Nolen Elton “Mott” White, of Groesbeck, passed away at Windsor Healthcare Residence on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at age 92.
Visitation and funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 27, 2022, in the Groesbeck Funeral Home Chapel, with visitation from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. and the funeral service beginning at 2:00 p.m. Reverend Tracy Sims will officiate, and burial will follow in Cox Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Wesley White, Caleb White, Vernon Van Meter, Robert Van Meter, and Michael Van Meter. Honorary pallbearers will be Dylan Gay and Logan White.
Nolen was born September 17, 1930, to Arnold White and Alice (Brown) White at Oletha, where he grew up and attended school. In his school years, he had to go to the well with a bucket to bring water back to the school. He was born into ranching, which he built his life around.
He was nicknamed Mott at an early age by an old uncle who said it was because his face was always dirty (from working or playing.) He grew up helping his dad with the cattle and hogs. In the early days before the local auction barns, he would go with his dad when the men drove the cattle from the Oletha and Thornton area into Groesbeck, and down the streets of town, to put them on the train for the Fort Worth stockyards. His dad accompanied the cattle to make the deals with the buyers at Fort Worth, and they all knew Mott by name.
His dad bought hogs in the local area, and around age nine, Mott began his first business venture himself by going to the local bank where he borrowed money to buy his own hogs. He bought his hogs and had them at home before his dad knew about this. He was raised to be independent, and his dad had him supervising workers on the ranch while he was a young kid. He and his dad were partners after he was grown until he married.
Mott married Joy Fenton and they raised three sons together. For a short while he lived in Burnet and worked with his father-in-law building Inks Lake Dam. He realized his life belonged back at home where he would have better opportunities with land and cattle than with using a hammer for a living.
He eventually bought land at Old Union and raised cattle and hogs, and his boys grew up on the ranch. He ran cattle in the Navasota River bottom spread out all over the countryside. Before there were bridges to cross the water, and Mott not being able to swim, he said that many times he would get off his horse and hold on to the horse’s tail while the horse swam across the water, pulling him along.
Mott operated a dozer business, working for himself and the public digging tanks and clearing land. He raised hogs while the boys were still at home and was a hog buyer at sales all over south and east Texas. He was a cattle buyer for over thirty years. He also baled hay for himself and the public and lived through several equipment and hay field fires.
When Lake Limestone was being built around his land, the Brazos River Authority bought half of his land and the other half was sold to investors. He started over buying land at Frosa to continue raising cattle.
Mott married Shirley Lambert on April 6, 2002. They had known each other for the past 44 years, and she fit right in the ranch lifestyle (having worn boots since she was a young girl.) Many trips that she and Mott enjoyed included Fredericksburg, the old stockyards at Fort Worth, and seeing many of the old auction barns where he had worked. He was a great storyteller and told her many tales of his earlier life.
Mott experienced loss of his hearing. After a 10-15-year period of using various aids, Shirley found out about cochlear implants and arranged for him to have this major surgery in Fort Worth. On the way home after the implants, he was excited to hear it raining, so much that it brought tears to both.
His life was greatly improved after being able to hear, because he loved visiting with his friends at the local places (Susies, Dairy Queen, Jack and Judys, Mary’s Burger Barn) and he then could bring back the local news to Shirley. He loved coffee, several times a day. All his life, Mott enjoyed reading every page of the Waco paper, every day, and the Groesbeck Journal. He enjoyed being PawPaw to Shirley’s grandchildren as they grew up.
Mott continued being active with his cattle and still riding his horse until he was 85. He was planning on cutting back and selling the cattle until he was seriously injured in 2019 when a gravel truck hit his truck. During his time in the hospital, he would talk of the bulldozer which he had loved, and his red truck, and the old days. The wreck robbed him of the years he had planned to spend relaxed on the porch looking out over the ranch, and instead he lived the past three years in the nursing home, where Shirley visited him and read the newspapers to him, and occasionally took him home.
Nolen was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Ruby Oates and Hazel Henderson; and his brother, Olen White.
He is survived by his wife, Shirley White of Groesbeck; son and daughter-in-law, Brady and Sandy White of Sardis, MS; son and daughter-in-law, Wesley D. and Ruth White of Groesbeck; son and daughter-in-law, Tracy and Hui Hui White of Dalian, China; step-daughter, Ronda Van Meter and husband Vernon of College Station. His grandchildren are: Wesley White and wife Angie of Burleson and Brandi White of Groesbeck, and step grandchildren, Robert and wife Kaitlyn Van Meter of Tyler, Jessica Van Meter of Waco and Michael Van Meter of College Station; and his great grandchildren are: Skylar Brown and Kennedy Brown of Groesbeck, Caleb White of Burleson and Logan White and wife Lily of Utah; and his step great grandchildren: Dylan Gay and wife Jaida of Burleson, and Torie Baker and husband Justin of Bonham. Also, he has many nieces and nephew and other extended family.