Fred E. White, 76, longtime broadcaster in Kansas City and the Midwest, passed away on May 15, 2013, at the Kansas City Hospice House. He was born May 29, 1936 in the small town of Homer, Illinois, to Edward E. and Mary Kate (Frazier) White. His death coincidentally came one day after announcement of his pending retirement from the Kansas City Royals where he served as Director of Broadcast Services and Royals’ Alumni, working with radio affiliates and former players, conducting broadcast seminars and hosting youth baseball clinics with alumni throughout the greater broadcast area.
He studied at Eastern Illinois University before starting his broadcast career at WITY radio in Danville. He then moved to KHAS radio in Hastings, NE. He joined WIBW radio-TV in Topeka as Sports Director in 1967, where his broadcasts included K-State, KU, Washburn University, and high school sports coverage .
His affiliation with K-State took him to Russell, KS, as a last-minute speaker for a Wildcat Club meeting, where he met his wife Barbara (Boxberger) who was visiting family in her hometown. They married in 1974, living first in Topeka and then moving to Kansas City full-time when Fred left WIBW for his play-by-play duties as the Voice of the Kansas City Royals.
Fred hosted various shows for Metrosports TV in Kansas City, including a popular golf show “Tee Time”; and served as host of Hometown Heroes, profiling Kansas City sports legends, which won three Midwest sports EMMY awards.
Fred also did extensive play-by-play for ESPN, including Major League baseball, major college football and basketball, the NBA, NFL and Canadian professional football games. He broadcast 7 NCAA Final 4’s on radio; 11 college football bowl games on TV; 2 Canadian Grey Cup games; 7 American League Championship series; and 2 World Series.
He served as lead announcer for Big 8, Big 12, ACC, Metro and Atlantic 10 conference basketball, as well as Kansas State, Memphis State and Illinois statewide television packages. His illustrious career included working for ESPN, CBS, NBC and ABC networks on free lance assignments as well as various syndications.
Fred was involved with many charitable organizations. He was currently on the Board of Kansas Wildscape Foundation and worked with ALS, the March of Dimes, the Arthritis Foundation, American Cancer Society and the Special Olympics. He was a former board member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He hosted the Royals for Rainbows golf tournament in Wichita for 20 years.
Among the honors he received were Kansas Sportscaster of the Year numerous times; the Kansas Broadcasters Hall of Fame; Honorary Graduate of Kansas State University; Kansas State Favorite Adopted Son; and Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Fred and Barbara own KRSL radio in Russell, Kansas. They are co-owners of KHOM/KBMV in West Plains, Missouri. Fred was an avid reader and also enjoyed golf, hunting, and spending time on the Florida beach with Barbara.
Survivors include his devoted wife, Barbara of the home; two sons, Joe and John White of Kansas City; one daughter, Stacy White. Auburn, KS; three grandsons; one brother, Jack (JoEllyn) White, Urbana, IL; one sister Marilyn Lynch, Fairmount, IL; and numerous nieces and nephews. He also leaves a host of friends and colleagues–young and old–whose lives were greatly impacted by Fred’s mentoring and generosity.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A celebration of life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at the Village Presbyterian Church, Prairie Village, KS. Private inurnment will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to any of the following: Kansas Wildscape Foundation (The Fred White Memorial Project); Rainbows United; Footprints-Royals’ Charities; the Kansas City Hospice House; or a children‘s charity of choice and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th St., Lawrence, KS 66044.