Obituary: Lynn Neil White

Obituary:  Lynn Neil White

Lynn Neil White was born on a Monday. A day that is indicative of how he approached his life with resolute goals and fierce determination. A person of intent and accomplishment, one to finish whatever it was he started, he made his life full and complete.

Whether it was a blown hose in a hearse brought into the family business (still with deceased occupant in summer) he hit the ground running, never skipping a beat, finding a swift solution to every problem he faced. “Let’s get the show on the road” was a motto he took ownership of in business and in his personal life, spanning 94 years.

Lynn loved the open road as much as the open vistas with friends and family. His passions were hunting with his Son Andy, and best friend Allen May and Sons, of whom Rod with Andy have carried on this family tradition. X7A made for the most endearing memories for the group of men. Further, the Model A Ford, 1928 to 1932 (inclusive of production years) were found in Lynn’s stable, rather than any horse his Bride Bonnie were to have at hand on the Mello ranch. Once, during haying season at his summer job on the Leon Dotta Ranch, he was tasked with running the hay rake as pulled by a horse. This horse passed gas the entire day, and upon day’s end, he asked Leon if he may do something else.

Lynn was a member of the 20-30 Club, lifetime member of the Sagebrush Model A Ford Club (Carson City, NV) and Founder of the Mountain Quail Model A Ford Club (Loyalton, CA) in his retirement. Lynn served as Treasurer of the Loyalton Volunteer Fire Department for over 2 decades. Lynn and Bonnie White were married on November 4, 1956 and continued their courtship over the course of 66 years. Together, they built the brick home they shared with saved proceeds from Lynn’s childhood milk and paper routes, and savings from his military service. They shaped a solid life and lasting legacy with their 3 children, Andy (1958), Karen (1960) and Wendy (1964). He taught his children to fish, and how to work and play hard.

In his youth, he helped on the construction of the Grange Hall in Vinton, CA. The 1938 group photo shows a ten year old Lynn tying his shoe lace. He treasured weekly trips away from schoolwork to the Sierra Valley Bank to deposit a penny or a nickel. He later lost his piggy bank bearing the institution’s name only to gleefully be gifted another identical to it, helping Rose Dyer clean out her garage after the 1974 death of her husband and Lynn’s friend Kenneth. Runs to the local trash site were treasured by Lynn’s kids as precious time alone with a devoted Dad. Rock hunting was enjoyed even more, as were searches of old town sites for discarded vehicle license plates.

Lynn was a U.S. Navy Veteran, served 1950 – 1954 in the Pacific Theater during the Korean War. Following boot camp Company #364 San Diego, CA, he boarded the USNS General Simon Buckner transport ship for a 20 day trip to the Philippines. He served aboard the YFRN385 reefer barge at Sangley Point Naval Air Station. Only married men could get milk from the base store and so, along with his unmarried crewmates, removed and replaced the hinge bolts from the locked freezer to get to the frozen milk. It was common knowledge to his family his fondness for milk, served with crushed ice, every day, for every meal.

Lynn was transferred to the YO196 which carried gas, diesel and aviation gas to the Fleet. He said of this experience, “I went from the frying pan into the fire”. His next assignment was the Mt. Baker AE-4, a Lassen Class Ammunition Ship off the coast of Korea. His duty was in the belly (engine room) of the Mt. Baker while munitions were passed to other ships underway. The Mt. Baker AE-4’s sister ship succumbed to the explosion at Port Chicago, CA, whereby a movie was produced for the “Mare Island Naval Disaster”. This incredible blast measured 3.4 Richter at U.C. Berkeley. Lynn came up from the Draft, served 3 years, 8 months and ten days, returning home to join his Father Ed and Brother Roy at Ed G. White & Sons as automotive mechanic and after hours AAA Tow Truck District Operator. In his spare time, he enjoyed hard-top racing old #36 on a dirt oval track.

Lynn inherited the family business upon the passing of his Ed G. and Roy D. Sr.. Lynn with Bonnie at his side invited Andy and his Wife Kelly to join him, rebranding in 1986 into a new generation with, “White’s Sierra Station”. One-hundred years since Ed G.’s founding on February 15, 1923, Lynn was determined to face numerous issues, plentiful and major health obstacles to survive and reach the 2023 milestone. He once replied to a VA Intake Nurse, “What does that have to do with anything?” when pressed which gender affirmations he preferred to use. He meant it. He put forward 100% for his family and legacy with a steadfast determination. Lynn was the man behind the scenes in the mechanics shop on Main Street. Quietly and diligently from 1954 to 1990, the vehicles of Sierra Valley made it to their destinations, rain or shine. Andy with Kelly at his side, continues the journey forward.

