By Donna Parker
Most sleepy Texas mornings, you’ll find 76-year-old Ben White ’51 up and at ’em, as they say around these parts. Never one to let grass grow under his feet, this retired auto fuel specialist spends his time working his acreage in Helotes, just outside San Antonio.
“I usually get up early, watch the news, and drink my coffee. If the weather’s decent, I’m outside mowing or cutting wood for our wood stove,” says Ben.
Lest you get the idea that Ben is strictly a country boy, consider the fact that he logged 3 ½ million miles on a major airline and for many years, flying 10,000 miles a month was par for the course. Ben worked alongside MIT physicists in automobile fuel and lubricant research. After a stint in San Antonio at Southwest Research Institute, Ben and his family moved to Detroit where he spent 13 years covering territory from Mexico City to Canada.
“I miss the people, but not really the travel. I still have many good friends and we stay in touch via e-mail.”
Retired since 1992, Ben rebuilt his entire house on San Geronimo Creek, doubling its size. Then, he says, “I met a gal at Cornerstone Church. After we started dating, we realized we were both Trinity graduates!”
“We figured we had a lot in common so we went up to a Bandera JP and got married!”
His two daughters, already grown, produced three grandchildren, and the happiest moments for Ben are when they come home to visit.
He’s active in the San Antonio Alumni Chapter and mentors alumni and students at local career networking events. In addition, Ben works to encourage more alumni to attend their class reunion.
“There were 30 alumni at my 45th and at my 50th, 45 showed up!”
Proud of his college days when he worked three jobs to cover tuition, Ben majored in physics and math and answers strongly when asked if any particular professors impacted his life.
“Heavenly days, yes! Paul Caldwell in math; R.W. Boynston in physics. Those are the two main ones. They were personable people who cared about their students.”
Ben remains deeply committed to Trinity, frequently attending the distinguished lectures and cheering at the football games.
“It’s grown to be a beautiful campus. When I talk to the students today, I always remind them that the sky’s the limit, but you have to be willing to work for it.”