The End of an Era

Robert Forbes "Bob" White went peacefully to be with the Lord on Sunday, July 28, 2019 surrounded by loving family and friends. A visitation with family greeting friends will be held from 6:00-8:00pm on Thursday, August 1, 2019 at Strode Funeral Home in Stillwater, OK. Memorial service will follow at 11:00am on Friday, August 2, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church in Stillwater.
Robert Forbes White was born to Alex E White and Dorothy Forbes White on February 15th, 1938. He was the grandson of Will P. Forbes, owner of the Hotel Forbes in Poteau, Oklahoma. He graduated from Poteau High School in 1956 after 12 years of wonderful schooling and the best teachers one could have. While in school, the Company 180th Cavalry of the National Guard returned from the Korean War. Everyone was getting out of the Guard, so he joined the 45th Division of the National Guard when he was 15 years old with several other school friends. He obtained the rank of Sergeant 1st Class before he received his discharge after 8 years of Army service.
After lettering 4 years in football in Poteau High School, he played in the All State game in Oklahoma City and the Oil Bowl game in Texas. He always credited his success on the field and in life to Coach Sherman Floyd for teaching him to accept the hard times as well as the good times. He attended Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State University on a football scholarship, and transferred to Northeastern University in Tahlequah in 1957.
He moved back to Poteau where he enrolled in Poteau Junior College, now Carl Albert, in order to help his mother settle his grandfather's estate. While there he attended school, drove a school bus, helped a local plumber, and coached junior high football before returning to OSU in 1958 to major in Trade and Industrial Education. While working on his degree, he ran the bar at the Elks Club and ran the desk at the Ralph Milan Hotel for a free room. During the summers, he moved to Oklahoma City and worked as a bartender in the Tower Club of the Skirvin Hotel.
In 1960, he fell in love with and married Mary LeBaron, who had two children, David and Suzanne. Mary was a hairdresser, salon owner, and member of the Thunder Bird Hair Fashion Committee of Oklahoma. After getting married, he became an agent for Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance, but soon decided he didn't like selling insurance, so he started beauty school in 1961 and received his basic and advanced licenses, as well as an instructor's license with plans to open a beauty school. In 1962, he purchased the Union Beauty Salon in the Student Union of Oklahoma State University where he supervised 11 hairdressers and styled hair himself. During the next couple of years, he bought four more beauty salons and supervised 28 hairdressers.
Bob continued going to college to earn his bachelor's and master's degrees in Trade and Industrial Education as well as teacher's certificate and administrator's licenses before being accepted into the Doctoral Program of Occupational and Industrial Education at Oklahoma State University. Additionally, he was the Payne County Republican Chairman, helping Dewey Bartlett win the Governorship of the State of Oklahoma. He then filed and ran for Payne County Commissioner and won the election. After 6 years as a County Commissioner, he started building the first of 4 Orange Pride Carwashes in Stillwater. Over the course of his career, he ran a small car wash supply company, continued running Orange Pride Carwashes, started White Real Estate and Rental Company and acquired 40 rental units around Stillwater. He spent time as the president of Stillwater Boat Club and Stillwater Apartment Association, remained a member of the Infrastructure Committee of the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, received the honor of 32nd degree Fremason, remained a member of the Masonic Lodge for 50 years, and remained a member of the American Legion for 60 years. Additionally, he was a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, O Club, and Posse Clubs of Oklahoma State University, a member of the Stillwater Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, and remained a proud member of the First United Methodist Church, where he regularly attended Friday Morning Men's Prayer Breakfast.
Over the course of his lifetime, his family grew and he and his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoyed many happy memories. In 2011, his wife developed acute myeloid leukemia. After a hard fight, Mary passed away in her home, with Bob by her side, in January of 2013. In the following years, Bob semi-retired, selling all but one carwash and running 15 rental units. In 2016, Bob started dating Dr. Fern Bowling, who he had known from working on their Doctoral degrees at Oklahoma State University and had consistently run into at meetings, galas, and community events. Bob and Fern were engaged with plans to marry in the future.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Bookout White of 53 years, his mother and father, two sisters, Nancy Emmaline and Dorothy Marion White.
