On hearing of John's death I recalled a speech he held a few years ago to mark his 80th birthday. The section that stuck most in my mind concerned John's views about technology and the future. The spectacular advances made during his lifetime prompted him to muse on all those unimaginably exciting inventions still to come.
I was inspired and invigorated by John's unbridled optimism. It was so refreshing to hear someone look forward to the future with hope and excitement instead of the usual fear and foreboding.
Yet this wide-eyed enthusiasm was tinged with sadness: John confessed how frustrating it was to know that he would not live long enough to witness the 21st century at first hand.
So, thanks, John. The speech you gave upon reaching your 80th birthday remains with me still. Your words are a continual reminder that we should disregard those among us who habitually dismiss "old people" as timid technophobes who don't understand the present, fear the future and long for the good-old-days.
Our best hope for the 21st century is to live it with the same sort of eager curiosity as that expressed by John White as he was about to begin his ninth decade on the planet.