Earl E. White

June 20, 1944 – July 15, 2022 RIVERSIDE Earl Eugene White went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on July 15, 2022. Earl, called “Buddy” by those who knew him since childhood, died unexpectedly at home. He was 78. Earl was born on June 20, 1944, in the small town of Wilmington, in Southwestern Ohio. When he was nine, he moved with his mother to Tampa, Florida. After living in a boarding house owned by his grandmother, he grew up in public housing. He was the oldest of four children and the only boy. His mother and grandmother were the stable influences in his life and loved him unconditionally. His grandmother helped raise him, teaching him how to read and fish. Both his mother and grandmother taught him the importance of working hard. He had an afternoon paper route on his bicycle. Later, he worked after school and on weekends at an open-air fruit stand. After graduating from Jefferson High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army for three years. He earned the prestigious Soldier of the Month award for his company, was a paratrooper with 36 jumps, and served with the elite 187th Airborne “Rakkasans” Reconnaissance Combat team, which later became a part of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. While he was in the Army, his mother and stepfather moved to Gainesville, Florida. He was offered a promotion if he would re-enlist, but he chose instead to join the Gainesville Police Department. He was a patrol officer and a community relations officer and, by age 23, bought a home and reached what many considered middle-class respectability. In 1968, at University Baptist Church, he made a profession of faith in Jesus. He taught children’s Sunday School and volunteered with Heritage Christian School. The first in his direct family line to receive a higher education, he studied at Santa Fe Junior College, did a semester at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, and returned to Gainesville to complete his bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Florida. In 1972, he graduated as a proud Florida Gator with high honors and membership in the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. At first, he worked in public relations for the Florida Farm Bureau, where he got to travel to every county in the state. After three years, he became an insurance agent. He was named Rookie Agent of the Year and won trips to Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands. Starting in 1976, he lived on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, where he enjoyed fishing and selling insurance for Farm Bureau and then Nationwide and volunteering with The Gideons International. In 1985, he returned to Gainesville, where he sold insurance for Allstate and then State Farm and volunteered with the Ronald McDonald House, the House of Hope, and the American Cancer Society. He remained in Gainesville until his mother died in 2006. The next year, he moved to California to be near his children. Always up for adventure, he took a cross-country road trip with his daughter to relocate to Long Beach. He worked in insurance until he retired and settled in Riverside. In 2008, he suffered a minor stroke and stopped driving on freeways. But he still liked traveling, including sight-seeing in San Francisco and the Giant Sequoias and visiting family in Florida and South Carolina. He regularly read the newspaper and drank coffee with friends at Starbucks, Subway, and Yum Yum Donuts, all on Riverside’s Arlington Avenue. And he had fun playing with his grandchildren. He is survived by his children, Chip (Becky) of Greer, South Carolina, Ginger of Long Beach, California, and Jon (Jen) of La Verne, California; grandchildren, Caleb and Olivia White, and Ellie White; two sisters, Patty Sue Trout Ludwick of Hillsboro, Ohio, and Doris Jean Wilks of Gainesville, Florida; and an aunt, Maude Alice Whitfield (Harold) of Spring Hill, Florida. He was predeceased by his grandmother, Ellen Holcomb; mother and stepfather, Jean and Howard Walker; and a sister, Mary Lou Trout.

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