The Coast News Group

Obituary – Frances Hamilton White

Frances Hamilton White

In loving memory of Francis Hamilton White

Frances Hamilton White, 87, passed away peacefully at her home in Cardiff, CA on March 21, 2021.

Frances, the daughter of Richard Hamilton and Edna Douglass Hamilton, was born in St. Marys, West Virginia, on her mother’s birthday in August 1933, and was delivered at home by her father, the town doctor.  Frances graduated from St. Marys High School (1951) and Vassar College (1956) where she received a BA in Psychology and always claimed, “We mostly played a lot of bridge and smoked a lot of cigarettes”.

Frances married Harvey White in 1956 and had three children, Katherine, Sarah, and Philip.  She moved to California and settled in La Mesa in 1972.  By 1982, she had moved to Cardiff where she resided near her beloved San Elijo Lagoon until her passing.

Frances was a dedicated philanthropist who strongly believed that a rising tide floats all boats.  She especially loved helping a charity launch new initiatives.  She provided the lead gift that established the Hamilton Glaucoma Center at the Shiley Eye Institute, worked with Mama’s Kitchen to initiate their breakfast program, and partnered with St Paul’s to help create the Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program.

She supported a wide variety of educational institutions including Barrio Logan College Institute, MiraCosta College, and Vassar College.  She also supported her local libraries including Cardiff-by-the-Sea Branch Library, the San Diego Public Library, Pleasants County Public Library (WV), and she truly understood that a public library is a transformative force in a community.

Frances also believed in the power of nature to heal and educate, and was a major force behind the Hamilton Children’s Garden at San Diego Botanic Garden, the Healing Garden at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, and the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy (now Nature Collective). Her appreciation for the arts led her to the Mingei International Museum, where she was a long-time board member and board chair, as well as a major supporter of several key initiatives.

Frances also loved to travel and visited many countries and six continents but most enjoyed traveling with her family.  She made several trips to Scotland exploring her family history, and never met a standing stone that she didn’t like.

When she was home and sitting relatively still, she could be found reading, cooking, birdwatching, enjoying the company of her beloved shelties and tending her garden.  Her favorite plant was a climbing rose that she bought when she was five years old for a nickel and three cereal box tops. She transported that rose bush from West Virginia to La Mesa to Cardiff, where the bush thrives to this day.

Frances is survived by her three children, Katherine White, Sarah White (David Gray), and Philip White (Ann); eight grandchildren, Madison White, Benjamin Warren, Zachary Warren, Isaac Gray, Henry Gray, Christopher White, Carson White and Danny White; one brother and four nieces and nephews.

A service will be announced at a later date. Contributions in her name to Nature Collective (formerly the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy), St. Paul’s PACE or your local library would be greatly appreciated.