In Loving Memory

William "Bill" Haynes Jr. Obituary

Haynes Jr., William "Bill"

Mr. William "Bill" Haynes Jr., age 73, of Elmore, Alabama passed away December 13,2016.

He was born July 30,1943 to the late William and LaVerne (Walters) Haynes. 

Funeral services will be Friday, December 16,2016 at Brookside Funeral Home Chapel at 2:00 PM with the Rev. Charles Sanders officiating. Burial will follow in the Brookside Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends one hour prior to service time. 

Bill is survived by his wife Betty "Pat" Haynes; sister,Yvonne(Keith) Lamb; brother Clifford (Rubylene) Haynes; Brother in Law, Jim(Joyce) Parker; Sister in Law, John (Carole) Parker and several nieces and nephews. 

Mr. Haynes served in US Army Special Services, he retired from Alabama Department of Corrections as a Communication Engineer & Ham Radio Operator. He was also a member of Hampton Sydney Lodge NO 67 F.& A.M.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Hampton Sydney Lodge NO 67 F. & A.M., PO Box 80, Millbrook, Alabama 36054.

Brookside Funeral Home Millbrook, Alabama directing.
Published in the Montgomery Advertiser on Dec. 15, 2016
Remains of boy who died at Dozier reform school sent to Daytona sister

Posted Aug 11, 2016 at 6:15 PM
Updated Aug 12, 2016 at 8:31 PM
By Lyda Longa, and Tony Holt,

DAYTONA BEACH — Sitting in a wheelchair, her hands clasped, Mattie Jackson haltingly spoke about her older brother Billey, the boy she adored and looked up to when both were growing up in the city in the early 1950s.

(if video doesn't load, you may put this in your browser: )

"He was a loving and sweet brother who used to pull me in a little red wagon," Jackson, now 73, said at her Daytona Beach apartment building on Wednesday afternoon. "It was just the two of us. He was everything I had until they took him away."

Billey Jackson would have turned 77 this past February. But instead, Jackson will see her brother for the first time since he was taken from their Park Drive house, in a coffin.

Billey "went away" in August 1952. He was 13 years old and was sent to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, just west of Tallahassee. He had skipped school three times according to a truancy officer, and was sent to the facility — a reform school — 323 miles away.

The school, shut down in 2011, is now synonymous with being one of the most horrific institutions in the country, where children suffered daily abuse meted out by a handful of administrators at the facility.

Those who survived their time at Dozier told shocking stories of beatings and even rapes at the institution. The punishments were harsher against blacks and youngsters who tried to run away. The survivors also told of unmarked graves on the school's property where those who had died "mysteriously" had been dumped into wooden boxes and buried.

There were 31 graves at Dozier, their placement marked with simple metal crosses. However, talk of additional remains at the school persisted and reached such a crescendo that in 2008 then-Gov. Charlie Crist ordered an investigation to determine if there were other bodies at the school. Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators launched a query and concluded in 2009 that there had been no foul play at Dozier and that the 31 metal crosses belonged to children who had all been accounted for, published reports show.

Regardless, survivors continued making noise about the additional remains until their stories caught the attention of the Tampa Bay Times. Reporters there began delving into the recollections of these men, now members of a group called the White House Boys Organization. The group was named for the narrow, white building on Dozier property where boys were beaten.

Mattie Jackson, 73, the sole survivor of Billey Jackson who died mysteriously at the Dozier School for Boys in 1952. Daytona Beach on Wednesday, August 10, 2016. News-Journal / LOLA GOMEZ

In 2012, Erin Kimmerle, a forensic archaeology professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa became involved with Dozier. After receiving permission from the governor's office to investigate at the now-closed school, Kimmerle and her associates located an additional 51 sets of remains at Dozier. Kimmerle then obtained permission to excavate.

This past January, Kimmerle and those who assisted in the exhaustive investigation, presented their findings to the state in a report titled "Investigation into the Deaths and Burials at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida."

