C. Thomas White

C. Thomas White

October 5, 1928 – December 11, 2020

Thomas White was born in Humphrey, Nebraska on October 5, 1928, to John Ambrose and Margaret Costello White. His mother, Margaret, passed away when Tom was nine years of age. Following his graduation from St. Francis High School in 1946, Tom enlisted in the Army.  He was honorably discharged in 1947.  He returned from Japan and graduated first in his 1952 class from the Creighton School of Law where he was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society.

Tom married Shirley Ann Malloy in 1953 and their three children, Michaela, Thomas, and Patrick, were raised in Columbus Nebraska.  He was elected Platte County Attorney in 1955 and served in that role until he was appointed by then-Governor Frank Morrison as the sole District Judge for the 21st Judicial District of Nebraska in 1965.  His wife Shirley passed away in 1970.

Tom married Joan Jiranek in 1971.  In 1976 then-Governor J. James Exon appointed him as an Associate Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, at which time he moved to Lincoln with Joan and Patrick, with Michaela and Tom already headed towards legal careers of their own.  Joan passed away in 1991. He married Lyn Ferer in 1994.

In 1995 he was appointed to serve as Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court by then-Governor E. Benjamin Nelson, and he served in that capacity until 1998, when he retired from the bench and joined his son, Tom, in private practice in Omaha.  He continued to practice until his death.

He was affectionately known as “Chief.”

Tom loved to travel and visited his favorite country, Ireland, numerous times with family and long-time friends, Bill and Betty Grant.  He travelled frequently, including trips to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, and Hawai’i.

Most of all Tom loved spending time with his immediate and extended family.  He made every effort to attend the special occasions celebrated by his children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.  He faithfully and enthusiastically attended his grandchildren’s sports events (soccer, basketball, football, wrestling, track, and horse shows), concerts, recitals, and academic events.

Tom was an avid Creighton Bluejay basketball fan.  Michaela, Tom, and Patrick remember coming from Columbus to Omaha as children to attend many Bluejay basketball games, and he was a regular attendee at Creighton home games after he moved to Omaha in 1998.

He was an avid reader all of his life and could recite his many favorite poems from memory until the day he passed away.

Throughout his long life he was dedicated to his God, his profession, his friends, and most of all his family, particularly his grandchildren—Logan, Adrienne, Reilly, and Aaron—all of whom he was extremely proud.

He will be greatly missed.

He is survived by daughter, Michaela White (Albert Macchietto); sons, Thomas White (Barbara) and Patrick White (Jennifer); grandchildren: Logan White, Reilly White, Adrienne Schleisman (Thomas) and Aaron Macchietto; sister in- law, Darlene White; former wife and close friend, Lyn White; many beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

He was preceded in death by parents, John and Margaret White; first wife, Shirley; second wife, Joan; brothers: Jim White, John “Jack” White, Leo White, Raymond White (Pat), Edward White, and infant brother, Francis White; sister, Mary Kathleen Gehr.

VISITATION observing CDC guidelines: Friday, December 18th from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel, with VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Saturday, December 19th at 10am at St. John Catholic Church at Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza.  Family Interment: Calvary Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to St. Francis Church in Humphrey, NE, and Creighton University School of Law.

To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Service” button on the home page.

 

33 Comments

  • Ann White Jensen Posted December 13, 2020 6:19 pm

    I am so sad to hear about the loss of Uncle Tom. He was a wonderful man in every way and will be missed. Love to you all.

  • Barb & Hal Freeman Posted December 13, 2020 6:55 pm

    We are so sad to hear about the Chief’s passing! He was a wonderful man, dad and grandpa. He told me years ago how blessed he was to be included in all of your families activities. I think it was the highlight of his life! Love and prayers to all of your family. We will pray for the repose of the Chiefs.soul and for all of your family! Love from all of the Freeman’s!

  • Jan and Tom Schleisman Posted December 13, 2020 10:11 pm

    Our heartfelt sympathy for the White family for the loss of Tom White.

  • Jason Jaques Posted December 14, 2020 5:34 am

    From Australia we send out condolences, love and warmth. As Tom’s extended family, we cherished every moment we spent with him. I remember the chief’s great wisdom visiting his office in his son Tom’s law firm close to 20 years ago, may he Rest In Peace. The Jaques Family – Australia

  • Sherman & Sarah Jo Tegtmeier Posted December 14, 2020 6:57 am

    We are so very sorry for the loss of your beloved father and grandfather. We had the good fortune to know Tom through Michaela. He was and will forever be a blessing to so many.

  • Lorraine Boyd Posted December 14, 2020 9:54 am

    I am saddened to learn of Tom’s passing. As former editor of The Daily Record, Omaha’s legal newspaper, I was fortunate to have dealings with him on numerous occasions. He was such a gentleman — in the true sense of the word. He was wise and smart and kind. I will miss him. Condolences to Lyn and Pat and Tom.

