Dr. Jack Hammons White
The Memorial Service for Dr. Jack Hammons White, age 76, who died July 7, 2018, at his Columbus residence, will be held at three o’clock in the afternoon of August 18, 2018, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 318 College Street, Columbus, Mississippi, with the Very Rev. Anne Harris officiating. Dr. White, son of Jack and Lucille Leatherwood White, was born February 17, 1942, in Greenwood, Mississippi, and was reared in Leonard, Texas, where his parents owned Leatherwood-White Hardware. Descended from pioneer Texas families, he was graduated from Leonard High School in 1960 and attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. He received the Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas A & M University, Commerce, in 1965, and the Master of Arts in American Literature and Theater History in 1967. He pursued doctoral study at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, and in 1977 was granted the PhD. with a specialization in medieval studies. Dr. White began his teaching career at Mississippi State University in 1967 and retired in 2004 as Director Emeritus of the University Honors Program, now Shackouls Honors College, which he administered for twenty years. During his tenure at Mississippi State University, Dr. White served at Director of Freshman English; Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Director, Distinguished Scholarship Program; Chair, Performing Arts Committee; Fulbright Advisor and Liaison; and Chair, Rhodes Scholarship Preparatory Committee. In 1979, as Director of the Writing Program, Dr. White was among twenty-one participants selected for the National Institute on Writing at the University of Iowa that published a seminal book on writing theory, for which he wrote a chapter that led to his extensive work as a consultant and speaker. In 1986, as Director of the Honors Program, he participated as one of twenty-two competitively selected administrators in the Council for Educational Exchange Symposium in Berlin, Germany, to evaluate universities in the former German Democratic Republic. Other European engagements included post-doctoral study and research at the British Library and Oxford University; scholarly presentations on Chaucerian printer Richard Pynson at the University of Regensburg, Germany; Mississippi literature instruction as Invited Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Perugia, Italy; and administrative direction for the MSU component of the College Consortium for Study Abroad and the London Winter Interim Program. He directed the MSU study program in Italy, where he was an awarded a medal of recognition by the Commune di Perugia. Before his retirement from Mississippi State University, Dr. White received many recognitions, including Outstanding Faculty Member, 1987, Student Association; Housing and Residence Life Service Award, 1994; Outstanding Service as an Advisor, Council of Student Organizations, 1995 and 1996; and Meritorious Service Award, Golden Key National Honor Society, 1996. Dr. White also received the Distinguished Service Award for the Southeast/South Region from the National Association of Academic Affairs Administrators. He was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers in 2004. Following his retirement, he taught briefly in the Department of English at Mississippi University for Women, Columbus, Mississippi. Other academically related service included the National Collegiate Honors Council Executive Committee and Southern Regional Honors Council, for which he was Mississippi Coordinator. As twice-elected Chair of the Mississippi Humanities Council, 1996-1999, he received the Humanities Scholar of the Year award in 2003. Also in 2003, he was recognized for “his extraordinary career achievements in higher education” by joint resolution of the House of Representatives and the Senate, presented in a joint session of the Mississippi Legislature. Dr. White committed himself to community involvement wherever he lived. He served the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education as Board Member and the Mississippi Cultural Alliance as a Founding Member. Membership and board service included the Mississippi Historic Trust, the Starkvillle-MSU Symphony Association, the Starkville Community Theatre, and the Starkville Arts Council. For the Columbus Historic Foundation, he co-chaired the Decorative Arts and Preservation Forum and from 1999 until 2004 was Managing Director of the Antiques Show and Sale. In 2000, he participated in the organization of the Tennessee Williams Tribute. He was a Life Member of Friends of the Library and a board member of the Columbus Arts Council, with special recognition as one of the 2018 Arts Council Members of the Year. In the Columbus Rotary Club, he was a Paul Harris Fellow and Rotarian of the Year, 2010-2011. He received the Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Citation in 2014. Pi Kappa Alpha, his fraternal organization, identified him for the Delta Region as Chapter Advisor of the Year, 1999-2000, for the Gamma Theta Chapter, Mississippi State University. Dr. White was active in the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Starkville, and in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which he served as a member of the Vestry. Benefitting from the care and support of Drs. Brett Brown, Cameron Huxford, and Everett McKibben and from the nursing staffs of Kindred Hospice and Generations Care, Dr. White also was assisted by several friends, especially Mr. Ronnie Clayton. Dr. White donated his body to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Gratitude is expressed to Mr. Hollis Peel and the staff of Gunter and Peel Funeral Home and Crematory for their kind guidance and assistance. Preceded in death by his parents, Dr. White is survived by his wife of forty-nine years, Emilie Clare Cunningham White, and first cousins, Claude Bevins Leatherwood (Laura) of Sugar Land, Texas; James Lee Leatherwood (Elaine) of Austin, Texas; Sam Leatherwood (Jaime) of Nashville, Tennessee; and Len Leatherwood (Ray Beaty) of Beverly Hills, California. Memorials may be sent to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 318 College Street, Columbus, Mississippi, 39701; the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society, 50 Airline Road, Columbus, Mississippi, 39702; or to a charity of choice.