BIOGRAPHIES of HENDERSON COUNTY

MURRAY & OPAL (HALL) WHITE

On Sunday August 4, 1996, Murray A. (Buddy) and Opal White of 58 Renfroe Street, Lexington, were honored with a party given by their children and immediate family to celebrate Buddy's 84th and Opal's 80th birthdays. Both are Henderson County natives who have returned home to Lexington after spending most of their adult and working lives in other areas of the southeastern United States.

Opal White was born Lula Opal Hall on November 8, 1916 on a farm in the Henderson County community or Independence which is on the Henderson-Madison County line. She was the third of five daughters born to Maudia Houston Hall and Riley Harrison Hall who eventually bought a farm on Natchez Trace Road immediately outside the city limits of Lexington. Four of the five daughters are still living today and include; Ruth Mitchell of Nashville, Edna Patton of Lexington, Marie Johnson Neely of Jackson and Mrs. White. The fifth daughter, Jewell Hall died as a teenager.

Mrs. White has spent her entire working career as a homemaker and mother and she kept the home firex burning for her husband and four daughters. She became an expert at sewing, including making and alterations of clothing, curtains, piercing quilts, etc., and homing canning and preserving of food for family consumption. Both of these traits are rapiding becoming a lost art in the modern world. She stills practices both activities today, plus continuing to home a "victory" garden, and is still sharing the bounty with her grown daughters and their families.

Buddy White was born Murray Arlen White on August 7, 1912 on Clifton Street in Lexington. He was the second son of Willie Mae Connally White and Robert Henry White. They had four sons, two are still alive today and are; Charlie White of Lexington who is 86 years old and Mr. White who is 84. Two of their sons, Nolan (Pickle) White died in his youth, and John David White passed away in June 1996 at the age of 69 in Madill, Okla.

Mr. White began his working career in 1935 at the Salant & Salant shirt factory in Lexington as a cutter. In 1941, he changed careers becoming a welder at the shipyard in Mobile, Ala., moving in 1943 to the shipyard in Decatur Ala., and going in 1944 to the shipyard in Jeffersonville, KY. In 1947, he came back to Lexington to open his own business, Buffy's Cafe, which he operated until 1949 at which time he closed the cape and became self-employment as a free-lance welder. In 1950 he had the opportunity to become a part of 20th century history as he was hired as a welder on a construction of the atomic energy plant at Oak Ridge, Tenon. When that plant was completed in 1954 he took his skills as a welder and his family to Paducah KY.

He continued working in KY, but in 1957 he had an opportunity to become a mechanical engineer in Piketon Ohio and he and his family stayed there until 1960 when he moved the family back to Lexington settling on Natchez Trace Road. In 1960, he went to work for the Louisville and Nashville railroad as a locomotive fireman and stayed until 1977 when he retired as a locomotive engineer. He had again moved his family from Lexington, going to Memphis in 1967 until 1977, when he retired from the L & N Railroad.

White living in Memphis, Buddy had two major surgeries. In 1980 and again in 1988, he had open heart surgery and the Methodist Central Hospital. Opal stayed right with him as the hospital to take care of him both times. They both stated their church family from Georgian Hills Baptist Church helped them out as much during that time.

In 1993 he and Opal returned to their hometown of Lexington, where they could be close to their daughters. They sold their home in Memphis and bought a house on Renfroe Street where they live now.

Opal and Buddy were married on January 20, 1939 at Brow. Fleetwood Ball's home (parsonage) in Lexington, and as of January 20, 1996 have celebrated 57 years of marriage. That in itself speaks of the devotion and love they have for each other and throughout their long marriage, their love and devotion has become stronger. That union produced four daughters, Jeannetta Tignor of Waynesboro TN, Patsy Dillingham of Poolesville MD, Katie Foster of Lexington and Linda Gray of Jackson TN. All the girls were born in Lexington except Linda who was born in Paducah, and all graduated from Lexington High School, except Linda who graduated from Frayer High in Memphis. In addition to the four daughters, they have nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Buddy always wanted a son, but after four girls he decided to give up his dream of sons and just become the KING of his own empire.

While both Buddy and Opal are in their 80's their zest for enjoying life is still strong as both enjoy traveling with their church, having a big garden and a beautiful landscape yard. Buddy, at the age of 84 still mows and weeds his yard, and Opal cans and freezes vegetables and takes car of the flowers. Their church is a vital part of their lives as both were active in the adult Sunday school while singing in the choir at Georgian Hills Baptist Church in Memphis, and have continued that activity at First Baptist Church in Lexington.

Buddy and Opal say they thank the Lord every day for good health and for letting them live an active life. Best wishes to them for the future and for them to continue to have a long, active and happy life.

Contributed by "Interesting Couple" from the Lexington Progress

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