1951 - 2016
Dennis White passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on the afternoon of September 22nd. His death was preceded by a prolonged battle with primary progressive aphasia, a form of front temporal lobe degeneration.
Beloved husband of Maura (Marshall) White. Devoted father of Vanessa M. White, her husband John Wentworth of Somerville, Marshall W. White, his wife Tracey of Woburn and Madison G. White of Woburn. Dear biological son of Barbara Grieve of NJ, adopted son of the late Walter P and Ruth (Farr) White. Brother of Sharon Scarvarlas of Woburn, Samuel "Ted" Knighton of VA, John Knighton, his wife Deborah of NJ, Barbara Robertson of NJ. Cherished "Grumpa" of Sadie, Arlo and Scout. Also lovingly survived by many nieces, nephews, brother and sister in laws, and friends.
Dennis will always be remembered as an outstanding member of the community, who was always ready to help anyone in need, and to support many causes that were near and dear to his heart, including the D.A.R.E. haunted house, Wyman School playground and Woburn Boys and Girls Club Teen Center, as well as several school plays, Halloween parade floats and countless acts of kindness which made a lasting impact on anyone he met.
When diagnosed, Dennis had written a few remarks to be shared upon his passing, and they appear below…
I will miss breakfast at Cousins, date nights with my lovely wife Maura, and the political satire of the Daily Show. I will not miss rampant consumerism, corrupt government officials selling our democracy to the highest bidder, racism, homophobia or the endless wars. I am most thankful for the love and support of my family and friends including my team at MGH who helped and supported my family in my battle with FTD. As well as the folks at Coieo and Jean Cantillon, who helped me with the challenges in my desire for a green burial.
I always tried to see the best in people and help wherever I could.
I'll leave you with two quotes, the first by Neal deGrasse Tyson, "I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime." And the second by Robin Williams, "The tragedy of life is not death but what dies inside us while will live."
What a long strange trip it's been….
To honor Dennis' wishes, interment will be private. Arrangements are under the direction of Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, MA 01801.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to either the FTD unit at Mass General Hospital or the Service Dog Project, both of which were a big part of Dennis' journey with PPA.
Donations to MGH can be made at https://giving.massgeneral.org/dona
Donations to the Service Dog Project can be made at www.servicedogproject.org/index.php
Published in New York Times from Sep. 28 to Sep. 29, 2016.