HARRY WALLACE WHITE
It is with great sadness the BC Golf Museum announces the passing of Harry White, one of the original founders of the BC Golf House Society, overseer of the BC Golf Museum, Archives, Library, and Hall of Fame of BC. Brother Frank, and sisters, Pat Byrne and Gerri Tarchuk, survives Harry.
FUNERAL MASS ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 11TH, 2018, 11:00 AM AT
During his lifetime, Harry touched all aspects of golf. The British Columbia Golf Museum will deeply miss Harry’s support. In 1985, Harry, his brother Dick, and Mike Riste commenced the journey to create North America’s first provincial or state golf museum. The BC government signed a lease with a local golf group to operate the University Golf Course. The lease instructed the new group to construct a new clubhouse and upgrade the course. As work progressed on the new clubhouse, the three founders slowly assembled a group to convince the government to allow the original 1930 clubhouse to be transformed into a golf museum for BC. “To preserve BC’s rich golfing heritage” became the governing goal for the group. Harry attracted, Ken Atkinson, fellow member of Marine Drive GC, to act as the group’s solicitor. Ken diligently assembled the necessary papers to create the BC Golf House Society (1987). Ken also painstakingly negotiated a sub-lease with the new University GC operators. Dick attracted Ron Okada, an accountant, to the group. Ron convinced Revenue Canada the Museum concept was a viable entity. In 1989, the fledgling Society received charitable tax status.
Thanks to the diligent work of Kim Campbell, our newly elected MLA, the museum founders and volunteers celebrated success in November 1986. Kim presented the keys to the abandoned building. Then, the daunting task to transform the abandoned structure into a golf museum began. Again thanks to Harry’s efforts, George Yen, George Williams, and Norm Edgar commenced their monetary contributions to the ambitious project. Ken attracted Peter Bentley to supply funding.
Over the next three years, volunteers slowly created the Museum. Whenever the workers required materials; such as dimension lumber, insulation, drywall, paint, and carpet, Harry knew whom to approach in the golf community. The materials always arrived – no charge.
As the project progressed, everyone knew the Society required regular and predictable funding. Harry, Fred Wellsby, Ernie Brown, and Les Patterson conducted our initial charity golf tournaments. Today, The Tradition Golf Classic today contributes $20,000 – $40,000 each year to the Museum operation. In 1987, charities conducted golf tournaments to supply funding to their organizations. The BC Golf House Society had no tournament date and no golf course commitment to host the event. Again, Harry came through. At that time, Harry and Fred conducted a charity event to support their Junior Masters Golf Tour. This tour gave children from eight to twelve years old an opportunity to play golf. Harry and Fred allowed the Society to use their date and venue – the Richmond Country Club.
After the Museum opened on May 6, 1989, Harry continued to support the Golf Museum in many ways. This past summer, he generously donated all the golf items in his suite. It could easily be said over his fifty-year golf career, Harry never discarded anything. The collection included books, photos, clubs, training aids, scorecards, medals, trophies, and correspondence.
Harry will be missed Harry’s friends now have a challenge – to make certain his junior legacy does not die.