THOMAS J. WHITE, of Mayfield Heights, OH, died peacefully on March 24, 2020, with his wife of 57 years, Esther, by his side. He was 84.
He is survived by his wife Esther, sons Lloyd and wife Kathy (maiden Hudnall) of Pittsburgh, and Jeffrey and wife Carolyn (maiden Tolar) of Fort Worth, grandsons, Seth and Nathaniel (of Pittsburgh), and Christopher and Nicholas (of Fort Worth), sister Barbara and her husband John Gondorchin (of Tallmadge OH), niece Helen Gondorchin (of Olmsted Falls OH) and nephew Frank Gondorchin (of Batavia IL) and extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Mayme White (Ashtabula OH).
Tom was known for his congenial nature, avid enthusiast of physical fitness, interests in history, heritage and ancestry, and a good sense of humor. He was a life-long Lutheran.
Tom was born on March 30, 1935 in Lynbrook, Long Island, NY. He graduated from Harbor High School (Ashtabula OH, class of 1953), served two years in the U.S. Army (in Toul France), and graduated from Valparaiso University (1963).
Tom married Esther (Dunlavy) on December 29, 1962 in Ashtabula OH. He and Esther spent their next 57 years of marriage building a family, providing opportunities for many memories, and making friends in several cities as Tom spent his career with the YMCA. His first position was as Physical Director in the Valparaiso Indiana YMCA, followed by positions as Physical Director at the West Side YMCA of Cleveland and Hillcrest YMCA in Lyndhurst. He accepted a position as Physical and Athletic Club Director in the Downtown Canton YMCA, where he organized and started the Canton Marathon. He moved on to Executive Director positions in the Franklin PA YMCA, the North Hills YMCA of Pittsburgh and the Hillcrest YMCA, in Lyndhurst. He retired in 1996 after 33 years of service with the YMCA in a position overseeing the Hillcrest, Heights and Euclid YMCA branches. While in each of these communities Tom also was an active member in various Lutheran churches where he accepted leadership roles. He was a Rotarian in Pittsburgh, and a Kiwanian in Franklin PA and Lyndhurst, OH. During his lifetime he logged over 33,000 miles running throughout these communities.
He spent retirement enjoying travelling with his wife Esther, visiting grandchildren, studying the French language (including trips to French speaking locations), exercising several hours each day, volunteering with the Hillcrest Meals on Wheels and Kiwanis, was an active member of Our Savior Lutheran Church (Mayfield Heights) and later was accepted into membership of the VFW post in Willoughby Hills, OH.
Tom connected well with people of all ages throughout his lifetime in meaningful ways, and in the process left some very interesting memories and took on a few interesting challenges. For instance, Esther's father allowed him to go on their first date only after challenging him to get out of a wrestling hold. His suit was mighty wrinkled for his first date. He appreciated a firm hand-shake, and had creative hand-shakes with grandchildren. His ability to connect with people extended into his later years as he was still making relationships with caregivers at the nursing home.
We especially appreciate the kindness and attention given by his caregivers in the nursing home. We witnessed how he interacted with you, and know that the friendly banter was consistent with what he did with people he liked throughout his lifetime.
Tom will be greatly missed by family and friends, but we know he is now free from the physical limitations that he experienced in his decline in the past several years.
The date of his memorial service will be announced at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in his memory to Our Savior Lutheran Church (2154 SOM Center Road, Mayfield Heights OH 44124), Hillcrest Family YMCA (5000 Mayfield Road, Lyndhurst OH 44124) or Hillcrest Meals on Wheels (1341 Parkview Drive, Lyndhurst OH 44124).