SEELEY LAKE — Ian Sayer White, 59, of Seeley Lake, died on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018 in his home. Ian was born in Princeton, New Jersey to Julia White and John White on Nov. 10, 1958.
After high school in New Jersey, Ian headed west to Eugene, Oregon, where he graduated from University of Oregon with a degree in Sociology. He went on to work as a social worker in Portland, Oregon and later in Missoula. Throughout his career Ian supported mentally ill adults and children in various capacities, assisted adults living with HIV/AIDS through the Missoula AIDS Council, served as the first male abortion counselor at Planned Parenthood of Missoula, and facilitated visitation between parents and children at the YWCA’s Planet Kids program. He had an intense passion for protecting and empowering the people he worked with and drew on his deep empathy, sensitivity and sense of morality to guide him in his work.
An advocate for the environment and sustainable living, Ian moved to Montana in 1990 to lead a more simple, self-sufficient life with his family. Purchasing property outside of Missoula with his then wife, Janet, he created the family farm. At Cramer Creek, he renounced formal work in favor of homeschooling his children through the early grade school years and acting as an active housefather and homemaker. He spent many years working and enjoying the property until 2007 when he moved into Missoula to care for his mother. Ian relocated to his cabin in the woods of Seeley Lake in 2015 after a brief spell back in Portland.
He was an outdoorsman, a teacher, a writer of poetry and a music aficionado. Ian was a perfectionist in all his projects and had a gifted eye for aesthetics — from flower arrangement and landscaping to art and interior design. Late into his life, Ian took pleasure in lengthy home improvement projects, spending hours outside in nature on foot, ski, or bike, and entertaining his energetic Australian Shepherd, Kip. He was an avid basketball player throughout his youth and adulthood and never missed a televised NBA game featuring LeBron James.
As far too many intelligent and creative people do, Ian struggled with depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse throughout his life. After a cancer diagnosis in June, he asserted that he was “not afraid of death, but of the path that leads there” and had often said that his greatest fear was to lose his independence and vitality. He chose to end his own life after the effects of chemo, radiation and his own depression became intolerable to him.
Ian is fondly remembered and greatly missed by the Seeley community — he was a kind, gentle presence about town and always had time to stop in and say hello. He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Julia and older brother, David. He leaves behind a sister, Susan, daughters Erika, Sayre and Megan, son Dylan and grandson Oliver (Erika).