John Binion “Ben” White II, 80, of Bastrop Texas, passed away Friday, February 14th, 2020, at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, Austin Texas.
Ben was born in Poplarville, Mississippi, on March 4th 1939, to Lee Will White and Sue Calhoun White of Poplarville, Mississippi. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, Thomas Glenn Jackson. He is survived by his spouse, Kazuko Kasai, his daughter and her husband, Balsorah Elizabeth and James C Lynch, his grandson, Jacob Doyle Lynch, his sister, Virginia White Jackson, and his niece and nephews, Tracy Lynn Jackson, Thomas Glenn “Jack” Jackson, and Lee Calhoun Jackson.
He was a proud graduate of Mississippi State University, where he was a member of the Beta Tau chapter of Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing in 1961, and after graduation he began his professional career with the Texaco Oil Company. In 1973 he accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Energy, and later moved to the U.S. Department of Transportation working in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, where he was noted for his work in developing the successful 1980’s Public Service Announcement Ad Campaign featuring crash test dummies Vince and Larry. His career with the NHTSA allowed Ben to apply his proficiency in Sales and Marketing to his passion for the automotive industry. He retired from the Federal Government in 1994.
His lifelong enthusiasm for automobiles began as a child with the J.B. White Automotive Company in Poplarville, Mississippi, where he attended Poplarville Elementary and High School. “Benny” White was certified as an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America Troop 28, Poplarville, Mississippi in October, 1954. He was a faithful member of the Methodist Church. Throughout his life, whether he was living in Mississippi, New York, Virginia, or Texas, Ben considered himself always a “Mississippi boy” through and through. It was always with great pride and admiration that he spoke of his Poplarville roots.
He will be remembered for his teasing jokes, entertaining stories, loyal and generous spirit, his humbleness, but most of all for his love of family and friends. It was written in a letter to Ben in 1955, after receiving his Eagle Scout award, that he had well followed Theodore Roosevelts motto “keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” We only now need to look no further than the stars to remember Ben, for his memory will be cherished.
Visitation will be held at 6:00 pm, Friday, February 21st, at Marrs-Jones-Newby Funeral Home, 505 Old Austin Hwy, Bastrop, Texas, 78602. A funeral service will be held at 4:00 pm, Saturday, February 22nd, at First United Methodist Church of Smithville, 400 Olive St, Smithville Texas, 78957.
Memorial donations may be sent in Ben’s name to the Mississippi State University Foundation/Mississippi State Fund, The MSU Foundation, P.O. Box 6149, Mississippi State, MS 39762, or on-line: www.msufoundation.com