Those who knew her agree: There was no one else quite like Eudie Roberts White.
A wealthy woman, she was the first female Realtor in Wilmington, the owner of Rick Realty, and could sell anything, according to her legal guardian and longtime friend, Diana Brady. She sold real estate until her late 70s and still had tenants paying rent at the time of her passing.
Mrs. White absolutely loved the feel of money, Ms. Brady said. She asked her tenants to pay in cash and when they dropped off that month’s rent, Mrs. White would stuff it into the big pockets of her pink robe. She then sat in a chair with her hands in the pockets, feeling the money, and when Ms. Brady told her she should deposit it Mrs. White would just smile and say, “But honey, I like the feel of it.”
“She was something else,” Ms. Brady laughed.
Mrs. White, of Wilmington, died Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015, at Lower Cape Fear Hospice. She was 96.
Ms. Brady often found piles of money throughout the house, including in small drawers of dressers and in old wooden purses in her closet. She also found dozens of security checks–all uncashed–stuffed in the side pocket of Mrs. White’s chair and in piles on the fireplace.
She didn’t just have a “stubborn streak” when it came to cashing checks and handling the bills, Ms. Brady said. She was like that about everything. “Set in her ways,” no amount of arguing would bring her to Ms. Brady’s side.
“You’d finally just agree to get her to be quiet,” Ms. Brady laughed.
Ms. Brady said her friend was “one-in-a-million” and “absolutely precious,” and there was a man who loved Mrs. White for all her money-rubbing, stubborn characteristics: Her husband, Jack.
Married twice before, Mrs. White met her late husband when she sold him the Hobbs Hotel on Market Street. She was in her 70s and her friends couldn’t believe she was planning to walk down the aisle a third time, according to Ms. Brady. Mr. White had also been married before and told Ms. Brady he “didn’t know what real love and happiness was before he met Miss Eudie.”
The couple was rarely found separate from each other, Ms. Brady said. They were married over 26 years and lived in a perpetual honeymoon phase. When Mr. White fell and was admitted into Liberty Commons for rehabilitation, Mrs. White checked herself in so she could stay with him. She often said the biggest drawback about nursing facilities was that she and her husband couldn’t sleep in the same bed.
Everyone called them “the lovey dovey couple,” Ms. Brady said. Although Mr. White was legally blind, he did everything in his power to ensure his wife’s needs were met and her every want taken care of–and there was a lot she asked for her husband’s help with. While visiting the couple, Ms. Brady heard Mrs. White yell “Jack!” to her husband, and he’d just smile and wait for her to yell out what she needed, something he told Ms. Brady happened nearly 20 times a day.
After the couple moved into Spring Arbor, Ms. Brady said they would wait outside the cafeteria doors, hand in hand, ready with their walkers for when the doors opened.
Dusti Lee Foley, the marketing director at Spring Arbor, rarely, if ever, saw the couple apart. They held hands as they ate meals together and, when writing became difficult for Mrs. White, she asked for a typewriter so she could write love letters to her husband.
“Theirs was the kind of love that makes you believe in a soulmate,” Ms. Foley said.
Mr. White died this past May and Ms. Brady said when Mrs. White realized her husband wasn’t coming back, she started asking if Ms. Brady would be angry with her if she left. Ms. Brady asked her where she was going, and Mrs. White replied that she was “going to be with Jack.”
She was born on Feb. 2, 1919, in Thomasville, Georgia, daughter of the late Arthur Walton Fort and Addie Thompson Fort. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband of over 26 years, Henry “Jack” Lee White; son, Harry Rickenbacker; sister, Martha Fort; and brother, Edison Fort.
She leaves behind her son, Bruce Rickenbacker and his wife Susan and grandsons, Hardee Rickenbacker and Slade Rickenbacker.
The family wishes to express a special thanks to all who helped her at Spring Arbor Assisted Living and at Lower Cape Fear Hospice. Eudie wanted to express a special thanks to Diana Brady, whom she called “Princess Di,” for all her love and devotion over the last few years: “She has been my guardian angel.”
Service were held Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, at Andrews Mortuary with a graveside service at Oleander Memorial Gardens.
Donations can be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.
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Amanda Thames is the obituary writer for Port City Daily. Reach her at 910-772-6319 or email@example.com.