Dean White was a humble visionary and passionate philanthropist whose legacy began in 1946 upon his return from World War II, where he served as a merchant marine. In time, Dean took over his father’s local billboard company, growing the business and eventually diversifying the company’s business focus to include real estate and hotel development. This decision not only changed the trajectory of his life forever but also transformed the economic landscape of countless towns and cities in Northwest Indiana and across the state. At this time, Dean and his wife Barbara also began to build their family. Barbara was a regular community volunteer and provided guidance and support to the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation. Barbara was known for her positive disposition and general concern for others. Dean and Barbara were a lifelong inseparable team and the patriarch and matriarch of the White Family. They had a long life together and died peacefully surrounded by family, Barbara at the age of 92 and Dean at the age of 93 in Crown Point, Indiana. The impact of their profound investments and commitment to community continues on through the work of the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation.

Driven by family values that include a passion for the region and the State of Indiana, the White Family applies the same energy and principles that built Dean’s success in the hospitality industry to philanthropy, working with top-performing partners in critical areas of impact that elevate NWI and the state of Indiana by providing a higher quality of life and new opportunities for the people of the area they loved.

Dean and Barbara’s family continues to build a legacy that is focused on results that benefit people in their daily lives and create opportunities for the kind of personal growth that builds strong communities. Dean and Barabara’s son Bruce, founder of White Lodging, Foundation Trustee, and nationally respected leader in Business and Philanthropy, personified the values of the White Family. Although we sadly lost Bruce in 2023, his individual philosophy, “Be a Learner, Be a Leader, Be a Friend,” inspires our intentions and his relentless pursuit of excellence serves as our standard.