Mr. Jack B. White, 95, died on Sunday, November 1, 2009 after a brief illness. Funeral Services are scheduled for 2:00 P.M., Friday, November 6, 2009 at Fain Presbyterian Church with Rev. Rhodes Stipp officiating. Burial will follow at Crestview Memorial Park Cemetery under the direction of Lunn's Colonial Funeral Home.
He was born on August 18, 1914 in Carson, Iowa. In the winter of 1918 he lost both his parents on consecutive days because of an epidemic then known as the Spanish Flu and was raised by his aunt and uncle. He graduated from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa in 1936 with a degree in Business Administration. In July of the same year he married his college sweetheart, Ruth Lindsay of Ida Grove, Iowa. They settled in Estherville, Iowa where he became a part of the local business community, as the owner of a locker plant, providing an essential service in the years before the appearance of home freezers. During their years in Estherville, Jack and Ruth became active members of the First Presbyterian Church until they left the city in 1965. Jack was a member of the local Elks lodge and began a life-long fascination with golf as a member of the Estherville Country Club. He was very active in community affairs, serving two terms on the city council followed by his election as mayor. As mayor he became very active in the Iowa State Association of Mayors and also served as the head of the Northwest Iowa Mayors’ Association. In 1965 he accepted a position at the University of Iowa as Assistant and later Associate Director of the university Testing Service. As the chief administrator of the testing service, Jack introduced a number of innovations, which were an enormous aid to the faculty of the university. He also supervised the administration of the many general examinations required of modern college students such as the ACT and SAT. His work in test administration became so highly regarded that he was asked to serve as an expert on test security by the Educational Testing Service of Princeton, New Jersey, the creator of the SATs. Throughout his life Jack was an avid sports fan. He was a passionate supporter of the University of Iowa athletic programs, especially football. He was a friend of many of the coaches. He was also an extremely devoted and knowledgeable fan of baseball, so much so that before the expansion of major league baseball in the 1950s, he had seen games in every one of the old ball parks. Once he retired, he especially enjoyed watching the Cubs and the Braves.
In 1979, Jack and Ruth retired from their positions at the University of Iowa and moved to Wichita Falls to be close to their son and daughter with their grandchildren who live in Texas. In retirement, Jack sharpened his already formidable golf game and, with his wife, became very much involved with a number of bridge groups. Both were avid card players and after his wife’s death, Jack focused on playing Duplicate Bridge, which he loved. Those who knew him well quickly learned that he was a fierce competitor. In the 1990s, he developed Parkinson’s disease, which came to undermine him more and more physically. It ultimately forced him to give up the golf he loved and eventually to give up bridge. During his entire life Jack developed a wide circle of friends which he maintained over many years. Jack made a point of always remaining in contact with the friends he had made throughout his entire life although eventually they were scattered all over the United States. He and his college roommate remained in contact even to the end. In Wichita Falls, he and his wife became members of Fain Presbyterian Church where they made many new friends and where Jack later served as an Elder. The increasing problems caused by his Parkinson’s made it more and more difficult for him to continue his active involvement in the church, but his interest in the congregation never waned and his faith was a constant part of his life. He was deeply involved in the lives and achievements of every member of his family from those of his children to the latest news about his youngest great-grandchild. Jack generously shared his optimism, joy, unconditional love and encouragement with all that came in contact with him. Mr. White was preceded in death by his parents, John Thomas and Pearl (Bodyfelt) White, and by his wife, Ruth, of over sixty-two years who died in early 1998.
He is survived by his son John and wife Ann of Cypress, Texas and daughter Susan and her husband James R. (Dick) King of Wichita Falls. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Jack and Laurie White of Chadds Ford, PA.; William and Kristen White of Gilroy, CA.; Stephen and Elaine White of Spring, TX: Gregory and Maggie King of Wichita Falls; and by Sara (King) and Brian Tork of Geneva, Ill. There are eight great-grandchildren: John, Matthew, Lindsay, Mikaela, David, Rachel, Mary, and Jack Henry.
The family will be at the funeral home 6-7 P.M. Thursday, November 5, 2009 for visitation.
If desired, memorials in his name may be made to the Hospice of Wichita Falls or to Presbyterian Manor.