One of the most respected and foremost local historical activists of the Santa Clarita Valley has died. Mimi White, past president of the SCV Historical Society, and known for her countless civic endeavors, died after a long illness on Dec. 18 in Ojai. She was 88.
Tony Newhall, former publisher of The Signal, said White's passing is a huge loss for the city.
"It means the end of a long, wonderful life that has done so much for the Santa Clarita Valley," Newhall said. "Mimi was devoted to our valley. Her family has long been respected in this community."
White was instrumental in making Mentryville and the Saint Francis Dam historical landmarks and was one of the founding members of the SCV Historical Society.
To many local residents, White will be remembered for her years at the Mobile, Newhall and Valencia libraries, but her friends and colleagues remembered her musical abilities.
"Mimi was good piano player and a great singer," Newhall said. "I remember her entertaining at community events. Her band was named the Station House Five and she was the band's vocalist because she had such a wonderful voice."
SCV Historical Society board member and past president Cynthia Neal-Harris remembered White for her positive outlook.
"Mimi was one of my dearest friends," Harris said. "She didn't let anything get her down. She was just awesome. She was just the kind of lady that would never say no and would always encourage us to continue going."
Harris said a couple of days before the unveiling of the bronze plaque to signify Mentryville as a landmark, the plaque had not yet arrived.
"I remembered that the bronze plaque was not going to get here on time for the dedication," Harris said. "So Mimi said, 'Then let's go get it ourselves.' So Mimi, Tom Mason (past president of the SCV Historical Society) and I got in a truck. We drove all the way down to Hemet and picked up the plaque ourselves. That was Mimi. She just didn't let anything get to her. I will miss her gentleness and her kindness to all people."
Even with all the local and civic endeavors, White found the time to be a gifted writer. White's daughter, Marilyn Cambier, said her mother loved to write poetry.
"She never stopped writing songs and poetry throughout her life until her wonderful creative brain began its long decline," Cambier said.
Newhall echoed Cambier's sentiments.
"She was a good friend," he said. "She was always engaging and had a wonderful spirit. I don't think I ever saw her in a bad mood. I really believe the community has lost one of its true pioneers."
A burial at sea will take place at 2 p.m. today in the Channel Islands Harbor. For more information regarding the service, call Marilyn Cambier at 805-649-4290.