Blogger’s note: This post actually appeared as a note in FaceBook a couple of years ago. I have made some minor modifications but basically this is the same as it appeared back then.
There are people that pass through our lives and touch us in a very special way. Bill White (or Mr. Bill, as many of us called him) was just such a man. I have probably known the Whites (no relation) since I was 11 or 12 years old. It’s strange, I knew them but we weren’t all that close really.. but as I got older I became good friends with his daughters.
When I came home from college for a “sabbatical” (that’s another story for another day), dad told me that Mr. Bill was relocating Coastal Office Equipment from down on Road St. to out on Main and may need some help. So I went and talked with Mr. Bill and he offered me a job immediately.
There are several things I remember very distinctly about working there with him. One was his trailer. He had this old beat up wooden trailer he had built out of plywood that was painted dumpster green. He had cut part of the top off to make it more aerodynamic.. it was something to behold. The funny thing was, it was perfect for carrying office furniture and folding tables and things like that. It was a great design. Another thing I remember the most was his thinking habits… anytime he was thinking about something hard, he would rub his forehead and poke his lips out. He obviously did a lot of hard thinking because I saw this a lot.
He always included me in just about everything he did related to his business.. we discussed it all. I can say without a doubt that he probably taught me more about how a business should operate than I ever learned in school. Every afternoon, at 5:00 he would lock the door and get himself a glass of wine and he and I would sit and discuss the stock market or international trade or some other business topic. I loved those conversations so much.
But all of this aside, the thing he talked to me the most about was his kids. He would go on and on about them all… Alan and PA school.. Henry and his efforts to get his CPA… Dorothy and college and Becky finishing up high school… I could tell that the four of them were truly the passion of his life.. not all this business stuff. I remember specifically helping him get his camper.. I believe it was a Terry Trailer, ready for a summer at the beach. He never spent much time down there from what I remember but I know he loved it because his kids did.
I learned just yesterday, that Mr. Bill passed away Sunday evening from a heart attack. While I haven’t seen him in many years, my heart just sank. It made me so very sad and left me with an empty feeling. If I understand it correctly, I believe all of his kids were with him for Father’s Day. How wonderful that must have been for him.
Of all the things that I learned from Mr. Bill, the love he had for his children stands out as the most important to me. I can say without a doubt that even with all of his accomplishments in life… he would tell you today that his kids were truly his pride and joy.
The world has lost one of the really good souls that has inhabited this place… and this makes me sad… but at the same time, Mr. Bill lives on.. in each of us that were fortunate enough to have had our lives touched by him. So next time I catch myself rubbing my forehead when I’m thinking hard.. I will remember you, Mr. Bill… and smile!