White keeps busy at 97

World War II veteran, Odie "Bill" White keeps his hands and mind occupied by creating craft projects for family and friends and having a backyard garden.
Staff Writer

Odie "Bill" White is 97 years old today, and continues to knit toboggans and pot holders on a loom, creates clothes pin wreaths, and is looking forward to tilling a spot for his tomato garden this spring. He is a life long resident of the Montpelier community in Pheba.

"I started making things ten years ago," White said. "It takes me about a day to make a toboggan, I keep two looms full all the time. It takes less time to make a potholder. They are the good thick ones, not like the flimsy ones you buy."

White's daughter, Glenda Nadeau, said she started looking for online for craft projects for senior citizens to help her father keep his hands and mind active.

"He's on a walker now," Nadeau said. "So he does crafts to keep himself occupied. A lot of what he makes he gives away to family and friends. I knew when I saw clothespin wreaths that he would enjoy making those. He always enjoyed woodworking and I thought the wreaths would be similar. He loves doing things with his hands, I think that's why he's in such good shape mentally despite being 97."

White gives his handmade crafts to the home health workers who come by and check on him. He also gives them to doctors and nurses when he goes for check-ups. He said he loves giving people the things he makes so he can see them smile.

"I'll get my garden ready when the weather warms up," White said. "I grow tomatoes mostly, but some other things too if I feel like it. I drive around in my golf cart to tend the tomatoes. I give those away too. We can't eat all that the plants make. I'm looking forward to getting out again when it's warm."

White's wife, Ervie said she enjoys canning the tomatoes he grows so they can have fresh, home - grown tomatoes all through the winter.

"I was a foreman for the Mississippi Department of Transportation in Clay County for many years," White said. "People tell me all the time how much better the roads were when I worked for MDOT. They wish I'd go back but I think I'm a little too old now."

White was a veteran during World War II, before working for MDOT.

"I was in the Army during World War II," White said. "I love my country and was proud to serve it. We landed in New Guinea . We were fighting the Japanese. There aren't many of us World War II guys left. But we were all proud to defend our country. We saw a lot of fighting, I was overseas for about two and one half years before I cam back home."

Nadeau said he had begun getting birthday wishes a week before his birthday, today. She explained how highly thought of he is in the Montpelier community.

"When he turned 90, we asked people to send him a card, hoping to get 90 birthday cards," Nadeau said. "He got well over 100. Everyone wants to wish him a happy birthday."

White said a nurse told him he would live to be 100. He said if that's the case he doesn't have that far to go to get there.

"I plan on making things and working my garden as long as I live," White said. "I've worked hard my whole life. I can't just sit and do nothing. I have to stay busy, no matter how old I am."