Katherine Anne “Kit” Rowett White, 56, longtime Rumson and Leonardo resident, died on Tuesday, September 19 at the Tidewell Hospice Center in Sarasota after a valiant battle with cancer. Born at Monmouth Medical Center, Kit was the fourth of six children of Howard “Pete” and Eileen Rowett of Rumson.
In 1976, she graduated from Rumson Country Day School, where both of her parents taught. She graduated from Rumson-Fair Haven High School in 1979 and attended Brandywine College and Widener University before graduating from Rutgers University.
Kit worked as a server at several area restaurants, including Mike and Jay’s in Red Bank, where she made and maintained lifelong friends.
In a story she loved to tell, Kit Rowett White met her future husband in London, courtesy of the late Clarence Clemons, a renowned member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. In 1985 Kit was visiting her sister Liz in England to see the band when Clemons, dining at the Hard Rock Café with the band, offered tickets and backstage passes to the Jersey girls. Liz then enlisted Hard Rock Café chef and floor manager Perry White to be her sister’s blind date. The concert and the date were a huge success; Kit and Perry were married on September 24, 1988 at Holy Cross Church in Rumson. A rousing beach reception was held at the Driftwood Beach Club in Sea Bright. Their son Lian Michael was born in 1991 and daughter Kaila Anne in 1993.
Kit worked in sales for Allstate Insurance and York Jersey Underwriters, both in Monmouth County before moving to Florida in 2001. In Sarasota, she was self-employed in life and health insurance sales, where her outgoing nature flourished. Perry White was a well-known contractor in Monmouth County and runs Rock Solid Building in Sarasota.
Kit loved many types of music, from Jersey rock to Broadway show tunes, and was an avid Springsteen fan from his earliest days. She was also a New York Giants and Yankees fan, though she supported the Baltimore Orioles during their spring trainings at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. She was a devoted dog lover and was remembered for walks on Leonardo beach with her Labrador Bo and, in recent years, for walks through Arlington Park in Sarasota with her Labrador Nicky.
Kit left lasting impressions on those who knew her for decades and those who knew her briefly or met her online through shared interests. While many did not know of her illness, the outpouring was widespread in her final days. She received hundreds of messages of love and support from the U.S. and England.
She was extremely sociable, and always went out of her way to welcome outsiders into a group. She was a registered notary and was proud to have officiated at several weddings in Florida.
In addition to her husband and children, Kit is survived by her mother, Eileen Rowett-Brons of Sarasota, Florida; her brother, Howard “Ted” Rowett of Annapolis, Maryland; three sisters, Victoria Rowett of Sarasota, Florida, Christine Peter of Baltimore, Maryland, and Theresa Rowett of Sarasota, Florida; eight nephews; two nieces; and friends and loved ones across the country and in England. Her father died in 1977; her sister, Liz, died in 2010.
In lieu of flowers, Kit’s family requests gifts in her name be made to Clean Ocean Action in New Jersey or the Humane Society in Sarasota, Florida. There is no immediate service planned, so they ask friends to toast her life in a way you think she would approve. Details on a formal celebration at her beloved Jersey Shore in the coming weeks will follow.
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