William “Bill” H. White, 89, passed away Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, at his home surrounded by his family. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Bill was born June 27, 1931, in Vernal, Utah, to Henry Howard White and Dorothy Etta Barger White. As a child he moved many places. After living a short time in Vernal, Utah, the family moved to Wyoming; Dover (Sandpoint), Idaho; Maybell, Colo.; Port Gamble, Wash.; Kodiak, Alaska; Eureka Springs, Ark.; Thompson Falls, Mont.; and then in 1946 the family moved to Big Island, Idaho, where Bill finished his high school lessons by correspondence, as he was a bright student, even being able to skip the second grade. Numerous times he snowshoed out to catch the logging trains into Pierce to get new lessons. After finishing his schooling, he helped his parents on the ranch and worked in the woods for several companies. While ranching, he and his parents found a pair of orphaned bear cubs they raised. The one cub would often climb the tree and into Bill’s bedroom and sleep with him, just like a live teddy bear.
In 1951, he entered the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War, where his interest in electronics lead him into the Signal Corps and a chance to serve as a combat photographer. Some of his photos were featured in Stars and Stripes. After his military service he returned to the family ranch at Big Island on the North Fork.
In 1957, he married Jean Wilson. They lived around Revling and Pierce for a brief time, where Bill worked for various logging contractors. The couple then moved back to the family ranch at Big Island, where Bill and his father built a house for the young family. They had two children, Terry and Saundra.
In 1964, the family had an opportunity to purchase a ranch on Crockett Bench in Orofino and more cattle. Needing a larger income, Bill took a job as a postal clerk at the Orofino Post Office (1968), where he worked for many years before retiring in 1991.
He then spent more time working on the ranch and traveling with his wife and friends. Bill loved cruising and sightseeing. They traveled to Costa Rica, Panama Canal, South America, Spain, Morocco, Tahiti, Jamaica and many trips to Alaska. He also went on a photo safari to South Africa, where they saw many sights.
Bill’s photographic interest and talents carried over to life back home after his Army photographer experience. He was a devoted 4-H photography leader, took many senior and wedding pictures, and was often seen taking photos of the 4-H members and their animals at the Clearwater County Fair. Bill also loved amateur (ham) radio. He enjoyed talking on his ham radio and participated in many field days and events with the local Ham Radio Club. Bill had radio contacts with friends around the globe and with the space shuttle. He loved classical musical, especially operas. He and Jean were very active in the formation of the Community Concert Association. Bill also loved the outdoors and was a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and organizations, including Defender of Wildlife and Sierra Club, where he loved the beautiful pictures. Bill also served on the Clearwater County Fair board, the Clearwater Soil and Water Conservation District and even ran for county commissioner one year.
Bill will always be remembered as a loving, dedicated husband and father. He is survived by his wife, Jean; son Terry, of Orofino; daughter Saundra, of Issaquah, Wash.; granddaughter Whitney Rales; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.