Paul D. White, Sr.
| Paul Donald White, Sr.|
(Real estate entrepreneur in Alexandria, Louisiana)
|Born|| November 10, 1928 |
|Died|| May 3, 2018 (aged 89) |
|Spouse|| Lillian Joanne Lyles White (married 1951-2011, her death)|
Paul Donald White, Sr. (November 10, 1928 – May 3, 2018), was an entrepreneurial real estate developer in his native Alexandria, Louisiana, who built the early subdivisions of Cherokee Village, Yoho Park, Highpoint, and Charles Park. With his family members as partners, he branched into Shreveport and Baton Rouge to develop three apartment complexes in each city. A civic and philanthropic figure, White also served on the elected Rapides Parish School Board.
White was on eight children of Frederick Carlton White, Sr., and the former Mattie Ford. He was reared in the family home on Masonic Drive across from the R. W. Bringhurst Stadium. He graduated from Bolton High School in Alexandria, at which he demonstrated musical talents. He played in various bands, including the Blue Mooon of Bunkie in Avoyelled Parish, while he attended the former Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. While serving in the United States Army, White was selected as a saxophonist in the 199th Army Band.
Returned from the military, White first entered the real estate business with a friend and an uncle. In 1968, he established Paul White Real Estate, through which he constructed many single-family homes and expanded as well into commercial and multi-family development. He acquired the abandoned former Hermitage Apartments on Jackson Street and turned that property into a beautiful new apartment community. The restoration of Hermitage Apartments became the basis for much of his future success. He also built Woodhollow, the first townhouse development in Alexandria, and thereafter Windermere Place and Willow Wood. The Whites developed the Jackson Street Business Center, Raintree Condominiums, Hunters Grove, and the Woodlands subdivision on Kincaid Lake west of Alexandria. They acquired and developed these other apartments in Central Louisiana: Pine Highlands, Tanglewood, Walden Point, and Cedar Court. In Shreveort, the Whites acquired three apartment complexes: Villa Del Lago, Park Villa, and Colony Square. In Baton Rouge they bought three more apartment complexers: the Cambridge, The Establishment, and the Camelot.
As a school board member, White led efforts to restructure the district's finances, vigorously supported court-ordered desegregation and civil rights, and championed investments in school renovations and new construction. When he learned that the historically black Peabody High School failed to raise enough money for band uniforms and instruments, he worked for passage of a motion that required the Rapides district to purchase the equipment. Today, the Peabody marching band is among the award-winning of the South.
A long-term active member of the First United Methodist Church of Alexandria, White was the church choir director in the 1950s and 1960s. He held various positions over the years in church governance bodies at the local, district and state conference levels. He helped to establish the Wesley Conference Center in Woodworth, south of Alexandria, and made significant contributions to the Bishop Oden Pavilion, the Nature Trails and the Lamar and Wally White Sports Field. He was heavily involved in community philanthropy, including the Hope House, Shepherd Center, and Angel Care. The Whites founded the Christmas Cheer for Children program, the Care for Share Tutoring program, the Rapides Parish chapter of Habitat for Humanity and the Central Louisiana Food Bank.
In 2016, White was named "Cenla-ian of the Year" by the publication Cenla Focus because of his principal work in shaping the architectural landscape of Alexandria. White was married for nearly sixty years to the former Lillian Joanne Lyles, a native of the South Rapides community of Cheneyville, whose parents owned one of the most profitable cotton farms in the South. Joanne, as she was known, graduated from Louisiana State University and taught from 1950 to 1963 at Bolton High School. The two worked together in all of their church and philanthropic endeavors. She received the George Herbert Walker Bush 1000 Points of Light award for organizing the Hope House. She was named "Cenla-ian of the Year' nine years before her husband. Paul and Joanne White had six children, the youngest of whom, Wallace Mark "Wally" White, died in 1974 at the age of two. Their oldest son, the Reverend Dr. Paul White, Jr., of Baton Rouge, is a United Methodist clergyman. The Whites established an endowment at the Center for Preaching Excellence at the Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology in honor of another son, Frederick Lamar White, Sr. (1959-2001).
White died at his Alexandria home at the age of eighty-nine. In his obituary, he summed up his philosophy of life: "Be generous and sharing. Be honest and kind. Be compassionate. One last thing, know God. He is always there."
Paul and Joanne White are interred at the Highland Park United Methodist Church Columbarium in Dallas, Texas.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Paul Donald White, Sr. obituary. Alexandria Town Talk (May 6, 2018). Retrieved on May 6, 2018.
- ↑ Lillian Joanne Lyles White. Old.findagrave.com. Retrieved on May 6, 2018.
- ↑ Paul Donald White, Sr.. Oldfindagrave.com. Retrieved on May 6, 2018.