Residents of Fairfield County are mourning lifelong Winnsboro resident, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Sergeant Eddie Lewis “Big Ed” White who passed away on Saturday after a brief illness.
A dedicated family man and public servant, White worked as a patrol officer with Winnsboro Public Safety, leading a shift there.
A 1975 graduate of Winnsboro High School, he worked for the Fairfield County Sheriff’s office for over 20 years, serving as the first Drug Abuse Resistance Education Officer in Fairfield County.
His first job in law enforcement was as a member of the military police at the S.C. State House bringing his combined total of public service to 26 years.
Prior to his work in law enforcement, he served in the United States Marine Corps for six years rising to the rank of corporal.
While in the corps, he met his longtime best friend, James Ketchins, of Mississippi, who drove trucks in the Marines Corps as did White.
The bond between the two men became so strong that Ketchins considers White to be closer to him than his own brothers.
“During our 37 years as friends, we never had an argument and we were always there for one another during problems of life offering support, accountability and spiritual guidance,” Ketchins said.
“We have been friends since age 19 and I never knew of him to get into any trouble. He was greatly loved and will be greatly missed,” said Ketchins who is acting as liaison for the family as they grieve.
He said they just enjoyed being together, hanging out at their homes, and that White was a big reason Ketchins settled in the Columbia area.
“I was there from the morning he was admitted into the hospital morning and night. I held his hand as he passed away,” Ketchins said.
White opened his heart to everyone and was a good listener, according to Ketchins. He was a loving father and husband to his wife of 34 years, Maggie Davis White.
He moved back to Fairfield County to raise his family following his time in the military.
“He was an excellent police officer,” said Winnsboro Police Chief Freddie Lorick. “He was a big guy with a big heart who would do anything he could for people. He was an excellent employee. I wish I had 10 more like him.”
White was highly regarded and promoted to sergeant about six months into tenure with the town. Lorick recalled White’s love of grilling out and that when he cooked out he would feed anyone who came by to visit, be they invited or not.
White was a Mason as well as a member of the Tough Riders Ford Truck Club.
He ran for Fairfield County sheriff this spring with the platform of working hard to address the crime rate, gang activity and drug activity in the county.
Will Montgomery remained very close to the White family despite the men running against one another in the sheriff’s race this year.
“He was a great man. We spent a lot of time together over the years talking law enforcement and sharing ‘war stories,’” Montgomery said.
“He was very experienced law enforcement officer and big with his church, a good Christian man.”
White was a member of Weeping Mary Baptist Church but he attended Greater St. John A.M.E. Zion regularly. Among his favorite books, White chose the Bible.
Funeral services for Eddie White will be Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Fairfield Central High gymnasium. Interment will follow at Weeping Mary Baptist Church in White Oak.