John Murray White, 45, died Sunday, Nov. 26, while kayaking on Skegemog Lake, a great pastime of his. John will be remembered for his loving nature; he loved his children deeply, loved his family and friends and he loved the outdoors. He was a wonderful son to his parents. He was a man who loved deeply and loved large. John brought happiness and light to your life.
He played with his youngest, Sam, 4, with the utmost of patience and carried him on his shoulders with ease. He went fishing with his 13 year old son Murray in all kinds of weather. He never missed a concert or a dance team performance for his 16 year old daughter Olivia.
In high school John discovered his passion for soccer and excelled, he laughed and smiled all the time on the field. He was able to share his love for the game while coaching Murray and Olivia in soccer and would have coached Sam when the time came. He was a dad, above all.
He bragged, and rightly so, about his children and his cherries, peaches and apples. This summer, for the first time, he handed out samples of SweeTangos at the Farmers' Market. A better ambassador couldn't be found. His smiling face and joyful demeanor invited people to stop and taste. He liked nothing better than to hear how people enjoyed the rich cherries grown on the family farm; but was never boastful.
When the apples were plentiful, he would share them with organizations, Norte specifically, that would pass them on to children and adults. He was an advocate of biking and spent many hours with Sam on the balance bike going down the street or the VASA trails. For years he, along with his children, participated in the Watershed Center's annual Stream Search Project. He carried Sam on his back with Murray and Olivia at his side as they monitored streams in the Williamsburg area. John loved the outdoors and taught his children to respect and enjoy the same.
There is a saying if you can count on one hand five good friends, then you are lucky. John had so many good friends, his hands were full. He was a man that cared so deeply and loved so large that people knew John Murray White was a person you wanted as a friend. We will miss you but will feel you in the wind in our faces, see you in the smiles of your children and remember when we look at the cherry and apple blossoms.
He is survived by his children, Olivia, Murray and Sam White; his parents, Jack and Barbara White, of Elk Rapids; sisters, Betty (Robin) Tezak, Jean (Pat) Derenzy, Joann (Eli) Brown; and brothers, David (Kathleen), William (Anne), Doug (Michelle) Paul (Stacey) White; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Please share your thoughts and memories of John with his family by way of his online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
Those wishing an expression of sympathy are encouraged to direct contributions to Norte Youth Cycling, P.O. Box 781, Traverse City, MI 49685 or online at www.elgruponorte.org/johnwhite.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Elk Rapids, with a visitation beginning at 3 p.m. A celebration of John's life will be held at Timber Ridge Campground Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The family is being cared for by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on December 5, 2017