James Wilmer White
James Wilmer White, born May 3, 1923, in Amma, Roane County, W.Va., to Dr. of Veterinary Medicine Edward and wife, Lillie Florence (Short) White.
Wilmer’s family moved from West Virginia to Ohio by covered wagon in July of 1923 when he was still just a newborn baby. They crossed the river on solid ice, according to his niece Marie Johnson, in Pomeroy. He attended school at Pomeroy and Chester schools. The family moved around to several different places in Meigs County. They lived on Eagle Ridge and Scout Camp Road and later at Tuppers Plains.
Wilmer was the youngest of twelve siblings. He had three brothers, Rev. Charles A. (Grace Gill) White, Robert (Hilda Smith) White and Romey (Audrey) White; eight sisters, Elizabeth “Lizzie” (Elber) Riebel, LuStella ( C. Francis) Johnson, Lucy (Roy) Newell, V. Ethel (Myron) Wilber, Della (Willam “Jennings”) Monroe, Ruby (Fred) Bearhs, Ollie (Lonnie) Christopher, and Dorothy (Kenneth “Joe”) Christopher.
Wilmer moved to Chillicothe and stayed with his Aunt Lucy and Uncle Roy. He worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad company. He met a beautiful young lady at a local shop and fell head over heels for her…. Wilmer married the love of his life, Mary Frances Hunt, on Jan. 4, 1943. They resided on 5th St. in Chillicothe before he headed off to war.
Growing up in Meigs County, Wilmer loved to be outdoors roaming the hillsides and playing in Shade River. He would collect lots of treasures on his adventures but his mother would have to scold him to get rid of some of his catches. He would have pots and old dish pans, filled with creek water and his Minnie’s, tadpoles and craw daddies. After a while some would die and they would start to smell.
Wilmer loved to draw and was a very good artist according to his niece, Marie Johnson. He drew life sized pictures of the comic strip characters, Popeye, Olive Oil and Wimpy, on his bedroom walls. He could sit down and draw your likeness just perfect, she said. According to her Wilmer could do anything. He made things from wood and repurposed items. Once he made a horse drawn cart and took his nieces and nephews for a ride in it. One of the boys got his toe caught in the spokes of the wheel and it just about cut it off. Wilmer’s dad was not too happy about that.
He could handle a gun and had a keen eye, never wasting a bullet. He would bring in a lot of wild life for the family meals.
He was a well loved young man by all that I knew him.
On July 2, 1944, PFC James Wilmer White was killed in action and unidentifiable outside Myitkyina, Burma (now known as Myanmar). He was fighting with the famed 5307th Composite Unit Provisional — The Merrills Marauders. His Army Infantry Unit was conferred the Congressional Gold Medal by both Houses of Congress this past fall.
He was temporarily buried in U.S. Military Cemeteries in Burma and India. In 1949, one set of remains, designated Unknown X-52 Kalaikunda, was still unable to be identified and was buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Last year, PFC White was positively identified by forensic evidence, including a DNA comparison from a close living relative.
Funeral services will be held at noon, Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the Ewing-Schwarzel Funeral Home in Pomeroy, Ohio. Burial will be in the White Cemetery in Long Bottom, Ohio, where military services will be conducted by the Ohio Army National Guard under the direction of Major Patrick Hernandez. Visitation will take place Saturday morning from 10 a.m. until noon.
At approximately 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, members of the public are invited to assemble along Court Street and Main Street in Pomeroy to view the procession as it leaves the Ewing-Schwarzel Funeral Home headed to the White Cemetery. The procession will be lead by the funeral homes horse drawn hearse and will include local veterans, local high school musicians, a bagpiper, a dove release and local fire departments. Sheriff Keith Wood will provide the escort.