Whitey “Speak Easy” Memorial: Sat. Dec. 10

By: Bill Whaley
6 December, 2016

Services: 1-4: Quail Ridge Inn and Common Fire Restaurant


WhiteyThe Friends of Whitey, represented by Linda Fair, Robert Krongaard, and Bill Whaley have organized the “Speak Easy” Memorial with the blessing of brother Jim and son Chris. Whitey spoke with all of the above during the days before his departure.


Steve White, aka Whitey, born January 25, 1941, departed quietly from this earth on Thursday, October 20, 2016, while embraced by his wife, Cindie, of 25 years. A memorial service will be held Dec. 10, 1-4 pm, at Kurt Edelbrock’s Quail Ridge Inn, refreshments prepared by Andy Lynch’s Common Fire restaurant.


Steve is survived by his younger brother Jim White of Arden, North Carolina, and his son, Chris (wife, Marianne) and grandchildren, Kelley Maile Cowell, Elke White, Jossen and Blaize Fahrney of Taos, Alleson White (married to brother Terry, RIP) and Allison White (married to brother Palmer, RIP), numerous nieces and nephews. Ex-wives include Linda and Ann, and a favorite girlfriend, Jo.


The Whitey “Speak Easy” Service is being held rather poetically at what was once “Blanco’s, during a time when Whitey and the devilish John Ramming were featured on the evening news in the 80s. When questioned by prosecutors who were mad-dogging Ramming, Whitey uttered the quote that succinctly summarized our local culture: “We do things differently in Taos.” (“ Ramming (RIP) might be a crook but he was our crook.”)


In an earlier piece, this writer referred to Whitey as a “firefly,” or a night creature with his own source of light. Jean Mayer of the Hotel St. Bernard, Whitey’s colleague of more than sixty years, referred to Steve’s “honest basic organic imprint of …emotions….his voice ,the smile in his eyes.”


From Winnetka, Illinois, Steve first visited Taos during the summers of 1957 and 1958, attending Craig and Jenny Vincent’s summer camp at the ranch in San Cristobal. There he made life long friends with singing partner Ed Trickett and Linda Fair, also from Winnetka, and native Taosenos. Like his friend Bob Krongaard, he attended University of Arizona, but abandoned college and opted for Taos in 1960.


At the “Speak Easy” Services, Krongaard shall act as M.C. and call on the Friends of Whitey to share briefly an anecdote about the Firefly. Whitey affected so many lives at work, on stage, at one of his joints, while singing ballads, or in the deep background where he became a legend in the demimonde of Taos.


So Saturday, Dec. 10, 1-4, at the Quail Ridge and Common Fire on the road to Arroyo Seco and TSV, bring your pictures, a song, a story, and enjoy a thimble of Grand Marnier. “Speak Easy” in memory of the Chief Fire Fly who lived the life that we Friends of Whitey all want to honor in the Taos Way.

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