Chesco town supervisor struck by truck, killed

Posted: August 15, 2014

A longtime West Goshen Township supervisor was killed Wednesday when he was hit by a pickup truck on his way out of a West Chester supermarket.

Robert White, 77, was struck as the driver backed up and hit both him and the front entrance to the ShopRite on West Chester Pike, said his wife of 52 years.

"I always yelled at him, 'Pay attention to your surroundings,' " Judith White said a few hours after the crash. "Maybe if he had looked up and seen her coming he could have jumped out of the way?"

Police said that the female driver is cooperating with officials and that the cause of the crash, which happened around 12:30 p.m., is still under investigation.

White was pronounced dead at Chester County Hospital.

The loss shocked many in West Goshen, a community of about 22,000 that borders the borough of West Chester, where White shared a dental practice with his son and kept part-time hours to treat patients whom he had seen for years, his wife said.

White held public office for 34 years - first on the Planning Commission and later as a supervisor - during a time when the township and surrounding county saw tremendous growth.

Judith White said he took pride in curbing what he viewed as unnecessary development, keeping taxes low, and maintaining a good quality of life for his neighbors.

She said her husband loved politics but was not corrupted by them. He was especially tough on builders seeking approval for construction projects, scrutinizing their plans and objecting to overdevelopment.

His nights, she said, were often spent reading scores of documents in preparation for township meetings.

Ernie McNeely, who worked as West Chester's township manager for 27 years before leaving for a job in Lower Merion Township in the spring, said he worked with White on countless projects and called him "even-keeled and a perfect gentlemen."

West Goshen Police Chief Joseph Gleason said the department was reeling Wednesday afternoon.

"We lost a family member," he said.

Judy White said that outside of work and public service, her husband, who was a Navy veteran, loved sailing and playing tennis, before he had to give the game up.

"He had a good sense of humor," she said. "He knew all the good dirty jokes. He was always an upbeat kind of a guy."

She thinks her husband had been at the ShopRite on West Chester Pike to pick up lunch for his son, Douglas. The couple, who would have been married for 53 years in October, also had another son, Joseph Aaron White.



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