Lynn was happy vacationing in his Model A Fords, especially his un-restored 1931 Coupe named Elmer. He and Bonnie traveled to Canada on 3 occasions in Elmer. He drove Elmer on tours with friends to Silverton, Colorado to see the John Phillips Souza Orchestra. On another, they conquered Pikes Peak. He won a Best Mileage Award in his 1930 Pickup “Hal”. In neutral and idling the engine, he used inertia to his advantage and coasted down inclines while on a Sagebrush Club tour. Everyone stood behind Lynn whenever a Model A broke down on the road. Many other awards were presented over the course of Lynn’s life, of note proudest for the Award of Excellence in Reno, NV at National Convention of the Model A Ford Club of America for his 1931 AA Firetruck entry.

He found immense personal enjoyment in the firetruck’s 5 year restoration, trading and scavenging the original parts from the Ranches of Sierra Valley. He traded brand new rims to get the original rims being used on a piece of equipment owned by the local Agricultural Service. The original motor was located on the Dotta Ranch. The hose reel was located above the Loyalton Firehouse. The original seat was found stowed in Brother Roy’s garage. He traded Vinton firemen for the siren. The body, frame and rusted out water tank was trailered home from the Filippini Ranch. The good half of the rusted out water tank to this day sits next to Highway 49 on the former Mello Ranch, serving as a water trough for livestock.

Lynn welded useful items in his down time for fun and productivity. He reconditioned broken items instead of buying replacements. He fretted about storing enough firewood for the winter months. His most treasured adventures were on the local high Sierra lakes, camping, fishing and water skiing with family. His favorite and trademark entry was running full speed into the water, diving with all his strength and crawling out a few yards. He perfected the lost art of dry land takeoffs at Resurrection Point, Frenchman Lake. This daring feat involved standing shin deep in Spring thaw waters on one foot, other foot in the ski boot raised up and floating… hollering, “Hit It!” ready for the split second necessary to jump forward and onto the back of the ski when the rope came taught. It always made for quite the commotion to see who got to drive and flag and who was left behind sitting on the bank. We had our Dad, with no work or wrecker calls to draw him away from us. In his last days, it became impossible for him to raise his arms above his shoulders, but he truly lived.

Lynn was born August 20, 1928, dying silently late in the evening of May 22, 2023. Lynn is survived by his Widow Bonnie, Sister Sharon, Brother-in-Law Joseph, Sister-in-Law Jodie (Ed), Son Andy (Kelly), Daughter Karen (Charlie), Daughter Wendy (Don); 7 Grandchildren Amy (Josh), Genell (Rad), Shaneil (Zack), Tiffany, Jamie (Dan), Tess, Andrea (Dale); 10 Great-Grandchildren McKenna, Katelyn, Cassidy, Emilee, Lily, Forest, Ashlyn, Alexys, Auburn, Jacob and with 1 more on the way; 4 Nieces Jennifer (Nick), Merrielyn, Erin (Chad), Kelly (Troy); 7 Nephews Larry (Sandy), Joe (Sandy), Max, Wayne (Anne), Alan, Jim (Aleda), Joel; and numerous Great-Nieces and Great-Nephews.

Lynn was preceded in death by his Father Ed G. White, Mother Auburn White, Father-in-Law Joseph G. Mello, Mother-in-Law Gladys L. Mello, Brother Roy D. White, Sr., Brother-in-Law Richard Elorza, Sister-in-Law Betty White, Sister-in-Law Norma White, Granddaughter Heather Lavely White, Nephew Steve White, Nephew Roy D. White Jr., Great-Nephew Garrett Mello, Great-Niece Ember Elorza and all of The Loyalton High School Graduating Class of 1947.

To honor Lynn’s endearing journey, a Memorial will be held on June 13, 2023 at 11:00 a.m., Holy Rosary Catholic Church & Social Hall, Loyalton, CA. Refreshments, Milk, ham sandwiches and luncheon fare will be served following his church services. Potluck dishes are welcomed.

Leave a Message