Southampton resident Ethelyn B. White died on Easter Sunday, March 23 at Southampton Hospital. One of the original founders of the Church of God in Christ in Bridgehampton, she was 86.
Born August 14, 1921, in Norfolk, Virginia, to Daniel Baker and Annie Boggs, she worked in her father’s shoe repair shop after school. In 1950 she moved to Southampton, where she worked as a culinary professional at several prestigious estates with two of her lifelong friends, Helen Johnson and Elane Sylvester. She was known in the community as “Mother White” because many people came to her home seeking prayer, solace and guidance.
On December 13, 1974, she married Deacon Aaron White of Southampton.
In addition to performing vocally and serving as the first president of the church choir at the Church of God In Christ, Mother White also served on several church committees. She was also a member of the First Church of God in Christ of Center Moriches, where she served as church secretary and pastor’s aide leader until she was no longer able carry out her duties.
She was a supporter of the Red Cross, disabled veterans, Southampton Town Police and many non-profit organizations. Survivors recalled last week that she always had the community in her heart, seeking to improve it and always giving more of herself than she asked for in return.
“The memories of her training and love for us cannot be erased, they are carved in our hearts,” one survivor said. “We earnestly pray that our lives will exemplify her life.”
Predeceased by her husband in August 2000, she is survived by two foster daughters, Rose Darden and Beverly Bynum of New York, a niece, Helen M. Gordon of Southampton; two nephews, James E. Baker Jr. of Texas and Jeffery Baker of Virginia; a sister-in-law, Virginia Baker of Virginia; two great-nephews, Armand Gordon of Southampton and Pvt. Langford Simpson of Virginia; six great-nieces, Banisha Singleton and Charisse Buice, both of New York, Jamyl Baker, Natasha Baker and Chrystal Baker, all of Texas, and Catrina Simpson of Virginia; and a host of great-great-nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
Visitation was held on March 30 and 31 at the Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton; a funeral service was held at the First Church of God in Christ in Center Moriches. Superintendent Roy Pennon, pastor of the Galilee Church of God in Christ in Riverhead officiated at the service and Pastor Isaac Bolden of the Church of God in Christ in Center Moriches delivered the eulogy.
Interment followed at Southampton Cemetery.