Andrew Michael White, PhD, age 79, born March 17, 1942, died June 25, 2021 after a long illness.
Andrew was born in Lorain, Ohio, and was a long-time resident of Kirtland, Ohio. He is survived by his wife, Elke M. (Vogt) White of Kirtland, Ohio; his daughters, Pamela Sue Tabar of Medina, Ohio and Jennifer Lynn White of Saybrook, Ohio; his former wife, Suzanne L. (White) Tummel, of Lebanon, Tenn.; and his siblings Lee Alvin White of Columbus, Ohio, Daniel Joseph White, of Westlake, Ohio, and Lisa Marie (White) Nemcovsky, of Sheffield Village, Ohio. He is preceded in death by his parents, Andrew John White and Cleo Marie White, who resided in Sheffield Village, Ohio.
Andrew grew up in Lorain and Sheffield Village, Ohio, graduating from Brookside High School in 1960. He attended Hiram College and in 1973 earned a PhD in biology from The Ohio State University. He was a John Carroll University Professor and a biology researcher who taught thousands of students during his 30-year tenure. While at JCU, he taught biology, herpetology and parasitology to many students who then went on to pursue medical or biological research careers. He was a masterful teacher, knowing just how to engage students and capture their interest. He could present the most complicated material in a way that made it understandable and enjoyable. His students will recall his trademark white lab coat, which often held a secret animal or insect in the pocket, which he used as real-life examples in his lectures.
His scientific research was instrumental in improving the water quality of Lake Erie and re-establishing healthy fish habitats. In the 1960s and 70s, Lake Erie was nearly dead from decades of pollution and abuse. Many considered Lake Erie a lost cause, not worth the cleanup efforts. Andrew worked tirelessly for four years, collecting scientific data that proved them wrong. The Lake was worth saving. With new standards and protocols governing pollution and new funding for cleanup, Lake Erie slowly began to heal itself.
In the late 1980s, Andrew developed an interest in wetland conservation and formed his own environmental consulting company, Environmental Resource Associates. For the community of Kendal at Oberlin, he designed and created an amazing diversity of wetlands from what had previously been an abandoned soybean field. He was known for working together with developers to protect and preserve quality wetlands. A bog rich in rare species in Solon had been drained years earlier and was in danger of being lost when a developer purchased it and the surrounding land. Together with the developer, Andrew restored the bog and designed the housing around it, so that the bog would remain protected. He also pioneered the concept of allowing developers to purchase and protect high quality off-site wetlands in exchange for existing wetlands reworked in development. The rare habitat of Pymatuning Fen was the first such natural area preserved by his efforts, and many more followed this precedent.
Andrew was privileged to serve as the president of The Ohio Academy of Science from 1987 to 1988. He was just as proud to serve as Dick Goddard’s “Caterpillar Scientist” for over two decades at the annual Woolly Bear Festival in Vermilion, Ohio.
Calling hours will be 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on July 1, at DeJohn Funeral Home, 28890 Chardon Rd, Willoughby Hills, Ohio, 44092.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. July 2, at Sacred Heart Chapel, 28700 Euclid Ave, Wickliffe, Ohio, 44092 with inurnment immediately following at Western Reserve Memorial Gardens, 11521 Chillicothe Rd, Chesterland, Ohio, 44026.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Hospice of the Western Reserve.
Charity Name: HOSPICE OF THE WESTERN RESERVE INC
Charity EIN: 341256377