In Memory of




Obituary for Paul Francis White

Paul Francis White, passed away on June 27th, 2023 from a ruptured aneurysm. Beloved husband of 48 years to Kathleen Ahearn White and devoted father to physician Michael Paul White. Loving brother to Susan Ricci and husband Robert Ricci, and loving brother-in-law, uncle, and great uncle to other family members. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and all who had the fortune to know him.

He was born on April 29th 1948 in Boston, grew up in Cambridge MA who was an individual with unlimited talents, love of people, and unwavering dedication to family and career. He attended the renown School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University obtaining a Bachelor’s of Education (’72). Beginning his longstanding career, he was an accomplished artist ranging from painting exquisite renditions of The Unicorn Tapestries (circa 1495–1505 now displayed in The Cloisters NY, NY) in the Sommerville MA City Hall, to painting scenes of Boston and the transportation system.

After long days in the art studio, he would actually follow MBTA employees at night to learn the overhead wire system and electrical engineering, his true passion, and was truly self-taught. Soon enough, Paul was able to integrate his artistic talents with a career of electrical engineering and transportation consulting spanning over 45 years. Initially, he was an engineer for the MBTA and quickly rose through the ranks to Superintendent of Transmission and Distribution where he designed, built, and managed countless projects in Boston, such as involvement in the Central Artery/Tunnel Interstate 93 “Big Dig” during his 26 year tenure with the MBTA. He then moved to MAC Products, Inc as Director of Engineering for over 5 years, and then most recently as a Project Manager for Rail Systems at the premier firm, HTNB Corporation. Paul meant so much to so many, as an industry icon and true expert and leader at HNTB. He was a caring mentor, trusted colleague, and beloved friend.

Throughout his 45 year career, Paul has been decorated with numerous awards and published several manuscripts in prestigious industry and world journals. He was a lifelong inventor with 7 patents for new Overhead Contact Systems (OCS) industry products beginning in 1992 and recently accepted patent within the past year. His work reached the highly regarded view of Kummler+Matter Ltd, engineering company based in the transportation hub of Zurich Switzerland. HNTB is aware of 26 other OCS detailed product inventions that Paul designed, built and are currently in use, however he did not take the time to patent. Studying various Overhead Contact Systems in the U.S. and abroad, he was recognized by HNTB being awarded their highest technical honor as an HNTB Fellow in 2018. Paul had an extreme penchant for details and could recite obscure details from complicated systems all around the world. Paul founded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) OCS Subcommittee. He founded and served the OCS as its first chairman in 2001 for 16 years and was then named its chairperson emeritus with membership of over 500 industry professionals.

Paul is recognized and credited with galvanizing traction power-related professionals throughout North America. He was honored by the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society, given the Outstanding Service Award in 1017 at the 86th IEEE VTS conference in Toronto, Canada. He will be missed in the industry.

Visiting hours will be 11AM-2PM in the Henry J. Burke & Sons Funeral Home, 56 Washington St., Wellesley Hills on Saturday, July 8, 2023 with a Funeral Service at 1PM.

The Celebration of Paul's life scheduled Saturday, October 7, 2023 at the Unitarian Universalist Society has been cancelled.

Donations can be made in memory of Paul Francis White, to the Community Music Center of Boston, 34 Warren Ave, Boston, MA 02116 and/or the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra 855 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215.