In the executive summary of her report, it states: "The purpose of this investigation was to determine the location of missing children buried at the former Florida Industrial School, also known as the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in order to excavate and repatriate the remains to their families."

Based on just some of Kimmerle's findings, the horrors began at Dozier almost as soon as the facility opened in 1900. By 1901, reports of children being chained to walls in irons, brutal whippings, and peonage surfaced. There were also accounts of children being placed in dark cells and if they were black children, in sweat boxes.

Floggings were commonplace with 4-inch-wide leather straps as boys were made to lie face-down on thin cots and ordered to hold onto the metal headboard as the leather came down fast and hard on their backs and buttocks.

As for Billey Jackson, his death certificate stated that the teenager died of pyelonephritis, a urinary tract infection that affects one or both kidneys, said niece Ida Cummings of Washington, D.C.

However, Johnny Walthour of Jacksonville, told the Florida Times-Union that he helped bury Billey's body in October 1952. Walthour, who died earlier this year, recalled that Billey's stomach was bloated and bruised.

Mother told me they had beaten him to death," Jackson said.

Roughly eight months after Billey died, Jackson's mother, Susie Jackson, died too. Mattie Jackson believes her mother died from grief.

After that, Mattie Jackson never spoke of Billey again until 2009 when her own grandson was sent to Dozier.

"They broke the grandson's arm and that's when she (Mattie) started opening up to me about what happened to her brother," Cummings said. "She called me and said don't let them do to him what they did to my brother."

Mattie Jackson did not want to talk about what happened to her grandson at Dozier or why he was sent there.

Related content
Searching for Arthur G. Dozier School Families
August 11, 2016
Dozier School Deaths
READ: Full USF Project Report

But the information about Billey sent Cummings on a mission to begin researching Dozier and finding Billey. Cummings came upon Kimmerle's work and she found Billey's name listed among those whose remains had been identified.

Once Cummings and Jackson came forward and claimed Billey, the teen's remains were sent to the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office in Tampa, Cummings said.

Those remains were finally brought home to Daytona Beach this week.

Saturday at 10 a.m. Billey will be eulogized in a memorial service at R.J. Gainous Funeral Home, 804 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. His burial will follow at Mount Ararat Cemetery on Bellevue Avenue.

Jerry Cooper of Cape Coral is president of the White House Boys Organization and he plans to attend Billey's service. Cooper says the recovery of Billey's remains are not an exhumation, but rather a "rescue."

Cooper, 71, who refers to Dozier as the "1,400 acres of hell," was housed at the school as a teen in 1961 after he was caught running away from his Orlando home for a third time. That's when his stepfather sent him to Dozier.

"I knew it was a place you did not want to go to," he said. "It was the most hideous place a child could be."

Dozier exceeded Cooper's fears. He was struck 135 times with a leather strap. The physical scars remain — most of them along the side of his right leg.

Jackson is grateful she never saw Billey's bruises. She remembers her sibling as taking her everywhere he went.

She says the arrival of Billey's remains in Daytona Beach after 64 years, is a monumental moment in her life that she is still trying to sort out in her heart and mind.

"I don't know what to say," she said, her voice first breaking, then turning slightly stronger. "Why would they beat him? How could you do these boys this way? Not only Billey. Look at the rest of the boys. How? How could they let it go on like that and say it wasn't true? Somebody needs to pay. Who going to pay?"

Searching for Arthur G. Dozier School Families

In the effort to identify the remains of children buried at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, the University of South Florida is seeking the public’s help. Do you know anyone on this list? Contact Master Detective Greg Thomas, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, 813-247-8678, with information.

