Morris Douglas White, a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col., departed his earthly home for his eternal home on Monday Jan. 23, 2017 in Eastland at the age of 95 years. Funeral services will be held on Sat. Jan. 28th at 2 p.m.at Edwards Funeral Home in Eastland conducted by Rev. Jim Wright and Assoc. Minister David Hullum with interment in the Eastland City Cemetery under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home with full military honors and flag ceremony by Honor Guard and Officers from Dyess AFB in Abilene.
Lt. Col White was born on Oct. 12, 1921 in Eastland, TX the second son of Homer Ebben and Nora Alice (Capers) White, well known farmers and ranchers from Eastland and Gorman. He attended schools in Cisco and Eastland and graduated from Cisco High School in 1939, serving as class President and member of the Cisco Loboe Band. He continued his education at John Tarleton Agricultural College in Stephenville for 2 years majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Army ROTC. Morris and his older brother, Dalton, attended Tarleton College at the same time, attending classes each week and helping their parents on the farm each weekend. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program, graduating as a multi-engine pilot in 1943. Following B-24 transition training at Tarrant Field in Fort Worth, he was assigned to the 486th Bomb Group (H), a B-24 Group, at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, Arizona. While there he met and married Janice Warner, and they had one son, Morris Douglas (Duffy) White, Jr. The 486th Bomb Group joined the Eighth Air Force in Sudbury, England, flying combat missions in B-24 and B-17 heavy bombers over Europe during WWII.
During his career he received many awards and medals for the 30 missions flown, 24 of which were in the B-24 and six in the B-17. Those medals included the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the WWII Victory Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the AFLS Medal, the European, African, Middle East Campaign Medal with 6 Battle Stars, the Medal for Humane Action, the AACM Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. His 25th combat mission occurred on July 4, 1944, when his B-24 aircraft, “Semi-Eager”, suffered heavy flack damage. The target for this mission was the Ford plant in Paris, France, which had been retrofitted to manufacture weapons of war for the German Armed Forces. Although the airplane was seriously damaged, it was flown back to its base in England, with the crew under pilot First Lt. White’s guidance suffering no injuries. General Jimmy Doolittle led the campaign and circled overhead while Lt. White landed the plane and its crew. It was considered that the crew did an outstanding job of bringing the airplane home. Suffering heavy damage the plane was scrapped after an emergency landing. It was determined all crew parachutes and those of the plane’s landing apparatus had been wired shut and sabotaged. The “Semi-Eager” never flew again, and Lt. White was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism. Returning to the states, he was selected for the regular Air Force and held assignments at various bases before he retired in 1965 after 22 years of service in the U.S. and overseas. His assignments included Sandia in Albuquerque, NM, Wichita, KS, James Connallee AFB in Waco, TX, Dyess AFB in Abilene, Guam, Greenland, Sudbury, England, and Ben Guerir Air Base in Morocco. The last 10 years he served as Strategic Air Command B-47 Aircraft Commander (earning a triple rating for the B-47), Command Pilot, Navigator, Bombardier, and Supply & Logistics Senior Staff Officer.
While stationed in Abilene he met and married Dorothy Tidwell of Ft. Worth. After his retirement, they moved to the family ranch near Cisco. They lived there many years before moving to Vallecito Lake, Colo. Other places they called home included Jefferson and Eastland, before relocating to the Woodlands Assisted Living Center in 2008. Lt. Col. White’s hobbies included carpentry, gardening, cattle, and his WWII crew reunions. He loved God, his family, his country, his Air Force, and Ronald Reagan. He was intensely devoted to all of them. He was a member of First Christian Church in Eastland.
He was predeceased by his parents, sons, (Doug) Duffy White and Dale Ray Molder, his brother, Dalton White, wife and mother of his son (Duffy) Janice Warner, and wife, Dorothy White, mother of Dale Ray. He will be missed but remain in the hearts of his survivors, daughter-in-law, Carolyn White of Eastland, son, Dewayne Gene Molder (wife, Conni) of Plano, daughters, Delena (husband Bob) Murphy of Arlington, and Denise Shannon, of Ft. Worth, as well as 18 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Alan Mickish, the entire staff and residents at the Woodlands Assisted Living Center, Encompass Home Health, Kindred Hospice, and the prayers, calls, visits by so many friends. Col. White received the love and personal care of so many, and it is truly appreciated and recognized.
Pallbearers will be Rex Fields, Tommy Warford, Bob Murphy, Dewayne Molder, Brodie White, and Gable White.
Those wishing to remember him may do so to First Christian Church of Eastland, The Wounded Warriors Project, or Rescue the Animals.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day. 2 Timothy 4:7-8