Elizabeth (Bette or Bet) White, age 87, died on August 29, 2023. The karst community mourns the passing of a passionate colleague and supportive friend. Dr. White was born on March, 9, 1936, in Stowe Township, west of Pittsburgh. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1958 and took a job with the Pennsylvania Department of Highways. She married Dr. William B. (Will) White in 1959 and moved to State College where she entered graduate school at Penn State. She received a Master of Science degree in 1969 and a Ph.D. in 1975, both in civil engineering. She was employed in research positions by Penn State’s Materials Research Laboratory and Department of Civil Engineering.
A focal point of Bet’s life was cave exploring which she began late in her college career. She and Will explored caves up and down the Appalachians, in Kentucky, Puerto Rico, and many other states as well as in Europe and China. Much of this exploration was in support of scientific research that resulted in some 44 technical articles and one book. She was active in the caving organizations the National Speleological Society, the Butler Cave Conservation Society, and the Cave Research Foundation. Bet was instrumental in supporting the activities of the Karst Waters Institute (KWI) whose mission is to improve the fundamental understanding of karst water systems for professionals and the public. As part of that effort, Bet contributed her time and talents to KWI’s goal to communicate and disseminate information to the public. She served as the Publication Sales Associate for three decades, promptly sending out KWI publications in response to mail-in and online book orders. Her dedicated service to the karst science community helped advance a broad understanding of karst.