Brian Preston Wilhite died in Fresno on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. He was 74 years old.
Brian was born on August 25, 1942 in Atascadero, to Norah C. Mansfield and Franklin Wilhite. He grew up in and around Yosemite National Park, graduating from Sierra High School, then Fresno State.
He began his career in education as an art and photography teacher at McLane High School in Fresno. Brian married Christine “Criss” Denman Wilhite in an outdoor Renaissance wedding in 1971 and lived in north Fresno in a clapboard house he and Criss moved from its prior location near downtown Fresno and renovated. He grew and raised chickens, fruit trees, grapes, and vegetables and, in 1974, his daughter, Chelsea.
In 1977 Brian and his family moved to Ahwahnee, where he continued teaching while also running White Cloud Photography and documenting weddings, graduations, family gatherings and the beauty of the Sierra Nevada. Son Carson was born in 1979.
Brian was an active traveler, hiker, swimmer, and skier throughout his lifetime, enjoying the beauty and challenge of mountain peaks and slopes around the western United States, Europe, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, China, and Fiji.
When his children were young, he spent summers with them backpacking the Sierra and swimming in Big Creek, the South Fork of the Merced River, and Bass Lake; during winters, he took them snow skiing at Badger Pass, Tahoe-area slopes, and even in their own yard.
His now-former wife, Criss, says his creative lifestyle will have enduring effects, “We will remember him as the great story teller, laugher, and teacher.”
Wilhite is survived by his sisters, Doris and Diana; children, Chelsea and Carson; grandchildren Gavin, Annalise, and Walker; and decades’ worth of students and friends.