Longboater Nora White Passes

Nora White, 62 of Longboat Key died Thursday, January 3, at Sarasota Memorial Hospital following a heart attack the evening of the 28th at her home.  She and her husband Bob have been residents of the Key since 1992.

Nora was born in Bamberg, Germany on March 10, 1950 to Dr. and Mrs. Manfred Gruessner. She grew up in Eltman, Germany before moving to the US in 1969 and becoming a US Citizen. She moved to Kansas City in 1974 where she worked as an underwriter for Aetna Life Insurance Company.

Nora met her husband Bob at a ski club meeting in Kansas City where she caught his eye during the performance of a Bavarian dance routine. They were “finally” married in 1990 after an 11 year courtship. She will be remembered by her friends for her saucy, sparkling personality, outgoing nature and her devotion to helping others through decades of work as a volunteer on missions to underdeveloped countries through the Medical Missions Foundation of Kansas City.  Since 1999 she has been on 15 missions, working as a pre and post-op medical assistant and in patient care, but she was best known as “Doctor Clown” for her fully costumed comedic entertainment of the young patients along with her puppet sidekick Chucky. Her travels with the foundation have included Romania, Cuba, Vietnam and the Philippines. In 2004 she was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Foundation. On her most recent of four missions to the Philippines, she was made an honorary citizen of the Town of Tagbilaran by the mayor, who hosted a tribute dinner in her honor. She and husband Bob were scheduled to make one more mission trip to Tagbilaran in February.  She was previously active in the Kansas City Leukemia Society, Vanderslice Committee and Celebrity Waters Luncheon benefits for Leukemia. She also was former volunteer at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where she was cared for during her final illness.

Nora loved cooking and attended cooking schools in France and Italy. She also loved flowers and delighted in creating beautiful arrangements, particularly orchids, as well as truly spectacular home décor each year at Christmastime.

A fitness buff she arose early in the morning for an hour on the treadmill, in addition to twice weekly workouts in the gym. She loved social gatherings, particularly costume parties, where she was noted for her creativity.

She is survived by her husband Bob, sons Freddy and Jason, Daughter Nichole, stepson Martin two sisters, 3 brothers and 5 grandchildren.  Private memorials will be held in Longboat Key and Kansas City.  Contributions in her memory to Medical Missions Foundation, 8363 Melrose Drive, Lenexa, KS  66214 are suggested.

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