On the surface, Wilton had all the attributes of the classic scary uncle. He could be taciturn and grumpy and always looked the part with his clipped moustache, upright bearing and consistent, neat appearance that must have been learned from years of strict upbringing and Army life.
Children, however, possess sound, instinctive knowledge of who likes them and who does not. We always knew where Uncle Wilton stood.
Even when he was delivering a stern lecture on our lack of discipline; admonishing us for spending inordinate amounts of time in his home rather than our own; berating us for “eating him out of house and home” and disturbing his peace, there was the hint of a twinkle behind the dour expression that gave him away – Uncle Wilton was on our side.
And a good man he was to have on your side: a patient instructor in the proper use of a tool or a bow and arrow; a diligent coach , and always a man to provide unvarnished guidance on getting on with things.
He was not one for frivolous back-slapping or effusive praise, so that when he offered encouragement it was significant and duly regarded.
I remember vividly –aged ten or so , feeling quite pleased about batting during one of the many road cricket matches at the flats. Uncle Wilton watched from his balcony all the while but never said a word. Later that evening, over the regular “chota” and conversation with his lifelong friend , my father, he said “you should have seen your son batting today”.
Those few words from Wilton White were high praise indeed and they give me pleasure to this day.
We remember glimpses of Uncle Wilton striding along the Galle Road towards the Fort or Mount Lavinia on his evening walk, distance no obstacle and purpose in every step. We still see him, stopwatch in hand, leaving for St Peter’s College grounds at six in the morning for Melanie’s training session. There he is, sitting before a wonderful meal at 3G and grumbling “what the bloody hell is this , Joyce?” before eating it all anyway. He is very much alive for us, looking magnificent in his uniform, that striking artillery belt and crest defining his pride in his regiment.
But mostly, we remember our own children gravitating to him each day during one of our last trips to Australia before he drifted away.
They too seemed to instinctively know the real Uncle Wilton and, today, when we recall that visit and look at the photographs of them crowding around him as he entertained them, it brings them a happy smile.
Ian and Sandra Joseph.
- Our sincere condolences to the family. Regards Fazli, Shirani and the Kids
- Convey my Deepest sympathies to the family. Rgds. Kalyani.
- The passing away of Hilary’s father is sad news indeed. I do remember him and Aunty Joyce very well and they were really nice folks and so were all their children. Please do convey my heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to all of them. As always I will pray that his soul will rest in peace and also for the family to be able to get over the sorrow of losing a parent. Take care and god bless! Sriantha
- The news is Very Sad indeed considering the fact that the White Family are still in mourning for the late Mrs Joyce White. I had the privilege of working with Mr White as a Medical Representative for Photocinex Pharmaceuticals from 1967 to 1971 when I emigrated to Australia. During that time I got to know Mr White and can truly say what a Honest Gentleman he was. I am proud to have known him and will always remember him with Great Fondness as a result of this working relationship. Please convey Our Sincere Condolences to the entire “White Family” who we will uphold in Prayer during this Sad Time. Hilary/Penny/Melanie and Joel and your respective spouses and families remember Your Dad was truly a fine Human being of Very High Integrity and I will never forget him as mentioned above. Take refuge and draw on the strength of Our Lord knowing that your Father is now re-united with your dear Mum and at Peace. Your good friend and fellow Flatter. Everard & Dagmar Hoffman.
- It is with great sadness I note the death of Uncle Wilton. I was a little kid growing up in the flats in that era. My deepest Sympathy goes out to the family and will be remembered in my prayers! - Kumar Selvadurai
- Please convey our ( Jayetileke's at Block 'H' , 2/2 ) deepest sympathies to the Hilary/Jackie,Penny/Ravi,Melanie/Reg,Joel/Elizabeth and and convey that we share their sorrow of the demise of Wilton. Wilton was wonderful person and a gentleman. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time of your loss. Love, Doyne/Mary, Charmaine, Sriani ( Wickremasinghe), Trevor and Sriyani.
- Sad news of Wilton's passing .We were so friendly with them,& actually moved into their flat when they left for Aussie.Manique,Shri & Penny were buddies.Mummy was very friendly with Mrs. Ludowhyke,Joyce & Dorothy.My thoughts and prayers with them.Regards,Ranee Joscelyne[Dias Jayasinha]
- To Penny, Melanie,Hilary, and Joel,so sorry to hear the sad news accept our deepest sympathies. the Sellayah family.
- Dear Hilary and Penny, My wife Myrna joins me in conveying our deepest sympathies and condolences. We will remember your father in our prayers and also pray for you to be strong to cope with this loss. Warmest regards. Bertie Mendis
- Dear Hilary,Penny,& other family, Please accept my deepest sympathies.I recall your Dad as a senior in the Flats.I also recall meeting the family during my visit to Perth.May he rest in Peace. My prayers for him.Willie Mendis
- Please send my message of condolence to the kith & kin of Mr.Wilton White. Rajü.
- It is sad news to know that we have lost a great gentleman of few words but a warm smile please convey my deepest sympathies to Penny Hilary Melanie and Joel and their spouses My prayers and memorable thoughts are with the family. Lucky Ranchigoda
- Please do pass on our deepest regrets to the family. The Whites were a major part of the first generation of flatters. It was one big family then for all of us. any excuse for a party. and the parties went on till 5 or 6 am the next day. I wont forget any of them. Shall remember them in my prayers. Bunno & Lorraine
- Please convey our heartfelt sympathies to Hillary,Penny,Ravi and the rest of the family on their loss. Dennis Rutnam Patricia Rutnam (nee` Boeling)
- Our deepest sympathies to Penny, Hilary, Melanie, Joel and families on the sad passing of your Dad - Wilton. We have fond memories of those early 'flatter' days - the White family in G block was a significant part of that time and Wilton was a highly respected member of the'flatter' community. Our prayers are with you - Shirley Raymond & Deanna Caspersz (nee Dabrera)
- We (Balasingam boys) are deeply saddened to hear about the sudden demise of Wilton (always referred to him as Major White). We had the honor to know him and had the greatest respect for him. We know it is a great loss for the family in particular. Please pass on our sincere condolences to the family members. Sincere Condolences, Balasingam Family
- Dear Hilary, Jackie, Penny, Ravi, Melanie, Reg, Joel and Elizabeth, we are deeply saddened to hear of your loss. May your memories give you strength. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Subas, Auntie Katie and Ivan.