Couple killed in collision remembered for love of family, classic cars

Gardnerville residents Norman and Virginia White died Friday on a drive in their classic 1955 Pontiac sedan.

"Their greatest passion was family, and second along the line came classic cars, more specifically Pontiacs," said Jerry Shorter, Norman White's brother.

The couple, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2006, was killed Friday when, traveling south on Highway 395 to Topaz Lake for a car show. Their car swerved into the oncoming lane and was struck by a 1999 Chevrolet pick-up truck driven by Topaz resident Hector Trigueros.

The Whites died at the scene, and Trigueros was flown to Renown Medical Center in Reno, where he was later released.

The Nevada Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Preliminary reports indicate that Norman White may have applied the brakes for an unknown reason causing the car to enter the northbound lane.

Alcohol is not suspected.

"I'm just wondering what the hell went wrong," said Michael Rowe, president of Valley Cruisers Car Club. "Was it a mechanical failure? I know they were careful drivers."

Rowe has known the couple for 30 years.

"They showed up to every car show," he said. "Everyone looked for them in their Pontiacs. They were wonderful people, and the Valley Cruisers will miss them."

They bought the 1955 Pontiac sedan when they were first married. Family members said when it was time for another vehicle, they couldn't bear to part with it, so the car remained in their yard for several years. Their children had it restored as an anniversary surprise.

Shorter said the Whites, who moved to Carson Valley in the 1970s, were involved with the community.

"Norman was member of the Rotary Club," he said. "They were also very active and big supporters of Douglas High wrestling. They had a willingness to help anyone in need, no matter what the costs."

Their four sons graduated from Douglas High School. A fifth son died in infancy.

State Archivist Guy Rocha said he recognized the couple from reports about their classic car.

"I had a lot of respect for them," he said. "They had a wonderful project. They were interested in Herman Lee Ensign Humane Alliance Fountains, like the one in front of the old Supreme Court Building on Carson Street that dates back to 1909. Norman wondered where the rest of them were.

"He found every one by going throughout the U.S. and working with the Library of Congress. He found one in his hometown of Clinton, Mo. He did a wonderful job."

Virginia White was a native Nevadan, born in Reno to Burnice and Edwin W. "Pappy" Rhodes. The family moved to Carson City in 1945.

, where her mother worked for the school district and operated several businesses, including Rhodes' Laundromat and Diaper Service, Rhodes' Cabinet Shop and Sierra Sharpening Service.

A service for the couple will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Douglas High School.

Trooper Chuck Allen of the Nevada Highway Patrol is asking witnesses to the accident to contact Trooper Kris Satterwhite at (775) 689-4682 regarding case No,. 0805231211.

• Record-Courier Editor Kurt Hildebrand contributed to this story.

DETAILS

• A funeral service is 11 a.m. Saturday at Douglas High School for Norman and Virginia White of Gardnerville killed May 23 in a traffic accident on Highway 395 south of Gardnerville.

• Anyone with information about the accident is asked to contact Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Kris Satterwhite (775) 689-4682, case No. 0806231211.

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