Thomas “Tom” Francis White, 63, died peacefully on July 1, 2020 at the Francis House in
Syracuse NY after a long, courageous battle with prostate cancer. He was born on December
4,1956 in Syracuse NY to Bob and Ginnie White and was one of eleven children (He was #6).
Tom was a lifelong resident of his beloved Eastwood neighborhood and a communicant of
Blessed Sacrament Church.
Tom graduated from Bishop Grimes High School in 1975 and SUNY Cortland in 1979, with a BS
in Physical Education. He began working fulltime for the City of Syracuse Parks & Recreation
Department in 1983 until his retirement in June 2016. Tom filled many roles in the Recreation
Department, beginning with the Sunnycrest Ice Rink Manager and moving on to Aquatics
Director, Parks Administrative Officer and spent the last 10 years as Director of the Magnarelli
Community Center and Supervisor of the city’s Senior Centers. Tom was a leader in the field,
passionate for his work in advocating opportunities for recreation and dedicated his life to
service on the behalf of others. He never said “No” and developed a legacy of respect and hard
work amongst his colleagues at both the CNYRPS and NYSRPS organizations. He was
recognized for his outstanding public service by receiving the 2013 “Going the Extra Mile”
Award by the City of Syracuse, the 2017 Distinguished Service Award by the NYSPRS and the
2019 David Cusano Exemplary Service Award by the Syracuse-Oswego Board of Women’s
Tom was an extremely sociable and engaging man who involved himself in many activities and
events of both Syracuse and his Eastwood neighborhood. He was a consummate volunteer,
especially with sports and working with youth. He was a mentor and coach to many and
developed long lasting friendships from his years coaching CYO and EYP basketball and
baseball. He was a longtime High School Girls basketball official and a baseball umpire. He
was a dedicated member and historian to the Eastwood Neighborhood Association and Alumni
organizations of Bishop Grimes and SUNY Cortland. He was also very proud to recently
complete his 25 th year as a participant of Team Stumblers, for the annual AIDS Walk/Run
Fundraiser to benefit the ACR Health organization. Additionally, Tom always looked forward to the
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, where he was a Parade Marshall and an enthusiastic “Helper” for many years.
Tom touched the lives of countless people in the community and is remembered for his positive
and optimistic ways. His infectious spirit and friendship towards others is best reflected in the
saying “People may not always remember what you say, but they will always remember how
you made you feel”. Tom made others feel like they were important and cherished the
friendships he made.
His family will always remember Tom as a devoted, funny, caring, beloved brother and uncle.
Tom was a regular attendee and season ticket holder of SU basketball and would often be seen
at the games with siblings, nieces and nephews and his “314 Crew” cheering on the Orange.
He was a reliable cheerleader at Flamingo Bowl on Saturday mornings supporting his younger
brother Mark, his group home peers and other bowlers in the “Go-Getters” league. Tom was
known as “the favorite uncle” and loved supporting and taking pictures at his niece’s and
nephew’s school functions, activities and athletic contests. His family cherishes these memories
and time spent with him. Tom was known for his favorite pastimes including: beaching it
anywhere, but especially in Maine and Marco Island, FL, attending cultural festivals in Syracuse
(which included his love for all Italian and Greek foods- it was really always about the food!), the
“Great New York State Fair” as well as enjoying the time-honored holiday tradition of after
Christmas bowling and the “Guy’s night out” for wings and beer. And, we can’t forget all the
birthday and other holiday celebrations. Tom was known to be “always late to the party”, but he
never missed them and was the last to leave. He will be missed dearly by both family and all
who had the chance to know him.
Tom is survived by his brothers and sisters: Jim White; Mary (Dave) Morgan; Helen (Andy)
Leighton-White; Geri (Beth) White; Peter (Harriet, Kirk) White; Paul (Lorraine) White, Andy (Kim
Frost) White, Terri (Shawn Hughey) deBerjeois, Mark White and sister-in-law, Michelle White.
Tom adored his nieces and nephews: Aimee White, Allie White, Shawn (Christina) Morgan, Erin
(Darian) Palmer; Kevin Morgan, Ryan (Lisa) Morgan, Jeff Leighton, Matt Leighton, James
(Nancy) White; Brittany (Jeremy) Crewe, Rebekah White, Lauren White, Katie (Nathan) Lemery-
White; Jamie (Jose) Diaz-Reynolds, Ben (Lindsey) White, Danie (Shana) DeLany, Mackenzie
White, Alexandra (Josh) Hibbard, Madalyn White and Jessica deBerjeois. He also leaves 18
Tom was predeceased by his parents, Robert M. and M. Virginia White; his brother, John; his
sister-in-law, Joan White and his much loved 4-legged companion, Hobbes.
The family would like to thank Francis House for embracing Tom and providing him with a
warm, loving and safe environment for the last days of his extraordinary life.
A funeral mass is scheduled for Friday July 10, 2020 8:30AM at the Blessed Sacrament Church.
Facial masks and social distancing is required. Due to the current health crisis there will be no
calling hours. His family encourages all to savor a favorite memory of Tom, choose kindness
In lieu of flowers, please consider sending donations in Tom’s name to: the Francis House 108
Michaels Ave Syracuse NY 13208; ACR AIDS Walk/Run Fundraiser www.acrhealth.org or to an
animal rescue organization of your choice.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Francis White, please visit our floral store.