On Tuesday, February 23, 2021,
, devoted husband, adored father of six children and proud grandfather to twelve grandchildren (with one more on the way), passed away at the age of 73.
Dick was born on April 26, 1947 in Wellesley, MA to Robert and Betty White . While attending Lowell Tech, he joined the USAF in 1969 and served during the Vietnam war. After years of letter-writing while stationed abroad, he married the love of his life, Kathleen "Kathy" Marguerite Bridges on September 9, 1972. Shortly after his marriage, he completed his education at Lowell Tech and graduated with a degree in Industrial Management. Dick continued to serve in the USAF for 22 years before retiring in 1992 as a Major. He spent some time consulting before working at the IRS and fully retiring in 2013.
Dick and Kathy created a large and close-knit family. Their first child, Richard White , was born in 1973, followed by Robert White , Kathleen Walsh, William White , Michael White , and Colleen Curtis. But his family didn't end there - Ronald Walsh, Christine White , Michelle White , and Troy Curtis joined the family through marriage, and were loved and cherished as his own. His grandchildren Liam, Henry, Matty, Ginny, TJ, Jasmine, Sully, Collin, Timmy, Malcolm, Lucas and Maisie lit up his world.
Dick is survived by his sister Margaret "Peggy" Fletcher and was preceded in death by his sister Kathy Kamphaus and brother Donald White .
It is not surprising that two of the things he valued most in life - faith and kindness - were elements he found in his wife and drew him to her. A man of good humor but few words, if anyone's life could be defined by their actions, it was Richard . Never cruel, and ever generous, he believed the meaning of life was to be kind to others.
The Catholic faith gave Dick guiding principles for life and for many years he served as a lector and volunteer at Our Lady Help of Christians. His booming voice ensured no one would fall asleep during Mass.
His pleasures were simple, but he was stubborn about having them: Rita's mango and popsicles, pretzels and Twizzlers.
His love of books was an early one that lasted his entire life; computers came a bit later, but were just as important. In his own words, "I find satisfaction using it to solve tasks," and after spending time on a difficult computer problem he would often say "You learn from your mistakes."
Dick was very involved in scouting and he loved going to school, sports, and music events for his children, and later, grandchildren. Nothing made him happier than watching his family participate in the things they loved.
Summer trips home to Massachusetts, to the ocean, or annual family vacations to Lake Anna brought Dick immense joy; he spent his days with family (oftentimes babysitting sleeping children), braving water slides, reading books while watching everyone play on the beach, and playing Crokinole with his grandkids.
Later in life, Dick found a love for cruises with his wife. They allowed him to have new experiences, visit exotic locales, and spend evenings playing blackjack and enjoying free drinks. Cruises were vacations in a bottle - peace and quiet, good food, great entertainment, and all without having to pack and unpack each day.
Five years ago, Dick suffered catastrophic health issues and it was a very hard year before he was back on his feet; that he survived, to many, felt like a miracle. To those who knew and loved him, it was just another testament to his silent strength and resolve. His family needed him and he fought to stay with them for five more happy years.
It would be easy to define Dick as one thing: a steadfast, loyal companion and husband; a loving father; a doting grandparent. But it isn't any one role he had in the lives around him that tell us who he was as a man. We have to look to what is common in all the lives he touched to understand the beauty in what he shared of himself.
We often discuss the space someone's passing leaves in our lives; Dick's legacy isn't found in the absence of his life, but in the light of his kindness that continues on. He made those around him better, more compassionate, and more connected, and it is the kind of love that unfolds without end.
His funeral mass will be celebrated in St. Patrick Church, 71 Central St., Stoneham, MA on Friday at 10am. Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at the McDonald-Finnegan Funeral Home, 322 Main St., Stoneham, MA on Thursday from 4-7pm. Interment will be at St. Patrick's Cemetery, Stoneham.
Covid-19 guidelines will be in effect.
March 04, 2021
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
McDonald - Finnegan Funeral Home
322 Main St.
Stoneham, MA 02180
March 05, 2021
St. Patrick Church
71 Central St.
Stoneham, MA 02180