The family of LTC Billy Max White is holding a memorial service followed by a celebration of life for him on Saturday, May 28th, 2022, from 2pm to 4pm at the Town of Byrdstown City Activities Park, located at 200 W. Main Street, Byrdstown, TN 38549. The high honors military memorial service will begin at 2pm sharp and will be conducted by the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group. After the formalities of the memorial have concluded, the family will open things up a bit and attendees can partake in a celebration of Bill’s life.
Billy Max White, 75, of Byrdstown, TN passed away unexpectedly Sunday, August 29, 2021. He was born on February 24th, 1946 to Alfred and Mattie (Coleman) White. Bill married the love of his life, Marian Phillips, on February 4th, 1967. He is survived in death by his wife Marian, his daughter Teresa (White) Bateman and husband Dan of Maryland, his son Steven Cheeba White and wife Laurel (Ainley) of Florida. He was the loving grandfather of Bailey and Avery Bateman. He is also survived by his sisters, Maxine Phillips of Cookeville, Jean Sullivan of Rickman, Geraldine Huddleston of Byrdstown, and his brother Ron White of Texas. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Don White of Ohio and Bob White of Byrdstown.
Billy Max White lived his life by a small group of core values: God, family, country, honor, integrity, hard work and humility. Those values guided him to achieving multiple larger than life accomplishments in his lifetime, yet he downplayed each one as if it were just normal and routine. Known for bringing joy and laughter to a room, Bill in his own words, never met a good time he didn’t like. With an unwavering hard work ethic, and a childlike zest for life complete with an infectious laugh that could lighten up even the grumpiest person, Billy White embodied the saying, work hard and play hard.
A seeker of knowledge with a special affinity for history, Bill earned a Bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech, and went on to earn his Master’s degree from the University of Southern California. His military career spanned decades including being a Green Beret, a helicopter pilot, a fixed wing aircraft pilot, and a tank commander, serving multiple tours of combat duty, receiving numerous awards and medals including 3 Bronze Star Medals with Oak Leaf Clusters and over 30 Air Medals, serving on multiple Presidential task forces, and much more. Yet, when someone would ask him what he did in the military, he would simply respond, “I was a soldier and a helicopter pilot”. He retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel in 1987, and continued serving his country by working in the defense industry until his death.
Born with music in his soul, carrying a tune came naturally to Bill. Whether he was playing the guitar, the banjo, or even just keeping time by tapping his feet, he never turned down an opportunity to do some pickin’ and grinnin’ with friends. A natural explorer, Bill would seek out opportunities for adventure that he and his family could experience together. From climbing the Eiffel Tower to hiking the Grand Canyon to checking out the dive restaurant they just drove past, Bill never missed an opportunity to make a new memory with his family. Having a keen sense of when to follow the rules, when to bend them and when to take the approach of what rules, stuck with Bill his entire life. Just by his nature, Billy White was an outstanding role model not just for his children, and grand children, but for their friends as well. He was never one to interject himself into someone else’s business, but if sought out, he was known to give life trajectory altering advice.
LTC Billy Max White was truly one of a kind. He is deeply loved, and his presence is and will continue to be missed dearly.
In lieu of flowers donations in memory of Bill White may be made to the Wounded Warriors.