Obituary of Judy Gay White
This is the story of Judy Gay (Sproul) White. Judy was a wonderful woman who was loved, is missed beyond imagination, and will always be cherished. Judy was an amazing wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, farming partner, nurse, church pianist, weather tracker, and creator of the world’s most coveted fruit salad recipe.
Judy’s story started on July 21, 1948, born in Tacoma, Washington, and adopted by Gilbert and Nellie Sproul of Ontario, Oregon. She and her siblings lived a happy farming life on the Oregon Slope and she became involved in 4-H, showing dairy animals at the Malheur County Fair and Oregon State Fair. It was her award-winning dairy showmanship at the fair that drew her future husband, Larry, to her, as they competed against each other (and she won).
Judy attended Pioneer Elementary and Ontario Junior/Senior High School, and after a short period at TVCC, she married the love of her life, Larry White, on September 16, 1967, and the two of them spent time living in LaGrande at Eastern Oregon State College before moving on to Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. While in Corvallis, their first daughter Corey came along and Judy’s life calling as a mother began.
When Judy and Larry moved back to Ontario to form a dairy partnership with Larry’s parents, two more children joined the family – son Jamey and daughter Andrea. Judy was truly a hands-on mother in every way. She taught her children to read, took them to church, sewed clothes for them, raised food for them to eat, took them camping and fishing, protected them from aggressive roosters and billy goats, taught them the value of hard work and responsibility, and enjoyed snuggling them close.
As her kids grew older, she went to nursing school at TVCC with the goal to earn enough money as a nurse so that all three of her children could get a college education. She succeeded. Corey graduated from College of Idaho and Boise State University, Jamey from University of Idaho, and Andrea from College of Idaho. None of this would have been possible without her working all of those night and weekend shifts at Holy Rosary Medical Center.
Aside from her nursing job, Judy always preferred to be outside working alongside Larry growing and harvesting crops. Her farm girl roots ran deep. She could cook, sew and clean, but never was she quite as happy as driving a swather or driving truck hauling crops. When Larry bought her a John Deere swather as an anniversary gift one year, it made her happier than any jewelry or flowers ever could.
Judy was well-known for many gifts and talents. She was a seamstress, sewing quilts and making clothes for the kids, including many choir dresses for Corey and Andrea (one that had to be tailored to fit around an arm cast when Corey broke her arm). She was a baker, producing dozens of pies each summer to sell at the Malheur County Fair. She was a musician, playing piano and organ, often serving as church pianist or organist alongside her daughters and sharing her gift of playing by ear – being able to transpose songs into any key if the song was written in too high a key for the choir to sing. She was a taxi mom transporting her kids to sporting and choir events and loading the car up with kids to take to church. She was a walking talking dairy database – knowing the lineage, age and breeding schedule of each of the dairy cows. She loved the outdoors, hiking and camping at Seven Devils or along the Salmon River, teaching her kids to fish, and giving them an appreciation for wildlife and the weather. Among her lesser-known talents, Judy was at one point the 3rd-ranked horseshoe player in the State of Oregon. She loved to laugh and have fun with family and friends.
Judy’s grandchildren were her heart and joy. She loved when they visited or stayed with her, and never was she happier than when the entire extended family was gathered at the Oregon Coast for family reunions. As her kids and grandkids became spread across the country, in Idaho, Kansas and Georgia, those opportunities to gather all of her kids and grandkids together were a true gift to her.
If ever there was someone who loved life and was willing to fight for it, it was Judy. From her initial cancer diagnosis 17 years ago to her recurrence last year, she faced every challenge with a wink of unwavering determination, endurance and grace. She squeezed all she could out of every day, and loved every moment spent with her husband, family and friends.
Loved ones that cleared the path for Judy were her parents Nellie & Gilbert, sisters Rose, Barbara, Susan, and brothers Gilbert Jr. and Robert. Loved ones who will miss Judy until they meet again are her husband Larry White; daughter Corey and granddaughters Kaitlin and Natalie; son Jamey and wife Tonya; daughter Andrea and husband Jeff; granddaughter Desire with husband Jordan and great-granddaughters Lilli and Maya; granddaughter Nina; as well as numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
Judy was always very active in her church, from supervising the babies in the nursery to teaching Sunday School and AWANAS. She accompanied many a church program, played for funerals and a few weddings, and shared her ministry of music at Dorian Place in Ontario, Oregon. The Lord Jesus Christ was the focal point of Judy’s life. She didn’t just talk to others about the Lord, she lived a godly life to the fullest extent and was a dedicated servant to Him.
And so the story goes on until we see our beloved Grandma Judy again. We love you and miss you every day.
Please join us in celebrating Judy’s life on Monday, May 24, with graveside service at Rosedale Memorial Gardens in Payette at 11:00 a.m., followed by a potluck picnic at Park Community Church, Hwy 201 and Holly Road, Oregon Slope, at 12:30 p.m. Bring along a side dish or dessert and we will share uplifting stories and photos of the special woman who influenced so many of our lives in the precious time she was with us. Arrangements and Services by Lienkaemper Chapel, Ontario.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Judy White, please visit Tribute Store