By Carmen M. Woodson-Wray, Gary Crusader
Cherrie White has done any and everything she wanted to do throughout her 103 years of living and is still going strong.
White, who is the mother of three children, recently celebrated her birth- day with over 200 friends and family as her guests. The celebration was held at the Chateau Banquet Hall in Merrillville, Indiana on March 11, 2017.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson presented her with a plaque and Gary City Clerk Suzette Raggs also gave her a plaque and presented her with 103 dollars for every year of her birthday. White also received a monetary gift from Attorney Clorius Lay.
The person who traveled the longest to attend White’s party was her daughter Patricia Fointno-Bolton who came from Memphis, Tennessee. White also has a son, Alan White.
Born in Nanafalia, Alabama, White settled in Gary in 1942 after marrying her husband Dan White in 1940. She was the first Black cook at Methodist Hospital. Later she worked at Inland Steel in East Chicago but retired from the U.S. Postal Service in Gary.
A member of St. John Baptist Church, White’s daughter Rev. Jackie Drago says her mother ran the church. She said, “Whatever the church needed she got it for them. She was the Superintendent of Sunday School, the president of the Sanctuary Choir, president of the Missionary and every office you could serve in she was there.”
Within the community, White was president of the Carver Elementary School PTA, the Beckman Middle School PTA and the Roosevelt High School PTA. She took a personal interest in the various schools that her children attended in Gary going so far as to being in numerous organizations throughout their grammar and high school years.
When it came to politics White said she was called a “sheroe behind every hero” in the community, social as well as civic. She helped to organize the Fair Share Organization, along with her late pastor the Rev. Julius James. She also served as secretary to the NAACP Gary Branch.
Her hobbies are watching television and her favorite song is “His Grace and Mercy Brought Me Through.”
Most of all her favorite saying is, “You must finish something at the table of freedom other than your appetite because somebody needs what you have.”