Our beloved Gainwell “Jimmy” White, age 81, was reunited in heaven with his wife, Mirella, on April 27, 2020. He was born September 15, 1938, in Rock Hill, South Carolina to parents Henry and Senora Brown White. Being the youngest of 16 children, he learned the value of hard work at a very young age. His first job was cleaning up the mills. At age 18, he joined the Army and would go on to serve our country for 23 years including two tours in Vietnam earning a Medal of Honor and Bronze Star. His service provided him the opportunity to travel and experience the world. His greatest gift came from his time abroad in Vicenza, Italy where he met the love of his life, Mirella Meneguzzo who he married on June 6, 1960.
After he retired from the Army, he started working for Copperas Cove Park and Recreations and during this time his passion for lawncare began. He utilized his strong work ethic, great people skills, reliability, and passion for gardening to build a successful landscaping business. He loved working outside but was finally forced to retire at age 75 due to his health issues. This was a difficult time for him because he loved to work outside. In spite of all his health challenges, he kept busy living and enjoying life. He was known for his smile, laughter, love for his family, and love for life! He never met a stranger; everyone he met became a friend.
After retiring from the military, he proudly purchased his first and only home in Copperas Cove, Texas. He and his wife raised two sons, Larry and Jimmy; and three daughters, ChiChi, Gobby, and Maria. Many great memories were made in that home. His neighbors of more than 40 years became family. He developed many strong friendships in the community. He attended weekly “Old Farts” meetings which allowed him to “hang out” with his buddies every week.
After 50 years of marriage, he lost his soulmate, his wife Mirella, on April 4, 2010. This difficult time brought him closer to God. He starting going to Bible Way Missionary Baptist Church and became a church member. His church became a significant part of his life. He loved his church and church family. He found peace in his spiritual journey.
Anyone who knew “Jimmy,” knew that he took extreme pride in his children and grandchildren.
Jimmy is survived by all his children, Larry White (Shirley), Cenora Butler (Adam), Ivone Bickham (Gerard), Mirella Mays (Travis), and Jimmy White (Malaphay). His grandchildren, Larry White (Ariana), Brandon Butler (Ashleigh), Cherrell Cowthran (Alan), Taitianna Jackson (Nick), Brianna Bickham, Nathaniel Butler, Justin Bickham, Sara White, Edmon White, Trevor Mays, Euphoria White, Edgar White, and Eve White. He also has four great-grandchildren.
He was very close to all of his family in South Carolina and his frequent trips to Rock Hill, South Carolina brought a great deal of joy to his life. Gainwell was preceded in death by all his siblings including David White, Ruth Guy, Frank White, Frances Anderson, and Paul White. When his brother, Paul White, with whom he had a special bond with passed away, he became a father figure to his children: Rozenna Hemphill (deceased), Rosetta Kirk (deceased), Marcella Woods, Pearline Mabry (Ronald), Paul White, Jr (Charlene), and Alene Crawford (Melvin). He was like a brother to many of his nieces and nephews; especially Henrietta King (Anthony).
Most of all, Gainwell loved his family and instilled his strong values that have served them well. He will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts. Following a private Interment to place his remains with his wife, there will be a celebration in memory of Gainwell’s life at Bible Way Baptist Church 2306 S FM 116, Copperas Cove, TX on May 8, 2020, at 11:30 am.