Obituary of Robert J. White
Robert Joseph Francis White, 71, was born in Fort Benning, Georgia on May 5, 1951 to Elisabeth (Schlitz) White and Robert White. His father was in the U.S. Army and began his service during World War II, and his mother was born in Germany. Robert lived in Germany, Japan, and near Washington, D.C., among other places, before settling with his parents and three siblings in Syracuse, New York. He had fond memories of fishing with his dad outside of D.C., bike camping in Germany, and spending time with his siblings and visiting cousins in Germany. He attended SUNY Binghamton (then, Harpur College) and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. As he would tell his daughters, he was known as one of the top ten radicals on campus and was active in the anti-Vietnam war movement.
After college, Robert moved to Massachusetts and studied graduate-level computer programming at UMass Boston. He set up the IT system at Cambridge Hospital and became a programmer at MEDITECH. During his time in Cambridge, he was active in tenant organizing and city politics. In his lifetime, he traveled throughout Latin America, to Belize, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, and Mexico. More than anything, he loved being a father to his three girls: Jennifer, Adrienne, and Alisa, born in Carlisle, Massachusetts. The family moved from Carlisle to Beaufort, South Carolina before settling in Slingerlands, New York. He taught his daughters math and logic from an early age and always impressed upon them the importance of music and education. He was immensely proud to see all three of his daughters graduate from college.
Robert had a fantastic sense of humor and enjoyed nature, spicy cuisine, science fiction books, and playing guitar. Nature was central to his life—from the beach in Hunting Island, South Carolina to the rivers and forests of Five Rivers in Delmar, New York. Robert and his daughters once rescued a palmetto that had fallen on the beach in South Carolina and replanted it in their yard. He would eat Tabasco by the spoonful, he enjoyed lamb vindaloo and tacos, and he had an unrivaled collection of shells from beaches all over the Western Hemisphere. True to his German roots, he would cook German potato salad (as his mother Elisabeth would) and enjoyed delicacies like mettwurst and limburger cheese. He loved to grill and always enjoyed a delicious steak. His vast music collection featured Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, and Simon & Garfunkel. Robert wrote several books; he created batik artwork, poetry, and more. He enthusiastically played croquet at family gatherings and roped everyone into games of Risk and Monopoly.
Robert lived out his later years in Amsterdam, New York and Delmar, New York. He was thrilled to see his daughter Jen marry Drew Philipchik and loved to spend time with his two grandchildren, Leah and Wyatt. Robert worked as a senior computer programmer in hospital systems into his late 60s. He loved to talk about coding languages and solve interesting coding challenges. He was an avid reader and enjoyed walking the Albany County Rail Trail and the Mohawk Gateway Overlook Bridge.
Robert passed away peacefully on February 7, 2023 after a long battle with colon cancer. He is survived by his daughters, Jennifer (White) Philipchik, Adrienne White, and Alisa White, and their mother, Jayne Deane-White; his grandchildren, Leah and Wyatt Philipchik; his younger siblings, Linda Dudas, Lenny White, and John White; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
We hope you are on the beach somewhere—the sun is shining, the water is blue and salty, and you are at peace. We hope you have been reunited with your Mom, Dad, Aunt Bert, and others we have lost. You have been so very loved and your memory remains with us, always. To quote one of your favorite Bob Dylan songs, “Sara, Sara . . . Wherever we travel we’re never apart.”
Calling hours will be held from 12-1 PM on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at Applebee Funeral Home in Delmar, New York. A memorial service will be held the same day and location at 1PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Robert’s memory may be sent to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, https://www.mohawkhudson.org/
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