History of the Restoration Movement

Howard Ashley White


Courtesy of Pacific Church News

Pepperdine University's Fifth President


Remembering Dr. White

February 7, 1991 . . . a pleasant morning in Malibu. The rising sun chased away the coastal fog, and as the brightness rose, it sent shafts of multicolored light streaming through the stained glass windows of the Pepperdine University chapel.

Loved ones, friends, colleagues—admirers all—gathered to remember Howard A. White. It was as he had wished, as he had directed in his final days: the memorial service was conducted on the campus he loved, in the chapel where he spent so many hours in worship The ceremony was simple yet elegant, a true reflection of the man it honored.

Jerry Rushford presided and also brought remembrances, as did Frank Pack and J. P. Sanders. A scripture was read and comments made by Tom Bost. Prayers were offered by Norvel Young and Charles Runnels. A Pepperdine student ensemble sang two of Dr. White's favorite hymns, "Hold Thou My Hand" and "Abide With Me." The congregation joined in singing two other hymns he loved, "When Peace Like a River" and "Blest Be The Tie."

Stories about Dr. White's life were shared, some evoking laughter and some bringing a tear. But the strand that held them all together like so many perfect pearls was the image of a devout Christian man who had learned to be loving, humble, and simple while standing tall as an outstanding academician and dignified gentleman.

The next day, February 8, Dr. White was laid to rest next to his beloved wife on a beautiful green slope of the Hollywood Hills. Dan Anders, minister of the Malibu Church of Christ, presided at the internment.

Dr. Howard Ashley White served faithfully as the fifth president of Pepperdine University from 1978 to 1985. He died on Friday, February 1, 1991, at the age of 77 after a valiant battle with a number of illnesses.

He was born near Florence, Alabama, in the little town of Cloverdale on September 28, 1913. His father, John Parker White, was a farmer until the family moved to Florence and purchased a grocery store. His mother, Mabel Clara Hipp White, was an elementary school teacher. Howard's early faith was molded by his parents, who were devout Christians. He was also greatly influenced by preachers, such as G. C. Brewer and E H. Ijams, and especially by an elder of the local church, J. W Stutts, who took a special interest in him and introduced him to David Lipscomb College in his senior year of high school.

Howard graduated from Coffee High School Dr. Howard Ashley White, 1913-1991 in Florence and entered David Lipscomb College in 1930. In November of that year, he preached his first public sermon for a small country Church of Christ in Alabama. He was assisted in preparing that sermon by A. G. Freed, vice president of David Lipscomb and co-founder of Freed-Hardeman College.

At that time, David Lipscomb was still a junior college, so Howard graduated in two years with honors. He stayed on another year to work for the college, then accepted a preaching position for a little church in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1933. Two years later, he moved to Jackson, and after another two years, he began preaching for the Charleston Church of Christ at the edge of the Mississippi delta. He served that congregation for four years.

In 1941, he was invited to become the minister for the new Carrollton Avenue Church of Christ in New Orleans. He agreed only after being assured that he could pursue his education there while preaching full time.

He attended Tulane University and served the Carrollton congregation for the next 12 years, during which time he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees and, finally, the Ph.D. in history. He was also proud that, during that time, the congregation built a beautiful new church building and became a radiating center from which other churches eventually sprang. At Tulane, he proved to be an outstanding scholar, winning the prestigious Montgomery Prize in History.

Though they had met earlier, it was in New Orleans that Howard became acquainted with his future wife, Maxcine Feltman. They were married on the campus of David Lipscomb College in 1952. The next year, they moved from New Orleans to Nashville, where Howard A. White, fresh with his Ph.D., agreed to teach history at his alma mater, and where, ultimately, he become tbe chairman of the department. During the Lipscomb years, he also served as the regular minister for a local church, something he would do for much of his career in higher education. After five years at David Lipscomb, Dr. White accepted an invitation from President M. Norvel Young and Dean J. P. Sanders to come to Pepperdine College as chairman of the social science division. So, he and Maxcine packed their belongings, gathered their two little boys, and headed for Los Angeles. At Pepperdine, he would serve successively as director of graduate studies, dean of graduate studies, dean of undergraduate studies, and executive vice president.

One of the highlights of Dr. White's life was becoming the founding director of Pepperdine's Year-in-Europe program in Heidelberg, West Germany, in 1963. He later wrote, "No part of the work of Pepperdine University so excites me as does the Heidelberg program." In fact, he often said, "I lost my heart in Heidelberg, where it has remained ever since."

Certainly, the low point in his life came when Maxcine died in 1973. Somehow Dr. White struggled on in faith, immersing himself in both his sons and his work.

The moment to which he seemed destined came in 1978 when William S. Banowsky assumed the presidency of the University of Oklahoma. Howard Ashley White became the fifth president of Pepperdine University—the critical need was matched by the ideal man. Though his workload and schedule were understandably heavy, he continued to serve as an elder of the Malibu Church of Christ, a role in which he served for nearly 20 years. He later recalled that his years as president had been "rich and rewarding." However, his one great disappointment continued to be that his beloved wife, Maxcine, had not been there beside him.

Dr. White's accomplishments at Pepperdine have been recounted often—and will be recounted in the days to come. Even after retiring as president in 1985, he continued to serve as president emeritus and as a member of the Board of Regents until his death. Let us only say here that the University's call came to him at a very crucial moment in its history, and he answered it superbly. He was a scholarly yet humble man, an exceptional administrator yet a devoted Christian servant. Through the years ahead, his memory will continue to shape our lives and influence the future of the institution he loved so much.

