Veteran, writer, Hempstead pol William J. White dies
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William "Bill" J. White, a decorated World War II and Korean War veteran Army officer who held many civilian jobs, was a published writer and was once president of the Hempstead school board, died April 25 after a brief illness at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola.
He was 87 and lived in Hempstead.
It was unclear when White joined the Army, but it appears to have been in early 1945, straight out of North Carolina's A&T State University ROTC program. His family said he was a cadet in one of the last sessions of the Tuskegee Airmen Project but never a military pilot.
He saw action with the 7th Infantry Division in Korea. He fought there in several battles, including the one at Triangle Hill, where he was the last American to leave before it was turned over to the South Koreans, his family said.
"Just two days before he died, he was preparing a virtual tour of his most recent book on the war, 'Triangle Hill, Memoirs of the War That Wasn't,' " said his daughter, Karen Williams, of Hempstead. He retired as a much-decorated major.
Besides A&T, he attended Syracuse University and New York University. He completed Army Command and General Staff College.
He had been a frequent contributor to Newsday, National Rifleman and Frequent Flyer. His first book, "Airships for the Future," was published in 1972.
White's wife, contralto Althea DeFreitas, died in 2006 after 51 years of marriage.
White had been active in Hempstead politics for more than 50 years. He served on the school board from 1973 to 1978, including as president, and had been a 15-year member of the village planning board.
His family said he was an electronics engineer and an aeronautics scientist, working with such agencies as the New York Transit Authority, the U.S. Applied Science Lab and the Federal Aviation Administration, the last from 1961 to 1987.
He also was a longtime president of Local 2791 of the American Federation of Government Employees.
Besides his daughter, he is survived by a son, Bill White Jr. of Hempstead.
White was chairman of the United Congregational Church of South Hempstead's board of trustees.
His service was at the church on May 1. Burial followed at Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale.