XENIA, Ill. — Ronald Eugene White, 71, of Xenia, Illinois, passed away Saturday, Jan. 7 at his home following a prolonged battle with cancer.
He was born May 22, 1951, in DeKalb the son of Roger Eudell and Irene Dorothy (Keen) White.
Ronald White, referred to as Ron or Ronnie Gene, grew up as the oldest of eight siblings in a rural farming community in Northern Illinois. Throughout his life he often spoke of his childhood memories of milking cows, baling hay and contributing to his family’s livelihood by providing a strong helping presence. He maintained this tremendous work ethic and continued to help others for the remainder of his life.
Ron was observed by family members and others at an early age to have an aptitude for mechanics and engineering. Some have even stated that while they were outside playing, Ron was holed up in the house taking the toaster apart or reconstructing his bicycle. He would go on to graduate summa cum laude from Sauk Valley College, where he obtained an associate’s degree in applied science and electronic technology. He also served as student government president and head of the Gay Student Alliance.
When he was not pursuing his technical interests, he was a gifted and aspiring musician who played bass guitar in the band, JJ Backstreet. He forever remembered his days in the band and cherished them always.
He moved to California in 1985 and had a long, distinguished career as a senior manufacturing engineer. Ron also received a patent and was a registered inventor of passivation of surfaces in optical pumping. Prior to retiring, he last worked for a company that manufactured medical test devices.
Ron was a political junkie who lived and breathed politics. He was a dyed in the wool Democrat who never once wavered in his political affiliation. He was well-traveled, loved genealogical research, and was known as a “MacGyver” as he could repair anything. He continued to fix things and solve problems right up until the very end. More than anything else, Ron loved his large family, friends, and pets.
Ron is survived by his husband, Joel Sterkes of Xenia; daughter, Linda Schlosser (Bill) Rains of Rochelle; siblings: Kathy Daniels (Randy Weller) of Hillsboro, Steven (Dawn) White of Ashton, Patricia Doyle of Streator, Mary (David) Stumpenhorst of Compton, Randy (Barbara) White of Steward, Michael (Karla) Clayton of Buffalo, Missouri, and Mark (Sheri) Clayton of Paw Paw; stepsiblings, Richard (Gisela) Clayton of Compton and Doris Grimley of Dixon; sister-in-law, Jade David; and brother-in-law, William Oden. He is also survived by two grandchildren, one great-grandson, several nieces and nephews, as well as numerous stepfamily members.
In addition to his parents, Ron was preceded in death by his stepparents, two step-siblings, a grandson, and his mother-in-law.
A visitation will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon at Torman Funeral Home, 510 Flagg St., in Paw Paw. A short service will follow the visitation. Cremation care will be provided after the services. Please visit www.TormanFuneralHome.com to sign the online guest book.