Laura Jean White, Navy Lieutenant (ret.), Professor of Computer Science at West Florida University (Emerita) died on October 30, 2021, at the age of 69, in Huntington Beach, CA., after a long, but valiant battle with lung cancer.
Laura was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. She enlisted in the Navy in 1972, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of New Mexico in 1984 and completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as Ensign.
Laura was assigned to the USS Acadia (AD 42) from 1985-1988 as Communications Officer, Electronic Material Officer, and Auxiliary Officer Qualified Officer of the Deck, Command Duty Officer, and Surface Warfare Officer. She was promoted to Lieutenant JG in 1988.
Laura received a Master’s degree in Computer Science – Software Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA in 1989 where she was the recipient of the Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper Award for Outstanding Academic and Leadership Accomplishments in the Study of Computer Technology.
She was promoted to Lieutenant in 1990. Following her graduation and Surface Warfare Department Head School she was assigned as the Chief Engineer on the USS Puget Sound (AD 38), a destroyer tender - the first female in that position. She was instrumental in the rescue/repair of the Stark after it was severely damaged during Desert Storm.
After 20 years of service, Laura retired in 1992 and made her home in Pensacola, Florida near her parents and sister. Here she began her teaching career at the University of West Florida in computer science. Because of her expertise she was invited to teach in both Finland and Egypt, and she presented papers internationally as well. She retired in 2014. During her tenure at the University, Laura earned her PhD in Education from Capella University (2006) with a specialization in Instructional Design for Online Learning. In Pensacola Laura developed into a talented watercolor artist, and honed her photography skills, as well. Among the subjects of her paintings and photos were animals, especially her beloved cats and a couple of broods of ducklings hatched in her backyard!
California called her back and Laura became the catalyst for fun filled reunions of the Alta Sierra Girl Scout Troop (1962 to 1979) in Woodland Hills, CA. Laura spent her last five years continuing to travel the world, enjoyed old friends and collected new ones, played bridge and poker, and looked for joy in every day. Laura’s friends celebrate her as a “lover of life”, a “leader”, one who “touched lives and shared freely”. “She served, she laughed, she lived”.
Laura was preceded in death by her twin sister (Leslie Ann White), her Father (Robert Keyes White), and Mother (Mona Kellogg White).
Laura will be buried with military honors at the Los Angeles National Cemetery on November 17, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. She is survived by family and friends throughout the world.
Donations In Laura’s honor can be made to OC Small Paws (ocspcatrescue.org), the San Fernando Valley Girl Scout Council, or “Plant a Tree in Laura’s Honor” (see Heritage-Dilday Memorial Services Tribute Wall for Laura White at: heritagedildaymemorialservices.com
To plant a tree in memory of Laura Jean White, please click here.