  • Janice Bach Posted December 14, 2020 12:40 pm

    Good bye to my dear Uncle Tom. May all of the happy memories bring comfort to the family. He touched so many lives. I know the family reunion in heaven will be joyous. Rest always in peace

  • Beverly Elgan Posted December 14, 2020 1:45 pm

    So sorry to hear about the loss of Tom Sr. Prays go out to the family. May he RIP. God Bless the family.

  • Karen Cerny Posted December 14, 2020 2:06 pm

    My sincere condolences on the passing of your Father. He had great achievements in life and will be missed by many. Your family is in my prayers during this difficult time.

  • Dan Neppl Posted December 14, 2020 4:18 pm

    I am sad to hear about Chief Justice White’s passing. I had the honor of clerking for him during that first year when he became Chief Justice. He was utterly devoted to the law as a noble pursuit and quietly reminded his clerks that court cases involved real people. America needs more judges like him: brilliant, caring, compassionate and, most of all, humble. A giant of the bench and bar. My thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family.

  • Thomas Mark Heiser Posted December 14, 2020 4:48 pm

    Michaela (Mickey), Tom and Patrick

    I feel blessed to have known your father. He was a great man, one I always admired. My thoughts are with you at this time

  • Garry Gernandt Posted December 14, 2020 4:56 pm

    Sadden to hear of the Judge’s passing. My condolences to the family.

  • Allan J Benek Posted December 14, 2020 5:01 pm

    It was my pleasure to have the opportunity meet such an outstanding human being! Prayers and condolences to the entire White family. I hope you all find solace in the wonderful memories that will live on with all of you forever.

  • mary b iannelli Posted December 14, 2020 8:34 pm

    “Absence, the highest form of presence.” James Joyce
    Tom we will think of you often, We will miss you dearly. We will mourn our loss, but we will feel your love and presence forever. Sending all our love in this time of grief.
    The Iannelli family

  • Joan Rosschaert Moran Posted December 14, 2020 10:21 pm

    Rest in Peace Tom, my cousin. I read about his passing in the paper. I happened to be reading the obits because I ran across his name while looking for my sister Janet

    Anthone’s obituary. Tom was a good man and a fun cousin. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  • D. Nick Caporale Posted December 15, 2020 10:36 am

    My sympathies to the White family on the passing of the Chief; may you find comfort in remembering the good times you had together. Michaela, Thomas, and Patrick–as you know, I had, and have, the greatest respect and regard for you father. He was a unique human being; an outstanding jurist; and, best of all, a kind, compassionate and caring man. I highly valued our friendship and shall miss him.

  • Carol Helgenberger Luedtke Posted December 15, 2020 3:45 pm

    I am so sorry Michaela, Tommy and Patrick to hear of your Dad’s Passing. He was truly a gentle giant and
    will be missed so much. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time of sadness and loss.

  • Paulette Mrzlak Power Posted December 16, 2020 9:30 am

    Dear Michaela, Tom and Patrick. Your father was a life long friend of my father, Nick Mrzlak and this friendship extended to us children. I personally came to know and respect your father’s great intelligence because it was tempered with both sagacity and kindness. My personal relationship with your father began when I babysat for you 3 children but eventually, through my friendship with Betty and Bill Grant, I met all three of his wives and learned about his love of Ireland. I specifically remember, as one of my favorite stories, how when Tom meets with distant relatives in Ireland in the coarse of the conversation he never let on what a powerful position he held in the Nebraska legal world. Perhaps his humility was what stays with me the most. It was an honor to have been able to count Tom among our friends.

  • Jackie Hladik Posted December 16, 2020 3:34 pm

    Michaela, Tom, and Patrick – I am so saddened to hear of the loss of your father. As you know, he was a great influence in my life during the years I spent working with him at the Court. I am grateful for the wisdom he shared and all the fond memories I have. He will forever be in my heart. Please accept my condolences and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  • Lori (Lingo) Lozier Posted December 17, 2020 10:48 am

    Dear Mic, Tom and Patrick,
    We send heartfelt sympathy to you in the loss of a great man. Your father (our Uncle Tom) is fondly rembered as a strong and wonderful influence on the Lingo kids, while he was married to our Aunt Joan. Beyond his impressive professional career, Uncle Tom’s outstanding cooking skills, profound ability to debate spontaneously, love of travel and entertainment, skill at turning a dinner conversation into a stimulating/thought-provoking exchange, and willingness to teach (snow skiing, the discipline of the law,) are all blessings we appreciate to this day. We thank you for sharing him with us, and we send kindness and comfort your way.
    Lori (Lingo) Lozier,
    New Bern, NC

  • Ward & Shirley Lingo Posted December 17, 2020 11:13 am

    White Family,

    We share our deepest condolences with you in the loss of Tom. We are forever grateful for the fond memories of him in Columbus and Lincoln while married to Joan. May he rest in peace, and may you be comforted by by the kindness and prayers of others.

