On the morning of March 24, 2017, our community was rocked by the sudden loss of beloved husband, father, teacher, colleague, adviser and friend, Kevin Oliver White. In 37 short years of life, Kevin made an immeasurable impact on the lives and hearts of those who were blessed to know him.
Kevin grew up in Cherokee County and graduated from Cherokee High School. His talents and love for music led him to earn his master’s degree in music and serve as choir director and music teacher at E.T. Booth Middle School. Throughout the years, Kevin invested his time and passion for music to influence and impact the lives of his students in a way few others have. He genuinely loved God, his family and his students, and it showed every day. He understood the complexities of the difficult transitional middle school years of his students and embraced, loved and mentored them through it – not just for three years of middle school, but his friendship continued long after his students graduated high school.
“Mr. White made my daughter look forward to going to school, he made her feel loved, let her know he cared, made her bad days good and her good days better. His boldness of faith and example of how to live life will serve as inspiration to all who knew him,” said a parent of one of his students.
Kevin, an active member of Canton United Methodist church, sang almost every Sunday and was a member of the praise and worship band and Cherokee Chorale.
Kevin leaves behind wife Courtney, his childhood friend who later became his wife. He and Courtney have one daughter, Piper. Courtney is an eighth-grade teacher at Dean Rusk Middle School; she, like Kevin, lives to serve our children. Courtney is now challenged to fill role of mom and dad for their daughter. Piper, Kevin’s pride and joy, was born 8 years ago with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a genetic condition that affects the development of bones and other tissues in the face. To date, Piper has endured 11 surgeries and will require more in the future. She will need extensive dental work, therapies and hearing aids every five years. The cost of one hearing aid is $5,000 and insurance covers only a small portion. Please pray for Courtney and Piper as they begin their new normal without their amazing partner and father. Pray for faith stronger than fears and for peace beyond understanding.
Since Kevin’s passing, current and former students have rallied in tribute to him through memorials, a balloon release, fundraising events and social media campaigns to help each other cope with their loss and to honor their admired teacher. “Thank you to everyone who has showered us with prayers and gifts. It has meant the world to us, especially Piper. I know more than anything that Kevin would want to know that we are being taken care of by our wonderful family, church and community,” Courtney said.
Because Kevin was never shy to share his compassionate heart with his students or parents, we share an excerpt from an email sent to parents of his students before sending them off to high school:
“In this email, which may be one of the last ones many of you get from me, let me express my heartfelt gratitude, my heartfelt admiration I have for all of you. But remember, as I sang on Tuesday, ‘There is no ‘Goodbye…’ only ‘We’ll meet again!’ From the bottom of my heart … thank you for blessing my life with the opportunity to teach your children.”
Kevin White, it is WE who are thankful! Your legacy will forever live in the hearts of our children.
“Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23