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Businessman, activist White dies at 65

Several local U.S. military veterans fondly remember a Farragut developer, labeled “outspoken” by one town leader, for going above and beyond the call of duty.

James R. “Buddy” White, 65, who died Tuesday, Sept. 18, created the Sgt. Mitchell W. Stout Medal Of Honor Memorial at Virtue Cemetery off Evans Road.

“It’s sad what has happened … he was one of our honorary members of the Marine Corps League,” said retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Maj. David Hatfield, commandant of Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Marine Corps League Detachment No. 924. “We’re really going to miss Buddy. … We were devastated to hear the news.”

Retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Eric Nash, Detachment historian, recalled how the Stout Memorial came about: “Buddy White was driving by the cemetery one day and saw a Medal of Honor sign for Mitchell Stout … and he decided this is not enough of an honor to show respect for what Mitchell Stout did,” Nash said of the Vietnam Veteran killed in action trying to save his comrades. “What Mr. White did is he created this monument.”

Marine Corps. League officials said they first met Buddy in the mid-1990s, “When he had personally sponsored the Traveling Vietnam Wall to come to Lenoir City,” Hatfield said. Although the Detachment “normally only takes Marine veterans” as members, Hatfield said Buddy was an exception “because of his work with the community and the Sgt. Mitchell Stout Park that he erected over there. And over the years, anything we could do for Buddy, or he could do for us, he was more than happy to assist the Marine Corps. League and the Young Marines program.”

White also sponsored several events for the Detachment’s Young Marines.

Hatfield said the Detachment was planning to perform military honors at Buddy’s graveside service Saturday, Sept. 22, “with the family’s permission.”

Buddy, also founder and owner of Farragut Ditching Company, was an outspoken critic of Farragut town government and was part of a 2002 lawsuit where he fought to stop a town-imposed road closing.

Nevertheless, Farragut Mayor W. Edward “Eddy” Ford III gave the following tribute prior to the town’s monthly Farragut Municipal Planning Commission meeting Thursday, Sept. 20, in Farragut Town Hall: “On behalf of the town of Farragut I would like to extend condolences to the family of Buddy White. Buddy was a very outspoken individual, and he will certainly be missed.”


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