    Ward & Shirley Lingo,
    Omaha, NE

  • Jane and John Ellsworth Posted December 17, 2020 11:48 am

    Dear Lyn, We are so sorry for the loss of Tom. Art Guild will be a great support for you, We share your feelings and hope you have many great memories to cherish. They will be treasures for you.

  • Kristine Kluck Sobering Posted December 17, 2020 1:32 pm

    Dear Michaela, Tom, and Patrick,
    I am so sad today to learn about Tom’s death. Your father made such a huge impact on me as a child — on those many ski trips or in your backyard near the swimming pool as I watched him, with awe, tell stories of Ireland, regale over politics, read poetry of William Blake. Whatever he did, he did so with intelligence, self-confidence, ease, and grace. He was such a lovely, lovely, man — I can only imagine how much you will miss him. My thoughts are with you and your families.
    Kristine (Kluck) Sobering
    Manhattan, KS

  • Mary Beth Stephens Matthews Posted December 17, 2020 2:11 pm

    To Michaela, Thomas, and Patrick
    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of C.T. He has always been very kind and gracious along with knowledgeable and discerning. He, as you may remember, married Al & myself and we felt so privileged
    to have him perform this for us. I so remember our block in Columbus and you all. You were blessed with a wonderful family and C.T. will truly be missed by many.

    Mary B. Matthews

  • George H Moyer Posted December 17, 2020 5:05 pm

    Michaela, Tommy and Pat. So sorry to see your father passed. I appeared before him countless times in Columbus, and it is no exaggeration to say that he taught me more than I learned in law school.

    I met you all in his office at the courthouse and could see his love and pride in his children.

    The state has lost a great judge and we have all lost a wonderful man. God bless him and God bless you, too.

  • John V Hendry, Chief Justice, Retired Posted December 18, 2020 11:32 am

    Michaela, Tom Jr., and Patrick. I was so saddened to learn today of the passing of your father. He was an outstanding person, District Judge, Supreme Court Judge and Chief Justice. He was a great mentor to me as I began my career on the Supreme Court. He was bright, thoughtful and cared deeply about injustice and inequality. Although the legal community has lost as outstanding jurist, his concern for humanity and the law remain for all of us to treasure in his many insightful opinions and dissents over the many years he served on the Nebraska Supreme Court. I will always fondly remember not only the way he could “growl,” but mostly, that huge smile that almost always followed.

  • James Fogarty Posted December 18, 2020 2:21 pm

    I was very sorry to learn of the death of Justice White. He is a big part of Nebraska history and a great leader of the judicial branch of government. His relatives in Greeley Nebraska – and mine – take great pride in his life and accomplishments. – Jim Fogarty

  • Doug and Joan (Placzek) Gubbels Posted December 18, 2020 6:06 pm

    We are so sorry to hear of your father’s death. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Cindy Gerst-Brigham Posted December 19, 2020 8:32 am

    Tom and family,
    I did not know Chief very long but he was a kind man. My heart is sadden for you and your family. I know he will be terrible missed at the office. I always looked forward to seeing him on a daily basis. I shall miss our chitchat. I am very sad that I could not attend the funeral but my thoughts and prayers are with you all. Sending you hugs and love in this time of grief. Take care. Cindy

  • Milan and Linda (Schrad) Levos Posted December 19, 2020 7:43 pm

    Thoughts and prayers for your family. The service for your father was beautiful.

  • Don Escalante Posted December 21, 2020 3:03 pm

    Very sorry to learn of Judge White’s passing. What a life it was! Condolences to Michaela, Tom and Patrick. Judge White became a giant in his profession while remaining a humble man and servant of God. Much loved and respected and, now, much missed.

  • Colleen (Dowd) Hall Posted December 21, 2020 5:24 pm

    My deepest sympathy Michaela, Tom , Patrick and families in the loss of your father/grandfather. It’s a big letting go to say goodbye to the family patriarch . May his wisdom, love , service and example guide and sustain you.
    “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal” Irish proverb

    Sincerely, Colleen Dowd Hall

  • Cheryl and Larry Feala Posted December 22, 2020 10:27 am

    It was with deep sadness that we learned of Tom’s passing. There are fond memories of time with family and enjoying a good visit with him. It goes without saying that he will be dearly missed and we hope it helps your emptiness and sadness to know that he is with God and no longer will know sadness but will enjoy the gifts of a life well led. Our sincere condolences to the Tom’s family with hopes that peace will come to your lives as Tom would have wanted. Loving memory, L&C

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