He is survived by his son, David LeBaron and his wife Carol of Stillwater, daughter, Suzanne LeBaron Golay of Branson, Missouri; grandchildren, Emily Beers and husband David, Ashley Harman, and David Williams; seven great grandchildren, Nicole, Zen, Zella, Maddox, Ava, Daxton and Gracie.
Please make donations in his name to the Stillwater Medical Foundation, P.O. Box 2408, Stillwater, OK. 74076
Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting
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Published on July 30, 2019
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9 posts

Debra G. Hall
Aug 09, 2019
I rented from Bob in the seventies. I was a single mother with two small children. I couldn’t of ask for a better landlord. I send my condolences to the family. I will keep all in my thoughts & prayers. Bob will be greatly missed by many.
Bob Duke
Aug 05, 2019
I met Bob at an Emeriti Ass’n event several years ago where I did a vocal program for the group. Bob showed up in our driveway within an hour of coming home and bought some of my albums to give to his special friends (widows, shutins, etc.) He did that over several weeks and purchased 14 total. After he told me that he owned the car wash on South Main I have made it my place to clean my car since then. I would always think of Bob and how nice he was. I am blown away by the things I learned about him in this obituary. What a contribution to society and service to others. So admirable! Rest In Peace Bob! I’ll never forget you!
Randy hays
Aug 01, 2019
Bob was a regular customer of mine for years at the convenience store I managed. Always a smile & a story for me. We would chat for a bit & tell each other about our woes. Always a pleasant man ! So sorry to hear this! You will be missed my friend ! Heaven got a great man!
Jo Jackson & Deana Howe ( Webb )
Aug 01, 2019
Bob was a good friend of our family for many years. Even when we moved from Stillwater he found a way to stay in touch and let us know he was thinking of us. His friendship and warm smile will be missed. Rest in Peace good friend.
Patrick Vaught
Aug 01, 2019
I only had the chance to work with Bob the last 3 years, visiting with him on the phone and several other occasions as he had an account had my place of employment. In that shot time Bob and I developed a friendship as one could instantly recognize his love for life and desire to make the community around him a better place. I will miss Bob. I know he will be smiling down from Heavan while enjoying his "gravy and biscuits".
Sherrie and John Gleisner
Jul 31, 2019
What a wonderful life. We know how much he will be missed because we know how much he was loved. Our thoughts and love are with you all.
Ina Bourlon
Jul 31, 2019
Always had a smile, a kiss and a hug for me when he came into the office. Was someone that would brighten my day if I needed it and was always a pleasure to be around. I will personally miss him dearly. Rest in peace dear friend and enjoy Heaven.
Jason Smith
Jul 31, 2019
Bob was so many things to so many people, some of my earliest most fond memories of Bob were riding on the back seat of Mary's convertible blowing a "Bob White" plastic whistle while going through the Homecoming Parade on Main Street when Bob was campaigning. Mom used to take me to work with her sometimes and Bob would always find a a way to put me to work. Bob was a the example of a gentleman and truly family to everyone he knew. He was one of those rare people who made you feel like you were the most important person in his world every-time you spoke to him. Even in my adult life, I would look forward to calls from Bob, from words of encouragement to entertaining the notion that he needed advise on a matter, his calls would always come out of the blue and always a treat. The world truly lost a great man, but as sad is it is to say good bye, my heart is happy that Bob is re-united with Mary and I will see them both someday. Bob, you made a difference in my life! I remember one time I was bummed out because I didn't have a clear path in front of me and you told me, "don't worry Jason, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up." Well Bob, we could all be lucky to be half the man you were. Rest easy my dear friend.Read more
Sammy fallen
Jul 30, 2019
A great friend will missed