Long time photographic researcher and author Jack White passed away on June 18. This obituary appears on the site of the Poage Library at Baylor University which houses and had digitized many of his papers. The collections of Penn Jones, Jr., Robert Cutler and other JFK assassination researchers reside at the Library as well. We visit the collection annually as part of our COPA conferences in Dallas. Ben Rogers, curator, is a regular speaker at COPA events.
JACK D. WHITE (1927-2012)
Jack D. White, 85, passed away Monday, June 18, 2012. Funeral: 3:30 p.m. Thursday in Mount Olivet Chapel. Interment: Mount Olivet Cemetery. Visitation: 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Mount Olivet Funeral Home. Memorials: Those desiring to honor Jack’s memory may contribute to a TCU Journalism Department scholarship fund or a charity of choice.
Jack was born Jan. 17, 1927, in San Angelo, moving to Fort Worth with his parents, John Nathan White and Billie Lorena Dumas White, shortly after his birth. Graduating from Carter-Riverside High School in 1944, he worked briefly for the Fort Worth Press covering high school sports under the legendary sports editor H.H. “Pop” Boone. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and while serving attended Stanford University in the ROTC program. Discharged in 1946, Jack entered Texas Christian University, graduating in 1949 with a B.A. in journalism and began an advertising career as copywriter and art director at Yates Advertising Agency.
In 1954, he joined Witherspoon and Ridings Public Relations Agency, which later became Witherspoon and Associates, as the firm’s first art director. During his 27 years with the agency he rose to vice president, executive art director, personnel manager and part owner. He specialized in design and photography. Although he had photographed the city since the 1950s, he began collecting Fort Worth photographs seriously in 1972 when Witherspoon was planning the 100th anniversary for one of its clients and he was in charge of acquiring copies of historical prints of Fort Worth. After the event he took care to preserve all the exhibit materials and during the next 20 years he reproduced other client’s historical photographs and took hundreds of pictures to add to the collection.
Jack retired from Witherspoon in 1981 and formed his own company, Jack White Enterprises, specializing in free-lance art and photography. Taking two new partners in 1984, the firm’s name changed to VJS Companies. In 1991, he again became a sole proprietor. Because of his interest in Fort Worth history, he spearheaded a group of local historians and launched an internet website, which he named “The Way We Were,” to display and research old photos of the city.
Another of Jack’s interest has been the study of the John F. Kennedy assassination, serving as a photographic consultant to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Assassinations during its hearings, as well a consultant on the JFK film. He produced two videotapes on his photographic studies of the assassination and developed a slide lecture, while contributing his research to books and professional journals. Jack’s collection of JFK assassination books and materials and his old Fort Worth photographs have been donated to UTA Library’s Special Collections where they are accessible to those interested.
Jack married the former Sue Benningfield in 1969 and in 1977 they were instrumental in reactivating their neighborhood home owners association. He served as president for several years. He painted many works of art which hang in private collections and adorn the walls of his modern home, as well as a large painting of the Fort Worth skyline on display at the Fort Worth Public Library. He was an avid TCU alumnus and until last year had not missed a home football or basketball game since 1946. He enjoyed yard work and raising tomatoes, which he happily supplied his friends.
Survivors: Wife, Sue; cousins, Pat O’Neal of Fort Worth, Laura O’Neal Tauzel of Arlington, Larry O’Neal of Fort Worth, Nancy Robbins of Denton and Shirley Hurley of Haltom City; and a host of wonderful friends.
View the Jack White Papers in Poage Library, at:
Jack White link on our home page: http://www.baylor.edu/lib/poage/
Baylor University ~ W. R. Poage Legislative Library
One Bear Place 97153 ~ Waco, TX 76798
254.710.3540 ~ FAX 254.710.3059