Willie Adkins, 1918, Tampa or possibly Polk County
Thomas Aikins, 1918, Jacksonville
Joe Anderson, 1919, Lake County
Walter Askew, 1925, Palm Beach
Samuel Bethel, 1929, 443 N.W. 9 St., Miami
James Brinson, 1932, Putnam County
Waldo Drew, 1914, Baum Ave., St. Petersburg
Lloyd Dutton, 1918, Fort Myers
Louis Fernandez, 1914, Monroe County
Hilton Finley, 1918, Tampa
Walter Fisher, 1914, Hillsborough County
Edward Fonders, 1925, Melbourne
George Grissam, 1918, Caryville, Washington County
Louis Haffin, 1914, Duval County
James /Joseph Hammond, 1936, Palm Beach or Jensen, Florida
Schley Hunter, 1922, Mayo
Billey Jackson, 1952, Daytona Beach
Joshua James, 1916, Unknown
Clifford Jeffords, 1914, Pinellas County
Clifford Miller, 1924, Lake County
Tillman Mohind, 1916, Duval County
Sam Morgan, 1921, Lee County
Richard Nelson, 1935, Lake County
Charlie Overstreet, 1924, Marvin, Georgia
Clarence Parrot, 1914, Sutherland or Palm Harbor
Robert Rhoden, 1929, 441 12th St. N. St. Petersburg
Fred Sams, 1932, Jacksonville
Nathaniel Sawyer, 1920, R13, Box 677, Jacksonville
Archie J. Shaw Jr., 1932, 1609 Central Ave., Tampa
Leonard Simmons, 1919, Miami
Wilbur Smith, 1918, Tampa, Florida
Lee Smith, 1932, 18th Ave, Jacksonville
Joe Stephens, 1932, Brevard County, Florida or possibly South Carolina
Lee Underwood, 1932, Jacksonville
Puner Warner, 1918, Atlanta
Joseph Wethersby, 1914, Duval County
Harry Wells, 1914, Duval County
Ralph Whiddon, 1918, Charlotte Harbor
Sim Williams, 1916, Jackson County
Arthur Williams, 1921, Micanopy
John H. Williams, 1921, Tallahassee
Calvin Williams, 1922, Wellborn
Richard Charles Noble, 73, 
of Plant City
May 9, 2010 

Richard Charles Noble, 73, of Plant City, Florida passed peacefully surrounded by family and friends Saturday May 9, 2015 at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
Born August 20, 1941 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was preceded in death by his parents Russell & Frances Wells Noble and his brother Charles Fredrick Noble.
He served his country in the United States Navy. He worked for Seabulk Towing over 20 years. He had a love for the sea, motorcycles and music. He was a pilot. He graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Computer Science degree.
He is survived by his three daughters, Sherridee (Victor) Garcia of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Kathi Lee (Orville) Utley of Rancho Cucamonga, CA and Erika Erin Noble Pagan of Edgefield, SC.
Eight grandchildren, Nicole (Terry) Baughman of Lehi, UT; Staci (Cory) Schulfer of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Desiree & Jocelyn Garcia and Jeni & Christi Utley of Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Kaleenda Angel & Jose Pagan of Edgefield, SC. Six great grandchildren, Kyler, Abigail, Christian, Halei, Jeweli & Holli.
Three sisters, Mary Noble of Fredericksburg, VA; Carolyn (William) Abshire of Satellite Beach, FL; and Elizabeth Leapley of Indialantic, FL. One brother, Olie Gerheart.
Thank you to his very special friends, Dick, Butch, Wolf & Peggy, for all the love, time & efforts you showed our father.
A memorial service will be held in his honor New location for Richard Noble's memorial. is: Cleveland Heights Golf Course 2900 Buckingham Ave. Lakeland, FL It will be held in the Master's Room at 5pm on May 23. We'll need a head count no later then May 19th Thank you

NOTE:  See also Leo Collier below.  Both White House Boys rememberance services are on the same day and not too far away from each other.   

