John Hazen White, Sr., who built Taco, Inc., into a leading manufacturer of hydronic pumps and related equipment, passed away on March 28, 2001. He was 87.

At the time of his death, Mr. White was chairman of Taco, originally the Thermal Appliance Equipment Co., an enterprise started by his father, Elwood White, in 1920.

Mr. White, a graduate of Yale, was not an engineer by training but was imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit and a drive to succeed. He was also a person who, late in life, became one of Rhode Island's most recognizable public figures, as he led a very personal campaign to educate his fellow citizens on their responsibilities as participants in a representative democracy. Fed up with public corruption and mismanagement, he decided to take a stand in his famous "Red Alert" campaign, where he took local politicians and other public figures to task for questionable dealings and spending through ads in the Providence Journal.

He was also a philanthropist and arts lover, and gave millions of dollars to universities and cultural institutions, including Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. In addition, he remained an avid sailor and mountain climber until his passing.