Dan Oscar White was born April 7, 1927, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Beginning at age 8, he traveled the Midwest with his mother, a Bible teacher and evangelist. After a move to Southern California, he attended Polytechnic, the arts high school in Los Angeles, majoring in architecture and music. While in school, he was youth organist on the music staff of Angelus Temple. His senior year he was chosen as organist for First Baptist Church in Hollywood.
After high school, Dan planned on going into architecture, but Uncle Sam called. He was sent to Fort Lawton in Seattle to become part of an Army tank unit. Just prior to his unit shipping out, the base chaplain began searching for an organist. He discovered he had one on base, and Dan was pulled from his unit and assigned to the chaplaincy. Serving with the chaplain and ministering to the troops, pointed him into ministry when the war ended.
Pregnancy sidelined the organist at a growing church in Charlotte, NC and the call went out from Dr. Garr across evangelical churches to find a temporary replacement. Coming to Charlotte on a round trip ticket for a “three month stay”, turned into the Lord’s plans for Dan to serve on the staff at Garr Memorial Church for well over 40 years. He served not only as minister of music, leading choirs of all ages, but also as administrative pastor. For many years he also served as co-youth pastor and led a touring choir of over 90 teenagers called “The New Creation”. For 28 months, he and his family went to Rio de Janeiro, where he not only ministered in music, but got to use his architectural skills helping to design and supervise the building of several churches.
During his Garr years, he also appeared at numerous conventions and musical events playing for Jamie Buckingham, Willard Cantelon, and others around the country and even in Jerusalem. On a missions trip to Brazil with a group from Oral Roberts University, he encouraged the musically talented collegians in the group to minister in song as they traveled - that group ultimately became the ORU World Action Singers. Along with Rev. Alfred G. Garr Jr., he was a member of one of the first Youth For Christ teams to visit Europe after World War II.
During an early tent meeting crusade at Garr, he met and fell in love with Mildred LaVerda Byrd. They dated for 3 years, and this June 9th celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. They had one child, who was ultimately named Melody – creating much fodder for jokes about a bass and an alto carrying the “melody”.
In Charlotte’s musical community, Dan was a member of the committee organizing the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, and was twice elected President of the Chorus. He also was a lifelong member of and served a term as Dean of the Charlotte Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. For over fifty years, he either sang in the chorus or accompanied at the console for the Good Fellows annual charitable luncheon.
Upon “retiring” from Garr Memorial in 1991, he also served as choir director and worship leader at Dulin’s Grove Advent Christian Church and Lamplight Church. In 1998, he became the principal organist at Central Church of God and served there until he truly retired in 2015.
The humblest of men, Dan took his greatest pride in working together with Alfred Garr to build Camp Lurecrest. He loved youth and would joke that “after all I used to be one”. The kids at camp and in his choirs were the heart of his heart. He and Alfred did hundreds of weddings together and even had the joy of playing for the weddings of the offspring from some of those original weddings. If you asked him what his goal in life was, he would quickly tell you it was to someday hear Jesus say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”. He achieved that goal on November 17, 2017.