The Reverend Dock Lee White, an ordained Baptist minister and former East Hampton Town Highway Department employee who lived in Bridgehampton, died on Saturday, March 16, following a battle with lung cancer. He was 73.
The Rev. White loved helping people and was known to play the blues and gospel music to residents of nursing homes and patients in hospitals to raise their spirits, his family recalled.
“A lot of people were down and felt like life was over, but he had that touch. He was like a savior,” said Paul Jeffers, his brother-in-law.
Mr. Jeffers described meeting a man of about 70 at the Rev. White’s wake.
“He was telling me about his mother in the nursing home and how the one thing she always looked forward to was Dock White playing music and lifting their spirits,” said Mr. Jeffers, also of Bridgehampton.
A devoted Baptist who shared his ministry through music, the Rev. White was known for his compassion, said his son, Larry White, also of Bridgehampton.
“I feel like he had more time for others than he had for himself,” Mr. White said. “If they felt they had no hope, he would give them hope.”
The Rev. White never complained if he was sick or not feeling well. Rather, he stayed active and helped others, no matter the time of day.
His son recalled how when a blizzard paralyzed the East End last month, his father spent six hours outside plowing snow—one of his favorite pastimes.
“He kept plowing until his truck didn’t want to plow anymore,” said Mr. White—who himself had offered to plow for the family, only to be told his father had already done it.
The reverend’s main focus was the Bible, the church, hospitals and nursing homes, but he also had a gift when it came to mechanics.
“He was Mr. Make-It, Mr. Fix-It, Mr. Repair-It, he could do it all,” said Mr. Jeffers. “He was a very hands-on kind of person, and he felt obligated to give a helping hand.”
Mr. Jeffers, for one, said when he quit school once, the Rev. White was “one of the drumbeats” who pushed him to return.
His people skills made him forge good friendships across a range of ages, from 10 and under to 90 and above, Mr. Jeffers said.
The Rev. White was born on December 18, 1939, to Clifton R. White and Lucille Brooks White in Currituck County, North Carolina. He attended Currituck County Public School and, early on, joined the New Providence Missionary Baptist Church.
On February 15, 1960, he married Ollie Ferebee, of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The couple moved to Bridgehampton shortly afterward, settling in a home on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike.
The Rev. White worked as an auto mechanic for the East Hampton Town Highway Department, also driving trucks and plowing snow.
He was an associate minister of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Patchogue until his death and a former associate minister at Triune Baptist Church in Sag Harbor.
The Rev. White is survived by his wife, Ollie Ferebee White of Bridgehampton; his five children, Warren White and Celestine Williams of Bridgehampton, Larry White and Timothy White of Riverhead and Duane White of Westhampton; two brothers, Morris and Paul White of Chesapeake, Virginia; a sister-in-law, Minnie White of Elizabeth City, North Carolina; nine grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his dog, Cindy.
Funeral services were held at the Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton Village on March 20. Services were also held at New Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Shawboro, North Carolina, on March 23. Interment followed at the New Providence Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery.