Flying Tiger Line Pilots Association
John T. White
May 31, 1919- March 13, 1991
John was born in Dalhart, Texas, where he grew up on a farm with five brothers and sisters. As a lanky teenager, he played statewide competition basketball and drove tractor for the county road maintenance. (Dusty job) He and a buddy built an airplane which they flew with a book of instructions. (Landing instructions were continued next week.)
In September of 1941, at age 22, he enlisted in the AAF and was shipped over to England. (Must have been when he perfected that swing style to Glenn Miller's Band)
He went in on Omaha Beach D-Day plus 4, moving for the next year from France to Germany and back, to be in Paris on V-E Day, his mission scavenging for parts to keep reconnaissance planes in the air. So you might say, when he got qualified to be hired by the Flying Tiger Line in 1950, he knew the business from the ground up. This discipline helped him work his way up from captain, instructor, check pilot, chief pilot, director, and finally, senior director of flying in 1971.
He was privileged to be a part of the "Can Do" Tiger spirit from the challenging 50's, flying the Hungarian Airlift and the Vietnam MATS, as well as representing the Tigers at Douglas, Boeing and IATA. He was especially proud that his son chose to follow in his footsteps to become a Tiger in 1971.
In 1974 he headed back to the love of his life, flying, for six more years, with some instructing and checking in the B747 simulator in Vancouver, B.C., renewing close "cockpit" ties with many old Tiger buddies. With their 60th birthdays a week apart, boss Ed Pinke accompanied him on his final flight, with Mike as copilot. Upon his arrival from Tokyo on that final landing at LAX he was surprised to find a host of Tigers, family and friends, assembled on the 9th floor of "Hi Tiger", welcoming him home. (And to think they used to call us "Non-Sked")
Another surprise party of 95 awaited him on the White Angus Ranch in San Diego County, to make sure he would get off to a good start on his retirement, but he put in another year of office time before finally turning his still considerable energies to another dream, raising and racing quarter horses on the 37 acre ranch, for the next twelve years. He had enjoyed golfing, boating, marlin fishing, and of course, Big Band Swing.
The farm boy saw all of his dreams come true.
He is survived by wife Joan, son Mike, daughter Jill, five grandchildren and a great grandchild.
Joan and Mike wish to extend their appreciation and gratitude to the many Tigers who have shared their heartwarming thoughts and memories of John with them over the years at Tiger reunions. It is of great comfort to know he is truly missed by the Tiger Family as well.
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