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Alice White Rau

Reflector • Updated Nov 19, 2019 at 1:54 PM

SARASOTA, FLA. — Alice White Rau, 94, matriarch of a media family and benefactor throughout her life to a wide range of charitable causes, died Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, in her home in Sarasota, Fla.

“She was a remarkable woman, she was my hero,” said Peggy Wilhelm, Alice’s great friend and associate. “She told me you are never too old to learn something new, and to help someone else.”

Alice was quoted in an article, “Be curious and reach out to every opportunity.”

She was born Sept. 22, 1925, to Dudley A. White and Alice S. White, in Norwalk. She was a resident of Norwalk and then Huron, until 1980, when she and her husband, Norman F. Rau moved to Sarasota.

Alice was a graduate of Norwalk High School and Smith College. She served on the board of directors of Sandusky Newspapers, Inc. a family-owned media company, for more than 60 years and was publisher of the Grand Haven Tribune in Michigan from 1984 to 1986.

Her father was a U.S. congressman from 1936 to 1940, and with the start of World War II, joined the U.S. Navy and eventually became a captain in charge of all Navy recruiting. In those years Alice and the family would travel back and forth between their homes in Norwalk and Washington. During the war Alice drove a forklift at a local business. While in Ohio, Alice was a member of the Huron Board of Education; former president of the board of trustees of Bowling Green State University; and a member of the development committee which helped found BGSU Firelands. She and her brother Dudley White and two sons regularly awarded educational scholarships. She was a lifelong member of the Salvation Army.

In Sarasota she was the first recipient of the Compassion in Caring Award. She was the 2014 Honoree of the Salvation Army’s Schoenbaum Humanitarian Award. She served as a founding member of the New College Library Association; board treasurer of the Hospice Foundation of Southwest Florida. She was named Woman of the Year by Tidewell Hospice. She was a board member of the Women’s Resource Center and G. Wiz Gulf Coast World of Science and Technology. She was chair of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; board member of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens; Sunset Community Blood Bank; member of the Media Round Table. She was past president of the Mack Snyder Rau Foundation.

Alice was a prolific reader and enjoyed playing bridge and doing crossword puzzles. She loved her cabin in the Canadian bush country near Sheenboro, Quebec. She and Nina Linn were buddies and neighbors who laughed and reminisced and watched the sunset splendor over the mighty Ottawa.

She is survived by her sons, David and Norman; her daughter-in-law, Molly; her grandchildren, Claire, Allen and Madeline.

Alice was preceded in death by her son, Mack.

The family will host visitation 2-4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at Toale Brothers Funeral Home, Colonial Chapel, in Sarasota. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery in Norwalk.

Local arrangements are entrusted to the Evans Funeral Home, 314 E. Main St. Norwalk.

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