The recent unexpected death of Joe White, Ard Fatima, Clonmel, at the age of 47, came as a great shock to his family, friends and all who knew him in the town of Clonmel and way beyond. His sad passing at such a young age leaves behind his heartbroken wife Noreen and children Conor and Ellen, and a closely-knit family of brothers and sisters - John, Eileen, Katie, Siobhan, Tommy and Maura.
Son of the late Joe and Kathleen White, Joe grew up at No. 13 Ard Fatima and it was to the same home of great memories and much happiness that he and Noreen returned to make their own family home in 2005, having previously lived in nearby Clarke Villas.
A private, quiet and unassuming individual always, Joe was a family man first and foremost, as a child growing up and later as a husband and father himself following his marriage to Noreen in 1988. Outside of home life he was a hard worker always, never stopping, and over the years worked firstly in St. Joseph’s Hospital and later with Dairygold, Alstom, Bulmers and finally with William Grant and Sons at Annerville. He was on record as saying he enjoyed his time at William Grant most of all and was extremely happy in his work right up to the end. His significant contribution to the efficient running of production at William Grant was acknowledged by the Scottish owners and Joe took great pride in the role he played there.
Outside of work he loved to follow horse racing and enjoyed an occasional flutter. Indeed at his funeral Mass in an overflowing St. Mary’s Church, Irishtown, Fr. Billy Meehan, P.P., captured the moment perfectly when reciting the Punter’s Prayer. Joe would have smiled too. While lying in repose at home, where hundreds called to pay their respects, the Racing Channel was on, silent but nonetheless on; it was what Joe had said he wanted.
His other interests were the Boy Scouts, where he met and kept many great friends over the years. He liked other sports also, including Tipperary hurling, rugby and following Leeds United. Occasionally too he enjoyed a spot of shooting with his dog, especially when he visited Noreen’s family in Cloneen, where he was equally as popular as he was in Clonmel.
Twice over the past few years Joe visited his brother John in Dubai, the first time with Noreen and again last year when making a quick trip to the Emirates. John and Joe shared the same interest for the horses and some of Joe’s most memorable days ever were spent at the world renowned Maydan Racecourse in Dubai. Sadly when he died John was unable to get home for the funeral Mass. However, with the benefit of modern technology he was able to follow the obsequies live from St. Mary’s via webcam. Everyone could take a little solace from that on a heartbreakingly sad day for all.
Joe was a perfectionist always in everything he attempted to do. He believed in doing it one way only; the right way. It was always like that with him. Punctuality was a big thing too. He was never late for anything in his life. He believed in being on time always, sometimes a little early even, he was like that. For Joe it was as if being on time was the right thing to do.
In the run-up to Christmas everything seemed to be as normal for Joe, at home and at work. On the Saturday night prior to taking ill he and Noreen enjoyed the William Grant and Sons Christmas social at Hotel Minella. And even if he didn’t feel in top form over the remainder of the weekend Joe, as he always did, reported for work on Monday and again on Tuesday. At home on Tuesday evening he took ill and that night was transferred to Cork University Hospital.
Over the next seven days he remained in a critical condition before eventually letting go on Tuesday, 27th December. Noreen, Conor and Ellen were at his bedside, where they had remained every hour he was in hospital. No one could have done anymore; everyone had given their all.
At this sad time Noreen, Conor and Ellen would like to express eternal gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff at the A and E Department at South Tipp General Hospital, Clonmel. Also to the Cardiology Department of Cork University Hospital, especially Dr. Peter Kearney, for their kindness and attention to Joe while he was in their care. Appreciation is also extended to ambulance driver Tommy Strappe and to Fennessy Funeral Directors for all they did.
On returning to Clonmel the family were almost overcome with the enormous outpouring of sympathy from the hundreds who called to the house and attended the funeral Mass and the burial afterwards in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. For this support at this sad time they are most appreciative.
Thanks also to Declan Harte and Tom Naughton, friends of Joe, for their kindness and attention, not only at this sad juncture but always.
Finally the White family would like to record a special thanks to Joe’s lifelong friends - Colin McLean, Damian Moroney, Brendan Hickey and John Blanche, whose unbelievable friendship went beyond the call of duty. All that they did could never be detailed, indeed no one really knows, but it will never be forgotten. Thanks lads.
Joe’s passing is a huge loss for many but especially those closest to him. For Noreen, Conor and Ellen it leaves a void that will never be filled. But while he was here, amongst those he loved most, Joe lived life perfectly, as a perfectionist would. In racing parlance he ran his race in life perfectly also, from the front, by example. And he has passed the winning post now, but sadly far too early this time.
May he rest in peace.