Jim White, Proud Vet,to ride in Castor parade

By Mary K. Hamner
Journal Correspondent

He once rode mules, but now he drives a vintage John Deer farm tractor in the annual Castor Pine Beetle Parade.
Jim White, a well-known local resident, looks forward to participating in Castor's Pine Beetle Festival parade. "A festival was started by CARES in the 1990 period and I participated in their parades by riding whatever mule I owned," White said. "Later I drove the mules hitched to wagons. Eventually I purchased a 1947 John Deere M Tractor. I was 87 years old and after the tractor was rebuilt, I have tried to participate in Castors' Pine Beetle Festival Parade every year."

White, born in Texas September 21, 1922, moved to Louisiana in 1982 after marrying Iva Nell Bogan of Castor. They settled on Bogan Hill south of Castor on Iva Nell's old home place. Later they hired a local builder, O'Neal Bolyer, to build the home that White lives in today. "I began dealing in the mule business," White said, " and also raised cattle on the place. I ordered baby chickens through the mail and maintained a small farm operation. Ebenezer Church was within a mile of our home and our church family was an important part of our lives."

"I was born on a farm in Kent County Texas near Girard," Jim continued. "I went to school at Steel Hill Public school through the 8th grade then graduated High School at Girard, Texas. Soon after graduation I drove to Jonesboro, Louisiana to my Uncle's house where I entered the short wood business. After a time, I sold my car, bought a motorcycle and went back to Lubbock, a large town just north east of my home in Kent County. I developed a Real Estate business there and also helped to fund Lubbock Downs. We trained race horses and I participated in horse races. At the onset of World War 2, I joined the Navy."

White's military career took him places far from home and opened up experiences that enriched his life. He was trained to be a signalman at Great Lakes Naval Training Command and made numerous ship crossings on convoy to Cardiff South Wales and into the Mediterranean Sea. Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. His travel experiences are interesting parts of his extraordinary life.

Jim White's military career ended in 1945 with the end of World War 2. After his honorable discharge from the Navy he settled in New York City. He drove a taxicab, three ice route trucks, and a moving van, to make a living wage. He soon moved back to West Texas where the Oil boom was opportunity for a new job closer to home. He wound up working on the North Slope of Alaska before he returned once again to his roots in West Texas.

It seemed that for a time White used his communicating skills to good advantage as a Fuller Brush salesman, then it was on to selling Real Estate in West Texas again. He sold used cars for a period of time before he sold out his Texas property and came to Louisiana in 1982.

Thirty-one years brought many changes to Jim White's life. However he soon became an important part of the community and served in any way he could. After losing his wife Iva Nell, he sustained the loss by daily work on his farm and any community service he could give. According to one local, he has been regular in attendance at the Ebenezer Church, dressed in his white shirt, black string tie and cowboy boots. In 2001 Marjorie Richards came into his life and they married and make their home together at the end of the country lane just off La. Highway 153 south of Castor.

In the declining days of September a visitor to Jim and Marjorie White's home might find he and his friend Jessie Joyner outside polishing the John Deere M in preparation for the upcoming parade. "I have tried to participate each year as I plan to do this year," Jim White said. "I will carry my American Flag because I am a Proud Christian Veteran."

The Festival Committee awarded him a trophy with a tractor on top in 2012 recognizing his contribution to their annual festivals.