School 13
Official Obituary of

John R. White

March 8, 2022

John White Obituary

John R. White


Family and friends celebrated the life of John Robert White who died peacefully on March 8, 2022. As fearless as he was principled, he lived his 88 years to the fullest.

A native of New York City, a U.S. Army veteran, and a longtime resident of Natick, MA, and Wolfeboro, NH, White forged an illustrious career in print journalism, culminating in 20 years at the Boston Globe.

White created the concept of the automotive column, defining its place in journalistic history. His Sunday column’s populist approach gained him a wide following among all sectors of the news-reading public. Infused with historical and personal anecdotes, his car reviews not only provided prospective buyers with key information, but also engaged automotive experts, fellow journalists, and critics in a conversation about the role of the car in our daily lives. 

During his years at the Globe, White tested vehicles all over the U. S. and Europe. White was widely regarded as an expert in his field and was well respected in both the automotive and journalistic milieu. White actively served his Natick community while raising his two children with his wife, Ruth. He staunchly supported his children’s education and interests, particularly music performance and the German exchange program. As a volunteer soccer coach, his brand of egalitarian empowerment inspired his children and their teammates. He served on several boards of transportation and history museums in and around New England.

Retiring to Wolfeboro in 2000, White became deeply involved in local Democratic politics. A passionate advocate for the underserved, he ran multiple times as a local candidate, while avidly supporting the candidacies of other local Democrats. White served as chair of the Wolfeboro Democrats for several years. He was a regular figure in Wolfeboro’s Fourth of July Parade. Shortly before his death, White had been working to help found an organization to aid local homeless veterans. 

White filled his retirement with artistic as well as political activity. He pursued woodworking and ship and airplane model building projects to the sounds of classical radio. He was a regular patron of local adult education programs, enrolling in everything from German language classes to sewing to photography. He exhibited works from his body of still life and aerial photography at the Wolfeboro Public Library. White regularly attended classical music performances, and also performed at local Tuba Christmas events. His passion for music began with an inspirational teacher at Cardinal Hayes High School in Manhattan, White’s alma mater. 

A life-long voracious reader, White lived his desire to “know everything worth knowing:” a true Renaissance man.

John White is survived by his ex-wife Ruth Behrens White of Natick, MA; his son J. Christopher White of Norwood, MA; his daughter and son-in-law Hilary and Steven Reis and grandson Gareth Reis of New York City; his brother and sister-in-law George and Joan White of New York City; his niece and nephew-in-law Adrienne and John Wing and their children Daniel, Noelani, Kiera, and Alexandra Wing, all of New York City. Donations in White’s memory may be made to Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, Owl’s Head, Maine, or to the Wright Museum of World War II, Wolfeboro, NH.

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