Ernest White, Jr., died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, on Saturday, Jan. 24. He was 78.
White was born to the union of Lula Mae Owens and Ernest White, Sr., in Greenville, Miss. The younger White attended #4 Elementary School in Greenville and graduated from Coleman High School in 1949. He was a music ( voice ) major at Jackson State University, where he graduated in 1954. He attended Harrington Institute of Interior Design and was certified as an interior designer in 1984.
After college White enlisted in the United States Army, where he assigned to the Army Security Agency as a cryptanalyst. He served in Germany and traveled extensively throughout Europe during that time.
Other employment included a position with the Illinois Department of Labor as a deputy claims examiner. He also served as regional director for District 5 in the United States Office of Economic Opportunity. Later, he worked as a senior designer for Johnson and Associates, a sales and interior design firm.
White volunteered at the AIDS hospice Bonaventure House and was a member of several gay organizations during the 1980s and '90s.
He was well-read and highly intelligent, a fact he let known in a light-hearted manner. He was also a kind, sharing person with an infectious laugh and a warm heart. He loved life and was vested in the conviction that life was meant to be lived to its fullest—and that he did.
He is survived by his 97-year-old mother, Lula Mae Owens, of Hammond Ind.; his aunt, Eddice White Stevens, of Chicago; cousins, including Mary L. Wiley, Crystal, Rachel, Joseph, Jr., and many others. He is also survived by many friends in the community, including Craig Officer—a former partner and friend of 32 years—Eric Norris, Monroe Floyd, Carol Brice and all those he made laugh and love him over the past several decades. He will be missed everyday. We love you.
—Sent by Craig Officer