Mr. White was born on June 8, 1917, in Fort Collins, Colorado, United States. He was the second son born to Alpha Albert White and Maude Burger White. In 1920 the family moved to the nearby town of Wellington, Colorado, where Albert White became the manager of a lumber company. The town’s chief economic livelihood centered on the sugar beet crop, and, as White would later recall, "Everybody worked for a living. Everybody. Everybody."