August 15, 2020

Death Announced of Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year, Captain Roderick M. White

This photo was taken Jan. 22, 2018, on the night that the late Captain Roderick M. White was named Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year. From left to right standing are Old Lyme Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal, Selectman Chris Kerr, Judy White, and then First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who presented the award. Captain White, whose death was announced yesterday, is seated.

OLD LYME — The death of Captain Roderick M. White on March 11, 2020, has been announced. He was 91. A service for White will be held at the United States Coast Guard Chapel with an inurnment in the Columbarium at the Academy. Services will be scheduled when the Academy re-opens.

Captain White was Old Lyme’s 2017 Citizen of the Year and the proclamation announcing that read, “Over the course of his 50+ years in Old Lyme, Rod White has set a high standard for community service. Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Rod graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1950. He spent the next quarter of a century making his mark in the Coast Guard. A faculty member from 1969 to 1974, he served as Dean of Academics from 1974 to 1983. In 1969, he was named the outstanding Naval Engineer of the year, receiving the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Society of Naval Engineers.”

Commenting in more detail on White’s Gold Medal citation, the Proclamation said it, “refers to “his exceptional analytical skills and technical competence… [and] significant contributions in the advancement of icebreaker design …” It was Rod’s “White Bow” design that made it possible for the SS Manhattan to make the first successful transit of the Northwest Passage by a commercial vessel.”

Another photo from the 2017 Citizen of the Year celebrations shows Captain White (seated) being congratulated by previous Old Lyme Citizens of the Year, Jeff Sturges (left) and Lynn Fairfield-Sonn (right.) See more photos of that night at this link.

The Proclamation continued, “Rod White has used his exceptional skills in our community in so many ways. A founding member of the Harbor Management Commission, he served as Chair from 1988 to 1994, and was elected Registrar of Voters from 1993 to 2004. An active member of the Republican Town Committee, serving as both secretary and vice-chair, he was elected for two terms to the Regional District 18 Board of Education, serving from 1997 to 2005.  Rod was our Town’s representative to the Southeastern Tourism District for many years, and currently serves on the Board of Assessment Appeals, a position to which he was first elected in 2007.”

Adding, “Despite his obviously busy schedule, Rod willingly shared his talents with a larger community, as well,”  the Proclamation listed that Captain White served as Executive Director for the Eastern CT Foundation for Public Giving, Executive Director of the Coast Guard Foundation, Chair of the Boy Scouts Long Range Planning Committee and as a member of both the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Board and Connecticut’s Olympic Committee. He was also a loyal and active member of Rotary International since 1975.

Read Captain White’s obituary at this link.

Editor’s Note: We extend our deepest sympathies to Captain White’s family on his passing. We knew him as a kind and gracious gentleman, always ready to help anyone at any time, and a pillar of public service .

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Comments

  1. Deborah Loper says

    I am truly sorry to hear of Captain White’s passing. I was very fortunate to have become acquainted with Captain White, when he honored us for many years, accepting our invitation to the Veteran’s Day program at LOL Middle School. I will remember him as a genuinely kind man with a beaming smile! Ready to share his extrordinary experiances and enthusiastically answer student’s questions. Captain White was a wonderful man who will be missed by many!
    My heartfelt sympathies to his family!

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