Former Old Westbury resident, Whitney employee dies

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June Douglas-White, a former Old Westbury resident who worked for the Whitney family, has died at age 94. (Photo courtesy of Dignity Memorial)

June Mitchell Douglas-White, a social secretary to a member of the Whitney family and a former resident of Old Westbury, has died.

Douglas-White, who was living in the Chatham township on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, was 94.

One of three daughters of the late William and Bertha McNeill Mitchell, Douglas-White was born on June 19, 1926, in Medford, Massachusetts. She graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, in 1945, and married the late Herbert T. “Doug” Douglas in 1950. The couple lived in Hadlyme, Connecticut, before moving to Old Westbury.

Douglas-White served as social secretary to Marie Louise “Marylou” Whitney, the last wife of the Roslyn-born Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, for over 25 years, beginning in the 1960s and lasting until her retirement in 1991.

Her family says she sometimes joined Marylou Whitney on her travels, including trips to the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, for which she was the single largest private donor, and the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Douglas-White also learned to speak Spanish to communicate with the staff at the Whitneys’ home in Majorca, Spain.

During this time, the Whitneys lived on part of what had been a 1,000-acre estate built by Cornelius Whitney’s grandfather in Old Westbury, which has since been divided up and sold. Current owners of property sections include the Long Island campus of the New York Institute of Technology, and the Old Westbury Golf and Country Club.

In 1970, Douglas-White and her family moved to Chatham, as she continued working for the Whitneys. She retired in 1990, two years before Cornelius Whitney’s death at age 92. Marylou Whitney died in 2019 at age 93.

Following her first husband’s death in 1987, Douglas-White married the late John E. “Jack” White in 1990. She was predeceased by her sisters Janet Green and Priscilla Mitchell, both Cape Cod residents.

While living in Chatham, Douglas-White was passionate about local community theater, holding leadership roles at the Chatham Drama Guild and performing in productions at nearly all theater companies across the Cape. In addition to being on stage, Douglas-White worked behind the scenes directing and stage-managing plays, writing the guild’s newsletter for many years, and running the box office.

Douglas-White also volunteered in retirement as a reader for the blind at the Chatham Council on Aging, she delivered Meals-on-Wheels for over 25 years, and was a long-standing member of a writers group based in Chatham.

She is is survived by her son, Cameron Douglas, and his wife, Becki, of Pennsylvania; her stepdaughter, Jennifer Frei, and her husband, Bill, of North Carolina; her stepson, Brad White, and his wife, Darlene, of Chatham; seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Cape Cod Theatre Coalition, care of HJT, P.O. Box 168, West Harwich, MA 02671. A service will be held at the Nickerson Funeral Home in Chatham at a date to be determined.

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