E. James White, who founded the E. James White Company in 1964, died on March 16. He was in his 80s. His firm evolved into WHITE64, headed by Matt White, who joined his father’s company in 1984. A portion of Jim White’s obit follows.

Elmo James White Jr. was always Jim White to his friends and family. Jim was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and moved with his family to California but for most of his life he lived in Northern Virginia.

He attended Richmond Polytechnic Institute (now VCU) as an art major. It was there that he got an internship with Creative Arts—a 100-person design studio in Washington, D.C. After completing his internship, he enlisted in the Army and served as an MP.

Jim moved to the Army Reserves and reconnected with Creative Arts. Hired on as a production artist, over the next six years he moved rapidly up the creative ranks and became an Art Director, working on some of the biggest government creative contracts.

In the early 60’s Jim was interested in creating a new kind of creative shop and in February of 1964, he and two other employees from Creative Arts left the studio to create what became a new hot creative boutique in Georgetown known as Nolan Duffy & White. For the better part of the ’60s, ND&W dominated the creative scene in Washington DC.

Eventually, Nolan and Duffy moved on and Jim created the E. James White Company. Jim was a natural entrepreneur, salesman, and creative director. He also had the knack of building businesses, in addition to EJWCo, he created Art Incorporated, NOVA Color Labs and White Lightning Promotions.

Each of Jim’s children worked in the business and after working with some of the biggest names in DC, i.e. Smithsonian, General Electric, Fairchild Industries, Time-Life Books and Amtrak, in 1992 Jim transitioned to Chairman and remained there until his retirement in 2001.

Jim was also a big car guy. He used to brag that he bought more than 100 cars for business and family. He loved the negotiation and haggle of the car buying process. He also liked to add his design style to each car he bought; whether it was new wheels, new interior, trim, it was all about the style of the ride.

But at his heart, Jim was a yachtsman. He got into sailing at the urging of his friends Dave McLean and Art Birney. They purchased 19’ Corsairs, sailed and raced them out of the Washington Sailing Marina. It was the beginning of a love affair with the water that lasted a lifetime.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.