Byron Wallace White

Published 11:36 am Friday, July 22, 2011

Byron Wallace White

North Shelby

Byron Wallace White, age 69, of North Shelby lost his battle with colon cancer Friday, July 22, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Sherry; their children, Ann Zell (Greg) of Fayetteville, NC, Rush White, of Alexandria, VA, Kate Etheredge and Elijah White (Beverly) of North Shelby; grandchildren, Tasha and Megan Zell, Patrick Etheredge and Jade Harris; siblings, Jack Brown (Pat) of Johnson City, Tenn., and David Brown and Mary Wilson of Salisbury, NC; niece, Jenna Wilson; nephew, Neil Brown; his loving in-laws, Raymond and Margaret Lyon of North Shelby; and many, many other family members and friends.

Byron White was involved with various veterans and civic organizations for the better part of three decades. He was a life member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), American Legion, VFW, DAV, Vietnam Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America and the Combat Infantry Association, as well as a member of the VA National Cemetery Support Committee, the Blue Star Salute Foundation and most recently was appointed to the Alabama Department of Veteran Affairs Board.

Byron concentrated his energy and talents mainly with the American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Blue Star Salute Foundation. In each of these organizations, he was selected or elected into substantial leadership positions.

Byron was a former state commander of the MOPH. He was currently serving as their inspector and as the MOPH representative on the Alabama State Board of Veterans Affairs. He had recently been elected to the position of deputy vice chairman of the board and chairman of the homes committee, which oversees the three state veterans’ homes and is overseeing the construction of a fourth veterans’ home.

He was a past state commander and national vice commander for the Southeast Region of the American Legion and was currently serving on the American Legion National Security Commission.

Byron was a co-founder and was the president emeritus of the Blue Star Salute Foundation.

An Army retiree, he began his career as an infantry private, rising to sergeant then being selected to attend OCS. He served two years in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader and company commander, earning the Combat Infantry Badge, Silver Star, Soldiers Medal, five Bronze Stars (two for valor), and five Purple Hearts plus numerous other awards and decorations. He retired as a major after 20 years.

Byron was the senior army instructor for Holt High School JROTC for 21 years. His last inspection rated Holt’s JROTC program as the number one program in the state of Alabama and one of the top five programs in the nation. He had a remarkable success in salvaging at-risk students through his tough love policies. He taught responsibility and required excellence, and he never accepted mediocrity or allowed excuses.

Byron earned a bachelors degree in history from Pfeiffer College in North Carolina, a master’s in international relations from Boston University and graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Resident Course.

Noted for his community service, Byron had served on two advisory boards at the Tuscaloosa VAMC. He has been president of the Kiwanis Club of Columbiana. As a Boy Scout Leader, he was a WEBELOS den leader and assistant scoutmaster in Columbiana. Upon moving to Tuscaloosa, he formed and was the scoutmaster of Troop 123 in Holt. He then became an advisor to an Explorer Post and a Venture Crew. He was named veteran of the year and citizen of the year while living in Tuscaloosa. He was also honored as a “special veteran” during the pre-game activities at a University of Alabama home football game.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, July 24, 2 p.m., at the American Village Chapel, Montevallo. A family interment will be held at the Alabama National Veterans Cemetery in Montevallo.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to any of the above mentioned veterans’ organizations or The American Village in Montevallo. Charter Funeral Home directing.