Nyla Marie White June 8,1923 — August 5, 2014
Nyla Marie Overseth was the daughter of Norwegian/American parents, Henry and Millie Overseth. She was born in Minneapolis and raised in Sioux Falls, with her sisters, Eileen, Lillian, May, Marilyn and brother, Jim. Henry had a small grocery and Nyla, having taught herself to drive at 13, did the deliveries and often ran the store. Restless in Depression-era South Dakota, Nyla longed to travel. As a child, she heard the song “Faraway Places with Strange-Sounding Names” and she couldn’t wait to see the world. After high school, with WWII underway, with no money to go away to college, she left for Long Beach, CA, getting a job as a secretary. After the exciting war years, she married handsome California-bred former WWII pilot and (for a brief time) actor, Fleet White. Then they were off to Hawaii for a few years, starting a family and enjoying the beach life, returning to California, where Fleet got into the oil business.
After years of raising their family, and building a business, Nyla and Fleet were able to realize many of their dreams. With Nyla’s talent for design, she loved building their dream house in Newport Beach, where they enjoyed hosting fabulous parties for friends and family. Nyla never used a decorator or caterer. She had her own vision and loved to do everything herself. The family went to Aspen to ski in the mid-sixties and Nyla, missing the changing of the seasons in California, talked Fleet into purchasing a chalet that they named “Le Petit Chalet Blanc”, which they owned from 1964 to now. They loved to host their many friends over the years and they hosted many memorable parties, especially at New Years Eve.
Nyla also finally got to travel … ski trips every year to Europe, and finally seeing all of those “Faraway Places with the Strange-Sounding Names”. Especially after Fleet’s retirement, they traveled the world, seeing every place that Nyla had ever dreamed of seeing. They also went back to Hawaii every year, and joined old friends on their barge to cruise canals in Holland and France. In her 50’s, Nyla decided to bicycle around Europe and asked her daughter, Lani, to go with her. So, for several years, on their own,they set off on their bicycle adventures … for each trip, spending four weeks bicycling, carrying everything on their bicycles and.never knowing where they would be staying each night. They bicycled through southern England, Holland, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, and then Norway, where they visited cousins and the historic family home near Oslo. Always curious, Nyla was also an adventurous traveler … excited for everything that came her way, always planning the next trip. After several bicycle trips in Europe, Nyla wanted to bicycle in China. So, Nyla and Lani joined several friends and a group from Aspen for a month of bicycling. A highlight of that trip was following the Great Wall from Beijing to the sea. Then, Nyla wanted to bicycle in Mongolia. That adventure culminated with a historic day in 1989 when they accompanied the march of students to Tiananmen Square the day before martial law was declared. It was an unforgettable day and the trip was a remarkable adventure for Nyla, who was now in her mid sixties.
With the arrival of grandchildren, Nyla and Fleet traveled a little less, and loved to finally be grandparents. They spent more time in Aspen, where daughter, Lani, had lived for many years, and to be closer to their son, Fleet Jr. and his family who lived in Boulder. After 60 years of marriage, Fleet Sr. passed away and Nyla moved full time to her favorite home that she had so lovingly decorated, her little chalet, in Aspen. She had always planned to someday make Aspen her final home. But, even with the severe macular degeneration that stole much of her sight, Nyla didn’t want to give up travel, even though she had to give up skiing, bicycling and driving. So Nyla and Lani went to Europe at Christmastime for several years, cruising the rivers of Europe at that magical time of year.
Nyla loved to spend as much time as possible with her grandchildren, watching their ski racing and piano lessons, and seeing them attend the US Naval Academy. She was proud to see them both graduated and commissioned, and now serving on ships in the Pacific. Nyla’s last illness, shortly after her 91st birthday, left her very frail, but she never lost her memories and her desire to laugh. She had an amazing, full life … hard to condense into this obituary. There was probably not much left that she had wanted to do, but hadn’t done. The problem was that she wanted to do everything again and again. Nyla, my mother, didn’t want to miss out on anything. She loved to laugh… and was always elegant, beautiful, fun-loving, generous and kind..
Nyla is survived by daughter, Lani White of Aspen; son, Fleet White Jr. of Boulder; grandson, Lt. Fleet White III, stationed in Honolulu and granddaughter, Ensign Daphne White, stationed in San Diego, sister, Marilyn of Encinitas, many beloved nieces and nephews….and her kitty, Angelique.
A celebration of Nyla’s life will be held at her home in Aspen on Saturday, August 23, from 5-7. Contact Lani with any questions (email@example.com).
— Lani White
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