Mrs. Rita Ward White, age 90, of Oxford, passed away Monday, Aug. 25, at her home. Mrs. White was born Oct. 18, 1923, in Statesboro, Georgia, and was the eldest daughter of Robert Lee and Florence Hendrix Ward. She grew up in a farming family in Bulloch County, Georgia, and was a graduate of Nevils High School. In 1943, she married her husband of 56 years, Darvin White. When Mr. White began working for Independent Life and Accident Insurance Company, they moved to Newton County and settled in Oxford, Georgia. While her children were very young, Mrs. White was a homemaker. She was a substitute teacher at Palmer Stone Elementary School, a grade mother and a Girl Scout troop leader. She was a member of Allen Memorial United Methodist Church for 60 years, where she joined the Manning Bible Class and served as Communion steward. After her children were older, Mrs. White worked outside the home. She worked for Belk department store for several years and for Covington Manufacturing Company for 10 years. In 1966, with the encouragement of her husband, she bought Sherwood’s Flowers and Gifts.
She had always been an avid gardener and enjoyed working with flowers. She never had any formal training in floral design, but had a natural artistic talent, and was a self-taught designer. As a florist, she was known for her exquisite high style arrangements and painstaking attention to detail. Mr. and Mrs. White built their business together and worked happily side by side until his death in 1998. Mrs. White continued working at Sherwood’s into her eighties and always loved meeting with her many loyal customers. Mrs. White was also an excellent cook and loved cooking for her family. She enjoyed going out to restaurants and shopping with her daughter and granddaughter. She had a wonderful sense of humor, and enjoyed telling stories about her childhood in South Georgia. Mrs. White read her Bible regularly, and was always a source of great strength and comfort to her friends and family. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Darvin; grandson, Hugh White; brothers, A.D. Ward, Grady Ward, Duerell Ward, R.L. Ward, Jr., Ellis Ward; and her sisters, Myrtice Ward Gerrald and Doris Ward Lanigan.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Hubert and Fay White of Covington; daughter and son-in-law, Joyce and Larry Sullivan of Oxford; grandchildren, Scott and Elizabeth White of Oxford, Heather and Matt McClane of Covington; Kristen Sullivan and Harry Baxley of Oxford, Justin and Heather Sullivan of Oxford, Anna White, Austin White, both of Covington; great-grandchildren, Matthew and Madison McClane, Tristan and Cole White, Emily Sullivan; sister and brother-in-law, Bobbie and Floy Thackston of Statesboro; brothers and sister-in-law, Coleman and Dolores Ward, Denver Ward, all of Statesboro; sisters-in-law, Mary White Price, Mildred Ward; as well as many nieces and nephews. Additionally, she is survived by her loving and devoted caregivers, Mary Reese, Wendy Higginbotham, Mildred Zackery, Barbara Cobb, Brenda Glanton, Shirley Reese, Ann Mitchell and Kristina Masiello.
Funeral Services for Mrs. White will be held Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 3 p.m., at the Chapel of Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home, 1215 Access Road, in Covington, with Rev. Max Vincent and Rev. Tom Johnson officiating, and entombment following in Memory Chapel Mausoleum at Lawnwood Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Wednesday, two hours prior to the service, from 1–3 p.m. Flowers are accepted, or donations may be made to Allen Memorial United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 117, Oxford, GA 30054.
Visit caldwellandcowan.com to place online condolences or call 770-786-7062.