Family and friends sit down with Darrell Franklin to talk the legacy of Joe Tom White

Local News

UPDATE: Services have been set with a visitation at 6 p.m. Friday, August 16, at Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home and a celebration of life Saturday, August 17, at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church.
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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — We’re remembering a beloved member of this KFDX family.

Joe Tom White passed away peacefully in his sleep overnight at the age of 80. 

For decades, Joe Tom was a big part of waking up for Texomans, always sure to offer up some funny story or comment on politics or society to start the day. It was that down on the farm way of commenting and looking at things that listeners and viewers came to expect and appreciate during a storied broadcast career.

Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Tom White who is now a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. “I admit I’ve been at a county fair and two goat ropings,” said Joe Tom in 2015. “But y’all look real good.”

Joe Tom White’s instantly recognizable voice was first heard over Wichita Falls radio at KWFT  60 years ago in 1959. But, throughout all those years,  he was much more than just another voice on the radio.

To his grandkids, he was Poppy.

“You really saw the love on his face how much he cared about his family,” Joe Tom’s grandson Seth Lyons said.  “He wanted to give us the world and he did as much as he could to do that.”

Joe Tom and his wife, Judy spent many wonderful years together before her passing in 2012.

They raised two daughters, and Seth Lyons was the first of five grandsons.

“It’s difficult losing the patriarch of our family, the man who started our family, who created this great legacy and set a great pathway for the rest of us to hopefully follow in his footsteps. I hope one or hopefully all of us can be just even a little bit of what he was, and that would mean the world to any and all of us,” Lyons said.

“Whether it would be over missing Judy or one of the kids get ill,” said Preacher Mike Rucker, “he did have a very tender side. It’s just that most people didn’t see that.”

“Many years ago Mike, I didn’t even know he was in the service,” Joel Jimenez with Disabled American Veterans said. “He was so humble and proud.”

Clay County Judge Mike Campbell says the Vernon native was an encourager and mentor, and just a wonderful, hilarious friend.

“If you advertised with Joe Tom you got your money’s worth because I don’t care what it was, he tied it into, for example, if there was a wreck on Jacksboro Highway, well there was a bad wreck today on Jacksboro Highway seven blocks out from Underwoods,” Campbell said.

“He was a man of his word,” said Rucker.  “If he said it, you could take it to the bank.”

For decade after decade, generation after generation, Joe Tom was a big part of morning routines throughout Texoma talking about agriculture, the news of the day, and of course just trying to bring a smile to your face to start the day off right.

He will be missed.

“Growing up, I would get up with my grandmother every morning I was over there and listen to him on the radio every morning from 6 am to 8 am, and he would finish it off with ‘don’t you dare miss it,” said Lyons. “So, that’s the best way I can remember Joe Tom White.”

“Don’t ya dare miss it!” Joe Tom White

Services have been set with a visitation at 6 p.m. Friday, August 16, at Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home and a celebration of life Saturday, August 17, at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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