Melvin Roy White

February 18, 1924October 27, 2018

Melvin Roy White, age 94, of Peoria, passed away Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018 at 7:25 p.m. at Proctor Place in Peoria. Melvin was born on February 18, 1924 to MaeBelle (Biegler) and Roy “Sam” White. After the death of his mother when he was 12 years old, his dear grandmother and grandfather, Myrtle and Frank Biegler raised him and his brother, Donald “Trig” White, who preceded him in death.

He married Bonnie Clauson on June 8, 1947 and they were happily married for 60 plus years until her death in January of 2015. He is survived by his son, Brad (Eve) White and daughter, Lynn (Tony) Montle. He has 4 much-loved granddaughters: Renae (Clay) Johnson, Jennifer (Rob) Stewart, Mindy (Bill) Welsh, and Melissa Montle and her husband John McCarroll. In addition, he has 12 beloved great-grandchildren who survive him

Melvin served 3 years in the US Army Anti-Aircraft Division during the WWII Europe Campaign. He earned 3 overseas service bars, an American Campaign Medal, European-African- Middle Eastern Ribbon with 4 Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medal, Bronze Star GO 18 HQ in Air Defense and the WWII Victory Medal. After his discharge, he graduated from Bradley University with honors while working full time and then had a 32 year career as a Market Analyst at Caterpillar, retiring in 1983.

Despite having only 2 years of piano lessons as a child, his playing was a natural gift. He began his piano career at age 15 playing for Betty Merkel's Dance Studio, where he met his wife Bonnie, who was teaching dance there. Melvin was a well-known and well-loved pianist in the community, accompanying and directing orchestras for over 180 musical plays at Corn Stock Theatre, Peoria Players, Caterpillar Employees' Chorus, Conklin's Dinner Theatre and Bradley University. He acted in and directed several plays as well. He and wife Bonnie entertained for years at local functions and presented "An Evening with Bonnie and Mel" at the Apollo Theatre. He also served on the Cornstock Board and the Municipal Band Commission. He was a member of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and served on the Church Council, in addition to many years of service as the church organist. In the words of one of his admirers, Mel was a "master at the keys" and "along with Bonnie, they were a powerhouse of accomplishments, positive attitude and a never-ending dedication and love to the arts in our community. They were a joy to be around. Mel was a gentle professional and a comfort to the performers he accompanied".

Maybe most importantly, he was a brilliant man filled with integrity--a true gentleman who was dedicated to his wife and family. We are all comforted knowing that he and Mom are together for eternity, making beautiful music.

The family would like to thank the staff at Proctor Place Healthcare, where dad spent the last few years of his life. Words cannot express our gratitude for their excellent care and the love and comfort they gave him on a daily basis. A special thanks to his Unity Point Health Hospice nurse Mae, who was a warrior of tenderness and compassion to the end. Funeral services will be Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Davison-Fulton Woodland Chapel. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services. Cremation rites will be accorded following the services. Memorials may be made to your favorite local theater program. You may view Melvin’s obituary online at


  • Frank and Myrtle Biegler, Grandparents
  • Roy "Sam" White, Father
  • MaeBelle Biegler White, Mother
  • Bonnie Clauson White, Wife
  • Brad and Eve White, Son
  • Lynn and Tony Montle, Daughter
  • Renae and Clay Johnson, Granddaughter
  • Jennifer and Rob Stewart, Granddaughter
  • Mindy and Bill Welsh, Granddaughter
  • Melissa Montle and John McCarroll, Granddaughter
  • Donald "Trig" White, Brother
  • - Twelve Great Grandchildren
  • -Melvin was preceded in death by his grandparents, Myrtle and Frank; parents, MaeBelle and Sam; wife, Bonnie; and brother, Trig

  • donor's favorite local theater progam


  • Visitation Saturday, November 3, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, November 3, 2018

Melvin Roy White

have a memory or condolence to add?

Beth Rentfro Oakes

November 3, 2018

I had the pleasure of meeting Bonnie and Mel through Conklin's when I worked there from 1987 to about 1992. Some of my favorite people on the planet! I have wonderful memories of both of them. I know you were blessed to have them as parents!

Mary Gill WHITE

October 31, 2018

Sorry to hear you have left us Mel but know you and Bonnie are in a better place. I remember how much you helped me when we worked on the GOER project in Marketing at Mossville and how many times we got each other's mail - no computers then - mail addressed to M. White. Oh well, you were the desk right in front of me.

You were one of the nicest and most helpful people I ever worked with at Caterpillar - and I needed the help. I also remember your piano playing and both you and Bonnie acting in many plays. Again, bye for now, Mel, and will see you again some day.

Mary White

debbie hurt

October 31, 2018

Charlie and I were privileged to be friends with Mel and Bonnie. They will be missed. They were a joy to be around!