“Never met a man I didn’t like.” John Louis White, Jr. was an infinite source of laughter, generosity, and love, to literally thousands of people. His passing on July 29, 2022, has left an enormous void in our hearts. John came into the world on July 9, 1949, the second child and oldest son of John L. White, Sr., and Helen Grace Cracroft White.
He grew up in Rose Park, Utah, and made many friends before moving to Bountiful, Utah, when he was ten. There he became a cheerleader and major heartthrob at Bountiful High School and increased his friends exponentially. Once you are John’s friend, you are friends for life. After attending Utah State University for a year, John served a two-year LDS mission in Anaheim, California-which he called the “Disneyland Mission.” While serving, John made more lasting friends, learned incredible organizational skills, and developed a deep and abiding testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which he shared boldly and with humor and great love. He served in many volunteer church roles-Bishoprics, Stake and Ward Young Men’s organizations, teacher, leader, Boy Scout advisor, and sent off over a hundred missionaries as a mission prep teacher. John opened up new visions, showing what could be done in these assignments. And without judgment or an agenda, he served others with love and laughter. If you needed consoling or celebrating, John was there with a hug, a hand-written card, a twenty-or one-hundred-dollar bill, theater tickets, a meal, a joke, or the name of another friend in his vast network who could help. He did whatever was needed to love and serve everyone he came in contact with, no matter their age or background.
Returning from his mission, he attended the University of Utah, worked with his dad at Westinghouse Electric Corporation, and married Merlyn Winifred Smith in the Salt Lake City Temple. They lived in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Bountiful, Farmington, and were blessed with four amazing sons and a darling daughter. After divorcing his first wife, John married Rae Ann Sanderson, daughter of William (deceased) and Donna Sanderson, again in the Salt Lake Temple. Another daughter and son joined their family. They lived in Bountiful, and John coached sports teams, attended concerts and musicals, helped with homework, provided a gathering place with endless fun and food, captained many water-skiing trips, and supported every interest-from sports and music lessons to college and honeymoons. John provided wise advice and boundless love to all his children. They adore their father as he adored them.
John was always an outstanding salesman and-in 1991-he founded John White & Associates, his own electrical manufacture rep. company, which he led for decades. He was very successful, while also helping others succeed and reach their dreams. He was a generous employer-making countless donations, sending employees to Hawaii, or helping someone in need. Many of his deepest relationships were with distributor and contractor friends he made during his fifty years in the electrical industry. Countless numbers can tell of their favorite experiences with John, many of which occurred on the golf course. He was involved with several industry organizations, including the Intermountain Electrical Association, where he served as the president and a board member multiple times. John was often the hilarious MC at many of their gatherings. As busy as his work kept him, John also made time to serve on the board of Westfield Academy and the Juvenile Diabetes Association. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the annual “Festival of Trees” for thirty years, which raises funds for Primary Children’s Hospital. And again, in every organization, John made many lasting friends.
John loved Broadway theater and would visit New York a couple of times a year to see the newest plays. He had season tickets to Capital Theater, Pioneer Memorial Theater, Hale Center Theater, and Centerpoint Theater, purchased in sets of four or more, and would often call family and friends to attend with him. He saw the musical performance of Les Misérables over forty times. John was passionate about music of all kinds. He knew all the words to numerous musicals, such as Camelot, Grease, Phantom, Wicked, and Hamilton. And he could recite virtually all the lyrics from the Beach Boys, the Beatles, John Denver, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, and countless other artists. Music fed his soul, and he often shared playlist tapes with others. He especially loved hearing his sons play at their gigs. John was a passionate lover of the arts and beauty-beautiful scenery, athletic feats, golf shots, food, Hawaii, film and TV, comedy, the performing arts, and especially humanity-and greeted them all with contagious enthusiasm, energy, and humor that would send even the most reticent person rolling on the floor with laughter. Whenever anyone asked John how he was doing, he would say, “Living the dream,” or sometimes he would playfully reply, “Just fat, dumb, and happy.”
And John loved, loved, loved his sixteen grandchildren. He would do anything for them, and they adored him. He was so proud of every accomplishment, great or small; they were the stars in his universe. He attended virtually all their sports games, music and dance performances, plays, and birthday celebrations.
John had a profound respect and adoration for his parents and was an incredible son to them. He was proud to have his dad’s name and gave his dad the thrill of a lifetime by taking him to golf at Pebble Beach. As a kid, John would bring home friends at night-sometimes after midnight-and his Mom would slice up the Sunday roast to make steaks for all. He kept her supplied with beautiful clothing, perfume, theater tickets, kitchen appliances, and Garden Gate toffee throughout her life. And again, with endless love and laughter. He grew up in a family of nine kids. His siblings became accustomed to being known to people everywhere as John White’s sister or brother. They have remained very close through the years and were often the recipients of John’s trips or theater tickets, his warm hugs, and his incredible, fascinating, and hilarious stories. He is survived and mourned by his eight siblings and their spouses, whom he also loved: Carolyn and Mark Zaugg, Lee and Marilyn White, Kash and Russ Castleberry, Dave and Julie White, Rich and Carolyn White, Laurie and Boone (deceased) Hulet, Julie and Randy Holmgren, and Paul and Suzanne White. To his siblings, John was a constant source of strength, the leader of his extended family, the reader of the Christmas story during the holidays, a fun and supportive uncle to their children, the provider of insights and laughter and mouth-watering tri-tip barbecue-and their lives will never be the same without him.
He is also survived by his dear wife Rae Ann; her mother Donna Sanderson; her brother Robert Sanderson and his wife, LeAnn, and her brother Gordon Sanderson and his wife, Jan; as well as John’s kids and their spouses (whom John treated as his own children): Joshua and Rachel White, Highland; Jake and Jonessa White, Alpine; Jared and Jenny White, Bountiful; Jason and Heather White, Kaysville; Jenny Lyn White, Farmington; Jessica and John Kinchen, Houston, Texas; Johnny (John Louis White III) and Lauren White, Bountiful. Their dad was their anchor, their champion, and fulfiller of dreams-and will continue to give them strength and support and love eternally.
And finally, he is survived by a multitude of people for whom John was “the best friend ever.” And that includes practically everyone he has ever met. John knew no strangers. John considered every person he came in contact with-whether on an elevator, subway, or walking on the street-as important and interesting and worthy of his friendship and attention. Nearly every day, John connected with many friends on the phone, over lunch, on the golf course, or at an event. He made life a never-ending party. And the driving force and theme of his life was love and service to others. John had recently told his brothers that he would want his funeral to be a celebration. So if you are one of those friends, even though you join us in feeling devastated by the loss of our Johnny Boy, we encourage you to share a funny story with his family; sing a song or watch a play with someone who needs a lift; slip a twenty into a handshake; tell a story that makes people laugh so hard they cry; send someone a fifty-pound gift basket; console a friend while relishing a medium steak served with salmon or shrimp; make someone’s birthday or family’s Christmas special, as John would have done. And give thanks that John White was in your life.
Please join us for a celebration of his life. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 6, 2022, at Bountiful Orchard LDS Stake Center, 3599 Orchard Drive, Bountiful, Utah. A viewing will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Friday, August 5, 2022, at Russon Mortuary, 295 N. Main Street, Bountiful, Utah, and another viewing for family and out-of-towners will be from 9:00-10:30 a.m. at the church prior to services.
Broadcast link to view the Memorial and Celebration: http://funeral.johnwhite.com
In lieu of flowers please send donations to Primary Children’s Hospital: http://donate.johnwhite.com
Please Join the “Loved Ones of John White” Facebook Group by going here: http://johnwhite.com