Jack Lawrence White, A.I.A.

Jack Lawrence White, long time Los Angeles and Ventura County Architect and resident, passed away at the fine age of 89, on Monday, May 24th. Surrounded in love by his family, he took his last breath with his son Rick, holding his hand.

Jack, born in Phoenix, in the coat closet of the Kit Kat Club by a doctor who happened to be in the audience during a performance by his father’s band. Jack grew up traveling with his father Robert, Mother Jean, and with his older brother Bobbie, on the Vaudeville circuit.

Graduating from Hollywood High in 1950, the graduation ceremony was held at the Hollywood Bowl.

With The Korean War starting, Jack joined the Air Force. It was in the Air Force Band that Jack honed his skills on the French-horn during the day, in order to avoid being shipped out to combat. At night, Jack would gig on the piano, playing jazz in the clubs that were relegated to the “Blacks Only” musicians.  Jack became an aficionado of Jazz and always had Art Tatum, Miles Davis or Dave Brubeck playing in the house. 

After leaving the Air Force with his 1956 Austin Healey, he returned to Los Angeles to LA City College and on to USC School of Architecture. It was while attending USC that he met Penny while they both worked at the Valley Men’s Athletic Club. After only 6 weeks they were married at the “Little Brown Church in the Valley”.

Starting their married life together in the San Fernando Valley, Jack’s new Architecture practice for homes and apartment buildings during a time of growth, and Penny’s life on and off screen and theatre made for an exciting life. 

In 1971, an opening of a new community way out in Ventura County, Westlake Village, brought new opportunities for them.  Purchasing 3 dirt lots on what was to become a picturesque lake. With stake signs saying, ”will build to suit,” Jack started his Architect/General Contractor “White Oak Builders” career.

In 1978, before the real estate world slowed, Penny knew it was time to start a new career in travel writing. Becoming one of the most in-demand travel journalists for national newspapers and magazines, they became cruise experts and enjoyed traveling the open seas.

Life was good for many years, however in 1990, Penny was diagnosed with cancer. After a courageous battle, she died at the age of 54, leaving Jack, their children Rick and Jill, to start anew. 

Traveling with Jack and Jill” was born. This father and daughter team took many great  journeys and eventually launched, Jillsfoodtravels. Both Rick and Jill watched over their father as he advanced in years to ensure his safety, his comfort and his health, a testimony to his 89 years strong.

In recent years, Jack and his brother Bob, co-wrote music and lyrics for a Hollywood play. Jack enjoyed playing, “Play a little song for me” as a tribute to Bob and their collaborative skills and strong eighty-three-year, brother and best friend relationship.

Eight years ago, Jack moved to La Canada to be close with Jill and her husband Rick, and their daughters Lizzy and Kate. Jack is survived by his daughter-in- law Eliane, grandson Kyle and wife Melissa Breslow granddaughter, Karina.  Jack is also survived by his niece Lorry King and husband Bob, and nephew Steve White and wife Anne.

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