Wayne White, age 98 of rural Tennessee, Illinois, formerly of Colchester, passed away at the home of his daughter on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, surrounded by the love of his family at his side. He was born August 9, 1922, in Littleton, Illinois, to Erwin N. and Georgianna Winters White. Wayne was united in marriage April 18, 1942, in Kahoka, Missouri, to Bette Jane Wayland, she preceded him in death on August 13, 1995.
Surviving to mourn his passing are his children: Dr. Dennis (Cathy) White, Westminster, Colorado, JoAnne (John) Churchill, Tennessee, Illinois, and Cheryl (Dr. Harry) Krauspe, Elburn, Illinois. All of his grandchildren and great grandchildren begged him to play "open the gate" as they rode on his back for hours and he would try to buck them off. Grandchildren: Jennifer (Dr. Eric) Hanson, Jason (Jenifer) White, Erin Yocum (Todd Mason), Erik (Amber) Yocum, Michael Churchill, Christian Krauspe and John Krauspe. Wayne shared delightful pride in all of his great grandchildren: Ethan Hanson, Jane Hanson, Vivian White, Jason “Jake” White, Brett Yocum, and twins, Stella and Jesse Yocum. He will be missed by his beloved sister: Juanita Briggs of Macomb, with whom he shared every inning and every play of every St. Louis Cardinal game, and his sister-in-laws: Eleanor White, Macomb, Ella Mae (Gerald) Waddill, Macomb, and Joann Wayland, Acton, California. He leaves many many nieces and nephews, and friend Nancy Aydelotte. Wayne never met a stranger. The many people that had the privilege of knowing Wayne will remember his loyal friendship, his devotion to nature,his generosity, kindness, and storytelling.
Wayne was welcomed into Heaven by his parents, his wife, Bette, a brother: Cecil White, and his sweet great-granddaughter: Silven Yocum.
A proud member of the greatest generation, Wayne served his country during World War II in the 15th Army Airforce, 454th Bombardment Group. He received the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross for meritorious valor. He was the author of a book about his wartime experiences called IT WASN'T MY TIME.
During his lifetime he was a McDonough County Board Member, McCarthy Improvement Company Construction Superintendent, and Park Ranger at Argyle Lake State Park in Colchester. During his time at Argyle he created the unique playground that brought many families and children much enjoyment, nicknaming him “The Wizard of Play”. He oversaw 25 years of park Improvements and introduced thousands of children to an appreciation of nature. The Argyle Lake Annual Labor Day celebration attracted thousands of visitors to the park. He authored a 2nd book called ARGYLE: A YEAR IN MY LIFE AS A PARK RANGER.
On April 10, 1991, the 87th General Assembly of the Illinois Legislation voted on House Resolution #285 to make April 10th Wayne White Day.
Wayne was a member of the Colchester Lions club, Tennessee Fellowship Church, Colchester Historical Society, McDonough County Board, Argyle Gas Engine Club, WIU Museum, Eagles Club of Macomb, Macomb V.F.W. and Macomb American Legion.
He volunteered his time to the service of others: Loaves and Fishes, plasma transport for McDonough District Hospital, Soldiers and Sailors Home, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, political Committeeman, and was a 55-Alive driving teacher. He served on the 1976 McDonough County Bicentennial Committee.
Wayne was a recipient of the prestigious Harry Truman Award.
He enjoyed playing golf, bowling, playing pitch and was an avid Rummikub player.
Of all the things that Wayne was involved in, the time he spent with his family brought him the greatest joy.
Graveside services with military rites will be at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, March 20, at Forest Lawn Memory Gardens in Macomb, with his nephew, Gerald White, officiating, Military rites by the Macomb V.F.W. and Macomb American Legion. Friends may call at Jones Mortuary from 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Friday, March 19th, and from 8:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. Saturday. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Memorials can be made to the Wayne White Memorial Gift, in lieu of flowers. His family will be honoring various causes in his name. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.jonesmortuaryfh.com.
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