Frederica Gibson White peacefully passed on July 4, 2019 at her home surrounded by family. “Freddie,” as she was sometimes affectionately known, was born in Nashville, Tennessee on January 29, 1935. She spent her formative years in Fulton, Kentucky, where she graduated from Fulton High School in 1953. As an only child of the late James Frederic Gibson and Nelle Alice Lashlee Gibson, she radiated their love and her joy of life was reflected by a life of service to her family and community. As a “high stepping” majorette in the Memphis State College “Pride of the Deep South” marching band, she met the love of her life, J George Wayne White.
At their 60th wedding anniversary in 2017, Wayne explained to their close friends and family that Frederica was “the glue that held everything together in his life.” Frederica could not have put it any better but likely would have elegantly articulated her own thoughts on the subject as they were truly partners for life and she generally got the last word.
To her children, “Mom” was our whole world, always there offering love and supportive advice, passionately active in all that we or our children did. She was our role model. Although she could technically be classified as a house wife, any one that knew her or that role, knew she took the position to new heights. She was a leader in her communities, volunteering and serving in numerous educational, historical, and charitable organizations. In addition, she was the quintessential southern belle who loved to entertain, and be active socially with her beloved friends and family.
Freddie was president of her college sorority Sigma Kappa, vice president of the Kappa Alpha Sweethearts Club (where she met Wayne), and chosen to represent Memphis State College (now The University of Memphis) in the 1956-57 edition of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. After college, she taught fourth grade at the Chilhowee School in Knoxville, Tennessee supporting Wayne as he attended the University of Tennessee, College of Law. They moved to Atlanta then to Chattanooga in 1960 as Wayne accepted a position with Arthur Andersen. Mom and Dad made a core group of close and true friends while living on Signal Mountain.
In 1970, Frederica and Wayne were transferred to Birmingham where they resided in Mountain Brook. Birmingham welcomed Freddie allowing her to form additional lifelong, loyal and supportive friends.
As a force of nature, Frederica dove into her new community working in her own special way to contribute and improve people’s lives. She was especially active in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) serving on the Executive Board, Board of Trustees, and the Advisory Board for the KDS DAR School in Grant Alabama plus the Advisory Board of Tamassee DAR School. She served DAR on the local, state and national level, including Regent of the General Sumter Chapter, Birmingham. As the ASDAR State Regent (1997-2000) and later as Vice President General NSDAR (2000-2003), Mom’s projects included refurbishing the Alabama Room at the DAR Museum in Washington. Her terms of office were described as “successful and innovative” including the enhancement of public relations and publications at the state level, plus establishing a state web page.
Dad tagged along as she attended ceremonies, meetings, events and conventions. In his lofty position as HODAR (Husband of DAR) and as the strong life partner that he was, these opportunities allowed us as children or grandchildren to travel with them, instilling us with a lifelong love of United States’ history. Mom never went anywhere without her purse and book, both packed with notes, to do lists, and a calendar of events. She was a wiz at parliamentary procedure and likely had Robert’s Rules of Order memorized, all of which showcased her amazing skills and passion in the area of organization and planning.
While in Birmingham, Frederica served as President of the CPA Auxiliary, and on the Board of Directors of the Ballet women’s committee. She served as a member of the Birmingham Symphony Guild, the Poinsettia Ball, the Arlington Historical Society, Birmingham Belles, and National Parliamentary Association. Frederica was a past President of the Chancellors Guild at Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church. She also held membership in the Colonial Dames of the Seventeenth Century, Daughters of the American Colonists, Daughters of the Colonial Wars, Continental Society, and more. Branching out, she served as the Commissioner of Cahaba Heights Softball.
Later in life, Frederica suffered from Alzheimer’s. The family especially wants to thank the circle of friends and caretakers who helped her fight this illness as she resided in her family residence. Special thanks go to Mrs. Ruth Escott and Ms. Lasundra Palmer whose loving care served as an inspiration to the family. Mom was a source of wonder to Alacare Home Health and Hospice as true to form, she never quite did what they anticipated.
Frederica is survived by her three daughters and one son, Nelle White Pallme (William), Denise W. Moore (Jon), George Wayne White, and Frederica White Hecker (William), and her twelve grandchildren.
A brief grave side service will be held on Tuesday, July 9th at the Camden City Cemetery in Camden, Benton County, Tennessee at 221 West Main Street 38320. As the only child, Mom will be laid to rest between her parents. Her paternal and maternal grandparents, Irving W. Gibson (1837-1913) and Mary L. Barr Gibson (1854-1924), and Orlander Priestley Lashlee (1870-1932) and Minnie Barnes Lashlee (1876-1977) rest in the same cemetery along with a many other relatives.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 11th at 4pm at Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church, 3405 Brookwood Road, Mountain Brook, Alabama 35223. Visitation with the family and a reception will be at 3pm.
Thank you to the Stockdale Malin Funeral Home 133 North Forrest Avenue in Camden, Tennessee, and Ridout’s Valley Chapel 1800 Oxmoor Road Homewood, Alabama 35209 where this obituary may be viewed on line.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Frederica & Wayne White Fund at Independent Presbyterian Foundation 3100 Highland Avenue, Birmingham, Alabama 35205. This fund primarily supports the Sozo Children’s Orphanage.