Apr 7, 2012, 5:08 PM
Post #1 of 38
Blue Skies, Howard White
Howard would tell me to mind my own f*cking business, but as he can't...
Our friend, Howard White, has died at home. Howard was a frequent contributor to Parachutist, his recent series on jump aircraft will be a reference text for many years to come.
Many people knew him, and he'd choose to jump with some of them. If you were among his friends, you knew where you stood, even if he hadn't been on a load with you in years.
And as he was a jumper for many years, everyone has a story... I remember the time I managed to get to the DZ before him on New Years Day, and in taking his slot, broke his "First load of the New Year" streak. I think that was 1983, but he remembered it for years. Still, he encouraged me to keep broadening my horizons, (by jumping somewhere else), and kept saying he'd make a jump with me, some other time.
This was forwarded to me in an email from Dan Poynter, probably the skydiver who knew him best. I went way back with Howie, too. He'll be missed.
Howard White began jumping at Orange Sport Parachuting Center (later Jumptown) in 1965 and soon joined the instruction staff.
A graduate of Harvard University, he attended the Monterey Language School and studied Russian while in the Service.
He served USPA as Northeast Conference director in the 70s and as editor of Parachutist magazine on an interim basis after USPA moved to Washington. He chaired the Historical Committee of the Parachute Industry Association.
He was a newspaper reporter for the Boston Globe and the Quincy Patriot Ledger. Later he did public relations work for the University of Massachusetts.
Howie was an avid SCUBA diver and active skydiver.
Howard was the most exasperating, opinionated, grouchy and caring jumper I ever knew. One minute he'd be bitching about jumpers, and then he'd make a comment that showed that he really knew and cared for a lot of us much better than he let on.
One of my favorite jumps with Howard was at Pepperell, MA where we did a 3 Cessna 12 way for Tim Cronk's 1,000th jump. Howard kept telling me that he wished there were some more people around so he wouldn't have to jump with us, and that we'd never complete the 12-way star. Despite having some problems getting all three Cessnas onto a decent formation, we made the 12-way (but not the second point, as I recall) and Howard was whooping as much as the rest of us when we landed.
Then he tried to get beer out of me, betting that I'd probably never been on a successful 3 Cessna jump before.
(This post was edited by donno on Apr 7, 2012, 7:40 PM)
At the 2007 PIA Symposium in Reno I put out an invitation in the Bonfire for DZ.commers at the event to meet for an early breakfast at the coffee shop. Howard was the first one there. I had conversed with him numerous times in the forums prior to that and it was great to finally meet him in person. I ran into him countless times after that in Reno, at that event and the next two, in his capacity as symposium photographer. At the 2008 Barcelona event, he made a remark about his taxpayer's dollars sending me to Spain . . . I told him "mine too" which raised a smile.
His efforts as a parachuting historian were invaluable, especially on the subject of skydiving aircraft. He was a frequent contributor to the History & Trivia Forum and I was always impressed with just how consistently involved he had been in our sport for so many years.
I only met him at the last PIA convention in Reno. Had a short conversation and he was that crotchety curmudgeon. But you could see in his eyes that he was genuinely having fun playing the character. His knowledge and stories will be missed.