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John W. White, Jr

John W. White, Jr was born August 4, 1932, in East Bank, WV, to John W White, Sr and Genevieve Brewer. He passed away on September 12, 2023, at his home in Indian Rocks Beach, FL, after he fought his final battle against Chronic Kidney Disease (Agent Orange-related). At 91, he approached this combat of Dialysis with the same courage and commitment he had applied during his military service. “No Mission Too Difficult, No Sacrifice Too Great, Duty First.”

He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife of 67 years, Frances LaRue White, son John W White, III (Jay), and brother Richard White. He is survived by his son Edward Lewis White (Lew), daughter Kyra White (Roberto Santiesteban), sister Rita (Fred) Kramer, Dolores Asbury (SIL), and many wonderful nieces/nephews and their children.

He grew up in Cabin Creek, West Virginia, and graduated from East Bank High School in 1950. He joined the National Guard at 17 years old and served ten years before being recruited into the Army for Active duty in 1960. He enjoyed his career as an Army officer for 23 years. He graduated from Flightwing Aviation (1961), Instrument Flight Course (1961), Officer Rotary Wing (1962), Aviation Officer Course (1969), Command and General Staff College (1972) and Defense Language Institute (1975). He fulfilled his dream of becoming a fixed-wing and helicopter pilot. His love of flying and instructing were the highlights of his career. John was a decorated Vietnam Veteran whose uniform was adorned with numerous medals. Among his many awards, he was most proud of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medals (28), and 2 Bronze Stars. His military career required many assignments and moves for his family. Fortunately, as a Bootstrapper, he received a degree in Economics from the Univ of Tampa in 1972.

During his career, his family considered the JUSMG/MAAG Madrid, Spain, the most incredible post. They enjoyed the experience of learning a new language, absorbing a new culture, traveling adventures, exposing themselves to new cuisines, and forging new lifetime friendships. Prior to retirement from Readiness Command, MacDill AFB, his son Lew was severely injured in an auto accident, which rendered him disabled.

Despite this devastating blow, John remained optimistic and unwavering, never complaining about his son’s misfortunes or his sacrifices. He pursued other interests, such as agriculture and building. Using recycled materials, like the windows of old airplane hangars from the AFB, was mandatory in all his building projects. Such as the greenhouse for his new nursery business, Beach Tropicals. He and his son Jay operated the company for seven years until Jay’s passing. The hills and country roads of WV were calling John and LaRue. They returned to purchase La Finca as a form of grief therapy. He used his contractor experience to build his log home and agricultural knowledge to farm, plant orchards, and grow gardens.

As a younger man, he loved to fish and hunt. A Melophile might define his music tastes. A former HS athlete, he was a passionate spectator of basketball, football, and hockey. Another hobby developed into a semi-professional Garage Sale retail /customer activity. He enjoyed all outdoor activities like boating, skiing, hiking, and national parks. John was always a good friend and conveyor of kindness; he was the real “Salt of the Earth .” We will remember his legacy as a pillar of strength, wisdom, courage, duty, and honor. His life was distinguished by love, dedication, and service to his country, family, and friends.

John and LaRue will be laid to rest on April 5, 2024, in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please refer to Veterans Funeral for donations.

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