Cover photo for Alfred A. "Al" White's Obituary
Alfred A. "Al" White Profile Photo
1931 Alfred A. "Al" White 2024

Alfred A. "Al" White

March 6, 1931 — March 9, 2024

Mechanicsburg, PA

Alfred A. “Al” White, 93, of Mechanicsburg, passed away on Saturday, March 9, 2024 at home, surrounded by his children. He was born on March 6, 1931 in Shinnston, WV to the late Stanley L. White and Thelma (Lambert) Halahan. Raised by his mother and stepfather, the late Niklaus Halahan, Al would grow up in WV before serving his country as a Corpsman in the U.S. Navy; he then attended the University of Maryland, where he graduated with a degree in Sociology (’59). His experience in the military paved the way for his career at the Mechanicsburg Navy Depot, retiring in 1989 as a Computer Systems Analyst.

In 1963, after brief stints in Maryland and Philadelphia, Al, along with his young wife and family, packed up and put down roots in Silver Spring Township. Their Mechanicsburg home would be affectionately called the “White House” from that point on. But Al and Donna’s home was much more than its cute nickname; they would create a welcoming environment for friends, family, and even perfect strangers. This home, where the two would live all their remaining years, established the importance of family, faith in God, and acceptance of those around us.

“Hospitality” was a good word to describe the way in which Al and Donna treated you when entering their home. Always with an open door, a place to stay, a cold drink on warm days and a hot meal on the chilliest of winter nights, the Whites cared for others and exemplified the act of serving others. They were humble and gave thanks when necessary, handwriting and sending hundreds of cards each year—for holidays, special occasions, giving thanks or simply “just because.”

Faith in God was a fundamental part of the White household, and as a family, they became quite involved and dedicated members of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lemoyne. Al participated in caroling at the holidays, taking meals to the sick, the welcoming of new members and guests, teaching the Fidelis Sunday School class for over 40 years, and taking communion to the elderly and infirm. They would also form long-standing relationships as Elders in the congregation, sing in the choir, and send their kids to the church’s summer camp. A proud moment came when Al and Donna’s grandkids attended that very same summer camp; at this point, the couple were caretakers at the camp. A reflection area at Nordmont Christian Camp would later be dedicated to Al and Donna, and named “White’s Creekside”.

Al, or “Freddie,” depending on which side of the family was around, was transparent and always led by example. If he committed to something, he would never bail. He was dependable and an ever-present source of stability. Al was also frugal, valuing the things he owned and the relationships made along the way. If something was broken, he’d fix it. If something looked tarnished and cast aside, he’d clean it up. Shoe shining was another practice he’d teach his children, encouraging them to formulate routines, show respect, and care for the things they owned. He wore his clothing until holes were visible; but even then, he’d patch them up and continue right along. There’s a reason why the family home stayed intact for all those years; Al showed it, and those within, unconditional love and genuine care.

Family was everything to Al, and vacations included the entire gang. Cross-country camping trips, day-long treks to Maryland to visit his side of the family, and beach vacations were frequent occurrences. Trips to Ocean City, Maryland revolved around being together as a family, not cheap boardwalk thrills or eating out. One trip, the cargo unit atop the car flew open and the family’s clothing went everywhere, but Al didn’t panic or lose his cool. He was calm and rational, often stepping back to ponder difficult decisions before answering with emotion-fueled responses. He welcomed the grandkids at his house, with each of them developing their own unique relationship with “Tata.” No matter what trip they were on, or how life could turn their plans upside down, Sunday mornings were for church, and the Whites never missed.

His countless letters to the editor caused the Patriot News to enact a monthly submission limit, but this was another symbol of just how much Al cared about the area, and those in it. Shopping local was another way in which he supported his neighbors and the “little guy.” He was well-read and self-educated, reading multiple newspapers a day and keeping up with a handful of monthly news magazines. He was heavily involved in the lives of his children (and grandchildren). He participated in Indian Guides and little league with his son, supported his daughters in all their academic endeavors, and thoroughly enjoyed watching his grandchildren at their multitude of athletic and academic activities, and seeing them grow and succeed.

He and Donna were two puzzle pieces, each bringing different qualities to the table, and both allowing God’s hand to create a perfect fit between them. With both growing up during The Depression and encountering difficulties during their childhoods, the two made it their mission to create a comforting and stable family life.

Al will truly be missed. His qualities as a good listener rivaled his ability to rhyme and come up with silly words (goodily-woodily or badily-wadily?) that were abundant in everyday conversation. Before the internet, dinner topics that resulted in unknown answers were remedied with a trip to the dictionary or encyclopedia. Even if Al knew the answer, he wanted you to figure it out for yourself. The guidance he provided was similar; he wouldn’t necessarily tell you what to do if you had a problem. Rather, he’d simply offer input and help guide the conversation as you made a decision on your own.

The White House was all about life, with three of the four kids having been born while living at their Mechanicsburg homestead. For Al, being at home for his last days on this earth meant the world. When Donna got sick, and after she passed, Al took up card-writing duties. He was still writing birthday cards and thank you notes as of last month, until he admitted to his children that he likely couldn’t finish his list.

Take a page from Al and Donna’s book, and be intentional, loving disciples of the Lord. Share that love with others, and value the possessions and relationships in your life. Let those around you experience the love and care you have for them—not by telling them, but by showing them.

Surviving Al are his children, Barbara S. Luke White (Bob Anderson) of Mechanicsburg, Brenda A. Nutter (Ron) of Mechanicsburg, Robin L. Goudy (Bill) of Etters, and A. Alan White II of Lewisberry; grandchildren, Erin, Duncan, Nash, Cassidy, Anna, Joseph, Jordan, Nicholas, Felicia and Dylan; great-grandchildren, Kazimierz, Arthur, Cullen, Aurora, Ayden, Lila, Adeline, Kendra, and Kiera; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his parents, Al was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Donna (Osborne) White; two much-loved grandsons, Jeremy and Evan; and two sisters.

A committal service will be held at 12:30PM on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. A procession will depart from Parthemore Funeral Home & Cremation Services, New Cumberland at 11:30AM. Family and friends are welcome to join in procession or meet us at the cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution in Al’s name to Hospice of Central PA, 1320 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Interment

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

12:30 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Indiantown Gap National Cemetery

RR2 Indiantown Gap Road, Annville, PA 17003

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 718

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree