Chancellor Billy Joe White, a well-known leader in the community, has died. Services will be held Saturday and Sunday.
White, 76, died on Nov. 20. He is survived by his wife Cheryl and five children: Joe White, Jon White, Paul White, Laura Wilson and Kristi Mueller. He is also survived by 17 grandchildren and a sister.
He started his law practice in Claiborne County with William G. Harrell upon graduation from the University of Tennessee School of Law. White went into private practice in 1968 and was appointed Chancery Judge of the 2nd Chancery Division by Governor Ray Blanton in 1977. His division consisted of the Eighth Judicial District counties of Claiborne, Union, Campbell, Scott and Fentress. He was elected to the office in 1978 and re-elected in 1982, 1990, 1998 and 2006.
“Chancellor Billy Joe White served the state in the great tradition of country judges – full of common sense, wise counsel and fair dealing. While his many friends among the bench and bar mourn his loss, we also cherish our memories of this good man. The prayers of the entire judiciary go out to the family and the people of his district,” said Chief Justice Gary R. Wade in a statement on the court’s website.
He helped to created the J. Frank White Academy at Lincoln Memorial University as the result of an estate case. He was also closely involved in beginning the Claiborne Horse Show and Rescue Squad, as well as the water access now known as Brogan’s Landing. He and others were able to establish the first football program in Claiborne County.
In addition to his community involvement, White was an avid sportsman and enjoyed football, softball, golf, fishing, hunting and shooting. He was also a farmer and raised cattle. White became a 50-year Mason in 2010 at Evening Star Lodge 180 in New Tazewell.
Visitation will be held from 4 until 8 p.m. Saturday at Pump Springs Baptist Church in Harrogate, where he was a member. Funeral and Masonic Services will be held at 8 p.m. Additional visitation will be held Sunday from 1 until 2 p.m. at Reece Funeral Home in Harrogate, followed by burial in the Oak Grove Cemetery.