David E. White
David E. White

Because God had need of another Master Carpenter, David quietly left this world Thursday, April 17, 2014, for a gentler, kinder place. Born July 11, 1950 in Akron, Ohio, he lived most of his life in Hemet.

He attended Hemet High School where he played football and earned a reputation for being an ace auto mechanic who could and did fix just about anything. David took those skills to Vietnam, repairing airplanes for the Air Force. But, he felt his greatest contribution to those difficult times was helping other young men register as conscientious objectors.

David was known foremost as a gifted builder throughout the valley and on the mountain, working first with his dad, Bob, then on his own. Idyllwild architect Dennis Maguire relied on David’s keen eye, quick mind, and intuitive sensitivity to read, interpret and execute plans for the many fine homes they built on the Hill. For all of his skills, he preferred to think of himself as “just a good carpenter.”

He helped build much of Living Free Animal Sanctuary where he lived and worked for many years after leaving behind the bureaucracy of contracting. Simple was better for David.

Later, he became construction supervisor for the Hemet-San Jacinto Habitat for Humanity affiliate. He led volunteers in the construction of nine homes for deserving families, but he was most proud of the lasting friendships he made with those families and volunteers. In 2003, during his work with Habitat, David and Shela traveled to Alabama to take part in a Jimmy Carter Work Project.

Smart, funny, honest. Reliable, resourceful and responsible. Professional. Loyal. Proud, modest, humble. Stubborn and tough; gentle and respectful. Independent. Generous. A man of rare integrity, David made you want to be the best person you could be. He made a difference.

David is survived by his mother, Betty White; son Josh (Danielle) White and daughter Sarah (Phillip) Wright; sisters Linda White, Susan McLavey and Cindy White; brother Rob (Andrea Merrill) White; the delights of a grandfather’s heart, Layla and Lily White, and Grant Wright; niece Melissa (Travis) Mercer, and grandniece Kendall and grandnephew Cody; nephew Brian McLavey; and long-time companion Shela Boynton.

David’s ashes will be scattered privately on the grounds of the last home he built, where they will remain part of the beauty and peace of the mountain he so loved.

The family would like to thank the Idyllwild paramedics, Eisenhower’s ICU staff, and Gentiva Hospice for their kindness and respect.

In his memory, consideration may be given to Mercy Corp, Living Free and/or the Hemet-San Jacinto Habitat for Humanity affiliate. More than anything, David would appreciate it if we all treated each other with a little more kindness and respect.