-1945 in the European and African Theatre of Operations. During the war, Cubby had the privilege of driving a Jeep for General Patton. While in Rome, Cubby and three fellow U.P. soldiers had an audience with Pope Pius XII. Afterwards, they had their picture taken on the steps of St. Peter Basilica which was published by the A.P. Cubby received numerous medals and honors during his years of service. Following his service to his country, he was employed in maintenance by Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company at the Maas, Bunker Hill, Mathers A & B, Ohio, Republic and Humboldt mines, retiring in 1968.
Cubby was a devout, lifelong member of St. Paul Catholic Church in Negaunee. He and Bernice were faithful Catholics sharing this gift with their family. Cubby enjoyed taking each of his young children to visit St. Paul Church to show them the statues, the stations of the cross and the stained glass windows. As each child was familiar with the holy space, they were taken to Mass. For many years, he served as an usher and a greeter where he wished everyone a “Happy Birthday!” In his retirement years, Cubby attended daily Mass.
Cubby was a musician, playing guitar, mandolin and banjo in musical groups. With his brothers, they entertained the family at camp on Sundays. Camp was all about family get-togethers and having fun. Clanging horseshoes could be heard over the banter of men vs. women competing to reign as champs. There were also wiffle ball games, card playing and wild wagon rides down the hill. Grandpa loved giving the grandkids rides in his “bush car” through the “40” as they hung out the windows shrieking with delight. Cubby was “king of the BBQ grill” preparing chicken and brats for the gang. Sometimes underestimating the number of guests, a run to Cain’s News (a.k.a. Marty’s) for replenishing refreshments was necessary.
Cubby was the original “American Picker”. He procured treasures, refurbishing and repurposing them. His children and grandchildren now reap the benefits of his endeavors. In addition, his family considered him to be “Mr. Fix-It”. He would rather repair than replace. He spent hours at camp pruning his prize pine trees. One of those trees became the Christmas tree in Negaunee for Santa’s 2015 visit. Cubby was a tin can artist. He created detailed, miniature rocking chairs and was featured on The Carl Pellonpaa TV Show. In Cubby’s opinion, this was a good hobby because if he made a mistake he had to open another can of beer!
Cubby was a lifetime member of V.F.W. – V.A. Romo Post 3115, Negaunee. In service to the organization, he honored veterans by attending funerals and presenting the American flag to their families. For many years he helped place a flag on each veteran’s grave for Memorial Day at the Negaunee Cemetery. Cubby was a proud member of the Negaunee Elks where he enjoyed his morning coffee. From there he continued “making his rounds” and spreading cheer at the NPD, Russo’s Grocery Store, Barney’s Shell and Snyder Drug, then to the Negaunee Senior Center for lunch. His afternoons were often spent visiting residents and giving haircuts at The Eastwood Nursing Home. Anything for a laugh, Cubby would say these one-liners wherever he went:
“I got kicked out of the hospital because I took a turn for the nurse”
“I only fell out of bed three times last night”
“I told Koskey’s I wasn’t dying until they put the embalming fluid on sale” (Thanks a lot Lou & Jeff!)
Cubby was a character and here’s a story as proof. He went to the Negaunee Bakery for a loaf of bread but instead stopped at Hill’s Garage and bought a new 1964 Plymouth Belvedere. Imagine Bernice’s surprise!
On Friday, February 8th at the Negaunee Memorial Gymnasium Cubby along with many other veterans were honored at a special ceremony. The gym was filled to near capacity. Countless people approached Cubby wishing him “Happy Birthday!” What a wonderful public tribute to all the veterans who were present and to Cubby in his 100th year. Thank you to all who made this memorable evening possible.
The Cubby White family thanks the staff at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans. They treated Cubby as family for the past three years and three months while he was a resident. They always had his best interest at heart and went above and beyond for him. They are exceptional people. His family is forever grateful.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Saturday, May 11th at St. Paul Catholic Church with Rev. Larry VanDamme officiating. Burial will be in the Negaunee Cemetery. Please join the family to pray the rosary at 9:00 am. They will greet relatives and friends from 9:30 am until the time of Mass at 11:00 am at the church. A luncheon will be held in the St. Paul Gymnasium following the funeral. Memorial contributions can be made to D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans, Negaunee Senior Center or St. Paul Catholic Church.
Cubby lived his life doing unto others as he would have them do unto him. Let’s do the same as we remember Cubby with his mischievous smile and twinkle in his eye.