Dr. White is survived by two sons, Ashley and Elliott; by two brothers, Clyde and Earl; and by a sister, Claire.

-Bill Heneger, Pacific Church News, Spring, 1991,  page 3

A Tribute To Maxcine Feltman White

Maxcine Feltman White died January 19, 1973. The Board of Trustees at Pepperdine University named one of the women's residence halls on the Malibu campus in her honor. Her memory will be kept alive by the Maxcine Feltman White House, but her life will be perpetuated through thousands of young people on whom she exerted a powerful influence.

Born in Hodges, Ala., she was encouraged by Gus Nichols to go to Freed-Hardeman College which she attended for one year. She finished her formal education at Florence State University and after graduation taught in the public schools in Jasper, Ala. While she was teaching, she lived in the home of Brother and Sister Nichols. They had a profound influence on her and in many ways she looked to them as a sort of second parents. Her husband told me that after she died, he found in going through her purse that in addition to pictures of their sons she had carried in it a picture of Brother and Sister Nichols.

Maxcine Feltman came to David Lipscomb College in 1944. From 1944 to 1952 she was, for all practical purposes, the Dean of Women. Lipscomb girls were always motivated by her wholesomeness and genuine concern for their welfare, as well as her ability to put all things in their proper perspective.

She married Howard White in 1952 and they lived the following year in New Orleans, while he completed requirements for the doctoral degree. Brother White worked for twelve years with the Carrollton Avenue congregation in New Orleans and made a tremendous impact for the cause of Christ there. They returned to Nashville in 1953 where he was Chairman of the Department of History and preached for two local congregations. They moved to Pepperdine University in June of 1958 where he now serves with distinction as the Executive Vice President.

Maxcine is survived by her husband, by two sons, Ashley Feltman, 19, and Howard Elliott, 16; and in Alabama by two sisters, Mrs. William Flippo and Mrs. Thomas Milligan and three brothers, Fletcher Feltman, Flankard Feltman and Leek Feltman. In addition, she leaves Miss Ruth Gleaves, David Lipscomb College, who was a very close friend of the family.

Approximately five years ago she had to have an eye removed because of a malignancy, but it did not injure her wonderful, engaging Christian personality. She lived life to the fullest. Hers was not a lingering illness. She was confined to the bed for two months before she died, and until that time remained her active, vivacious self.

Maxcine had an outgoing, captivating and warm personality. She was a great Christian woman whose heart was filled with love and goodness for everyone.

Humor, dignity and insight accompanied her every action. She had a way of making those about her feel important. She loved Christ, the church and her family. She was beautiful in person and in purpose.

It was with and through her help that Howard has been able to render and will continue to render great service for the cause of Christ. She was instrumental in helping to establish the Pepperdine Year in Europe program in 1962 and was also a vital force in the Associated Women for Pepperdine which raises money for scholarships for needy students.

It is wonderful to believe and to know "She is alive in him." She will live through her family, through memory and through influence, but she has inherited eternal life. She could say with Paul "for me to live is Christ and therefore to die is gain."

-Carroll B. Ellis, Gospel Advocate, 30 August 1973, pages 558,559.

Directions To The Graves of H. A. and Maxcine Felton White

Howard White is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park off Ventura Highway in northern Los Angeles, California. The cemetery is in one of the most beautiful settings in Southern California. Not far from Warner Brothers Studios, the cemetery is located on Forest Hills Road. North of Downtown LA take the I-5 to the Ventura Highway connector Exit 144B and head west. The second exit will be the Forest Lawn exit. At the exit turn left. Go under the bridge and turn right at the light. You will pass a large cemetery on the left. This is not Forest Lawn. Continue on and you will see Forest Lawn on the left. The visitation hours there are between 8am and 6pm, 5pm during the winter. When entering the cemetery head straight into the park, and turn left at the first intersection you come to inside the park and turn left. Then take the first right. Go about mid-way until you see the curb-sign-TENDERNESS. See Maps below for more details.

While in the cemetery be sure to visit the grave of another former president of Pepperdine University: M. Norval Young. Near the Young plot will be the grave of Suk Kee Dong, A.K.A. Ding Dong Bell, the Korean preacher who planted the church of Christ in Korea.

Hollywood Hills Plot: Section Tenderness, Lot 3237, Space 4, Property, Lawn Crypts.

GPS Location

View Larger Map

Click On Map For Closer Look At Location of Howard A. White's Plot
Also Designated on the map is the plot of S.K. Dong

Click On Map For Closer Look

Go in From TENDERNESS sign in line with trees above seven rows to the White plot

This shot in direct line about seven rows to Howard White's grave

Maxcine Feltman White
May 4, 1919 - January 19, 1973
I am the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6
Howard Ashley White
September 28, 1913 - February 1, 1991
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and I am life." John 11:25

Photos Taken June 25, 2012
Page produced November 1, 2012
Courtesy of Scott Harp

Special Thanks: To Jerry Rushford. I was able to visit in the home of Jerry and Lori Rushford in late June, 2012. I was just returning from a mission trip to the Fiji Islands, and had about a 30 hour layover in Los Angeles. The Rushfords were wonderful hosts, and Jerry was a great resource in assisting me in the finding of the grave of H.A. White. If visiting in the Los Angeles area, be sure to visit Pepperdine University in Malibu. Besides having a beautiful campus, be sure to visit the Church of Christ Historical Room, upstairs in the university library. Jerry Rushford has put much work through the years into preserving the history of the churches of Christ on the western coast of the United States of America.

History Home

History Index Page