Barry County Coroner Questionnaire: Skip White, Independent
1. Why do you want the position of coroner?
Barry County deserves the most professional and educated person for this position - one with compassion and educated in death, investigative and crime scene investigation. I feel I have the most education of the campaign candidates. Through the years, I have witnessed every type of death from commercial airline crashes to sudden heart attacks.
2. What makes you more qualified than your opponents?
I am a licensed funeral director in the four-state area; a high school graduate; a graduate of the St. Louis University School of Death Investigation; a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago, Illinois; a graduate of Missouri Southern State University Police Academy; I attended Truman State University; I attend annual classes for Coroners and Medical Examiners; and I have attended annual continuing education classes for Coroners and Medical Examiners.
3. What types of training do you have that apply to the position?
When I was the elected Barry County Coroner, I attended all annual cases mandated by the Missouri Coroners Association, which is a requisite to any coroner receiving a salary from his/her individual county.
4. Do you have any experience in crime scene investigation?
I have 50 years education in the funeral home industry, including funeral homes in St. Joseph, Joplin, and St. Louis, Missouri. During the last thirty years, I have worked closely with coroners and medical examiners all over the State of Missouri, but especially in southwest Missouri, and have been present at numerous autopsies.
5. How will you determine which funeral home will take in deceased persons?
This is the most important question for me. I do not feel the Coroner should make the determination of which funeral home will serve the family of the decedent – that is a decision the family should make. I feel the First Responders, if available, should ask the family which funeral home they desire; I do not feel this has been the past policy. In other words, if someone passes away in Monett, the family will probably want a Monett funeral home to take care of their loved one – I will see that is done!
6. How will you determine if an autopsy is needed?
I will take into consideration the opinion of law enforcement, my opinion, and the family’s opinion.
7. Are you able to manage your time in a way to be available as needed during any hours?
I am available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and have been for more than fifty years.
8. What changes do you plan to make to the office, if any?
Families will be given the option of their choice of area funeral homes – their opinion will be final and followed to the letter.
9. What would be your approach to delivering the news of a loved one’s death?
This is an important issue for families. The informant needs to be compassionate and professional at the same time. I have often, when I know the people are elderly, taken an ambulance with me to the house or a member of the clergy. I have never given notice to a family by telephone, never. If it is an out-of-county death, I will call the law enforcement center of their residence and see if they will notify the family. If elected I will see that the next of kin is notified in a caring, compassionate way before any decisions are made. In closing, I have always tried very hard to work with nursing home, hospitals, and hospice organizations. I try to be very helpful and courteous, no matter of the time of day or night I’m contacted as to a death.