14th December 1929 – 2nd April 2014

Jeff was born in Victoria, B.C. in 1929, son of Edward and Dorothy White. He lost his father at the young age of 2. In 1944 he was taught to ring by E. W. (Pop) Izard, the Tower Captain at Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria, and the person who had hung the bells in 1936. Jeff progressed swiftly, and he was elected a College Youth in 1947.

His first love was flying and he learned to fly at the Pat Bay airport located just north of Victoria. He joined Canadian Pacific Airlines in 1950 and his flying career took him to several CPA bases in Montreal, Winnipeg, and Edmonton. While based in Edmonton he met the love of his life, Jean whom he married in Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1959, the place they met.

Also while in Edmonton, the bells of Christ Church Elbow Park, Calgary had been installed and so he went as often as work permitted down to Calgary, a distance of 200 miles, to ring. He also learned that an ex-UK ringer was living and working as a nurse in Lacombe, Alberta and they arranged to drive down to Calgary to teach the new ringers.

One weekend he flew three ringing passengers to Calgary in a four-seat light aircraft where they rang with the ringers at Christ Church, Elbow Park. They had to land at a rural airstrip in a field on their return as the weather had closed in coming through the mountain pass. That was no problem, but the next day when the weather had cleared, he had to leave the two ladies behind as otherwise they could not take off from the field as there was too much weight in the plane. The ladies hitchhiked back to Vancouver and much to his chagrin arrived before the aircraft!

In 1972 Jeff became a founding member of the North American Guild of Change Ringers. He taught for prolonged periods at new towers, which included Quebec City, Honolulu (1991) and Toronto (1997).

Jeff’s flying career brought both he and Jean back to Vancouver, where he flew for Canadian Pacific Airlines until it amalgamated with others to become Canadian Airlines International. While working for CAI he had the opportunity to combine his love of flying and campanology. Jeff was based for three months in Australia (1986) and New Zealand (1989) and was able to renew ringing friendships. At CP Air he was flying 747s and then DC-10s. His last duties before his retirement in 1989 were flying out to Hawaii on Saturday evenings and returning Sunday mornings in time to ring for Sunday morning mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver. Jeff was also the Captain of the CAI flight which brought the chronometer used by Captain Vancouver on his voyage to the West Coast back from London to Vancouver. This chronometer was purchased by the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

After his retirement Jeff and Jean flew on the Concorde from New York to London, a highlight for Jeff was to be called to the cockpit. Jeff also had more time to concentrate on his ringing, hiking, sailing and on his other hobby, that of an amateur (HAM) radio operator. He enjoyed his volunteer work jobs, one of which was as bus driver for the West vancouver Seniors Centre. Jeff and Jean enjoyed trips to Victoria where Jeff rang at Christ Church Cathedral.

Jeff had rung in many places only a few of us here in Vancouver could even dream of. He had rung but 12 peals, from Minor to Maximus, and in only six different towers, including the 12 at Toronto and 10 at Westminster Abbey, B.C. Our records show that he had rung 199 quarter peals (conducted 10), 145 at Holy Rosary Cathedral and 54 in other towers worldwide.

Jeff, you were an inspiration to us all and loved by many, both in and outside bell towers. Our condolences to Jean and his family.

with much assistance from the White family and fellow ringers

BB BellBoard
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers