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Pavilion dedicated to Town visionary, builder

Targeting Independence Day for the official dedication of James R. “Buddy” White Picnic Pavilion made this an especially festive tribute at Virtue Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Dozens of church members, most of them friends of the late Buddy White and his widow, Loretta, gathered in the newly constructed 1,800 square-foot pavilion for song, food galore — and most importantly to share kind words and fond memories about a visionary Saturday evening, July 4.

Buddy, a noted local philanthropist, founder/owner of Farragut Ditching company and a developer of such communities as Wentworth, first envisioned the idea for a pavilion — and contributed to its funding — before his sudden death in September 2007.

“Buddy White is remembered by us today as a very generous man who was always eager to offer a lending, helping hand,” the Rev. Mark Allison, VCP pastor, said while addressing the gathering. “He offered a helping hand to so many people around him over the years.

“Buddy sent us a letter ... and a check and wishing us well in our ministry,” Allison added. “That’s Buddy White. ... Buddy was just a very generous man. His generosity is what has inspired us through the gifts of many, many people.”

Buddy also is remembered for funding, planning and overseeing construction of Sgt. Mitchell W. Stout Medal of Honor Memorial at Virtue Cemetery off Evans Road.

Loretta White addressed the gathering and thanked those involved in raising funds and building the pavilion “for a job well done,” including “all my friends and family for all the work they did for the rummage sales and bake sales and food sales and the dinners.”

Loretta also thanked church member Bill Shipley for “all the beautiful tables,” having constructed the pavilion’s 10 picnic tables.

After her address, Loretta said her husband “would be so proud looking down, because he gave us this last thing, [and would say], ‘Rob, you build the pavilion, I’m putting it in your hands.’”

Rob Boles, Buddy’s son-in-law, was in charge of construction for the $40,000 project, which lasted from October 2008 until it was completed “just before Easter.” About $30,000 of actual cash went into materials plus donated labor, Boles said.

“So, Rob Boles built it. ... It just turned out beautiful, with all the help from friends,” Loretta said. “We’re proud of it, and [Buddy’s] proud of it.”

Saying she and Buddy have been members of Virtue Cumberland Presbyterian since around 1960, Loretta added they “were married in the old church that they tore down in ’63 ... we were the last ones married in it.”

Allison also noted the “seemingly endless hours of work by Rob,” and credited Shipley for “doing a fine job with these tables. ... because of these and countless other people’s efforts, this is finally completed.

“Many have given so much of their time and energy and their finances. On behalf of Virtue and on behalf of Buddy White’s family, let me say thank you.”

The pavilion, located just south of the main sanctuary, also includes a fireplace. Embedded within the fireplace wall is a plaque dedicated to the memory and efforts of Buddy White.


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