May 10, 2012

Our dear brother Leo Collier, member of "Black Boys at Dozier Reform School", departed this life Friday May 10, 2015 at 12:00 noon. Brother Leo was 84 years old, and an X-Slave of Marianna F.S.B. from 1944 to 1947 A long time resident of Polk Co., Fl.  May you rest in peace brother Leo -- Richard Huntley
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

It is with great sadness that we once again mourn the passing of a brother White House Boy, Leo Collier. I know that it is hard for a family at this time when you have to say goodbye to a loved one but we as White House Boys know that another mind has been put at ease and no longer does Leo have to endure the memories of the past and relive the torture he went through. I know he will rest in peace knowing that we are still here fighting for him and every White house Boy that preceded him in passing. No one deserved what we went through as children and had to carry throughout our lives but we all deserve to see Justice. I feel remorse for You brother  Leo Collier because you could not be here to see the justice you deserve, but I feel joy for you because you no longer feel the pain. Rest in  Peace - Bill Price
To whom may be concerned. Mr Leo Collier's Memorial will be held in Bradley Florida, near Mulberry on May 23rd at 3:00pm.  For more information on Mr. Collier you may call his daughter, Mrs. Omega. For letters flowers and donations please call: 863-274-0649 Thank you.

Herbert Baker
Obituary  Condolences  Gallery

Herbert Baker Obituary
Funeral Service for Herbert Baker, 72, will be held Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. in The West Jacksonville Church of God in Christ, 3838 Firestone Rd. Bishop Gary Hall, Pastor. He will rest in the chapel TODAY (Friday) from 4 to 7 p.m. The Cortege will assemble at 3135 Roselle Street at 10:15 a.m. Arrangements Entrusted to The Mortuary We Trust, HARRIS MORTUARY, INC. 2261 Edison Avenue, (904) 598-9808/764-4434. BAKER Please Sign the Guestbook @
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Apr. 24, 2015

- See more at:

Larry "Ray" Harry Hall
(October 18, 1951 - March 4, 2014)

62, of Tampa died from heart complications. He was a retired mechanic from Hillsborough County Schools and a member of the White House Boys. He is loved and will be missed by all who knew him. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be conducted from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 8, 2014 in the Adams & Jennings Chapel.

Adams & Jennings Funeral Home 
6900 North Nebraska Avenue
Tampa, Florida   33604
Phone: 813-237-3345
Fax: 813-231-7251

From Anywhere
Adams and Jennings Funeral Home is located at 6900 North Nebraska Avenue. We are on the northwest corner of Nebraska and Sligh Avenues bordering historical Seminole Heights and Sulphur Springs. We are easily accessible from anywhere in Tampa and its surrounding counties. Interstate 275 is one block west of our location and we are accessible from U.S. Highway 41 (Nebraska Ave.)

December 6, 2012
Wayne Howard

 The Valdosta Daily Times 
Thu Dec 06, 2012, 12:04 AM EST

VALDOSTA — Wayne Howard, 73, of Stockton, Ga., passed away Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, at the Lakeland Villa Convalescent Center after a lengthy illness. He was born May 7, 1939, to the late Charlie D. and Sadie (Evans) Howard in LaGrange, Ga. He was a member of the Stockton Baptist Church and a construction worker around South Georgia.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Patsy Howard of Stockton, Ga.; sons, Wayne Howard of Jacksonville, Fla., and Matthew Howard of Florida; daughters, Marilyn Howard of Lakeland, Ga., Tonia Howard of Florida; son and daughter-in-law, Patrick and Tina Howard of Washington State; son and daughter-in-law, Casey and Jennifer Howard of Stockton, Ga.; son and daughter-in-law, Charlie and Jessi Howard of Naylor, Ga.; four grandchildren, Travis Bowling, Sadie Howard, Noah Howard and Eden Howard; great-granddaughter, Braelee Bowling; sister, Connie Keller of Tampa, Fla.; and sister and brother-in-law, Pat and Raymond Browning of Stockton, Ga.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, at Stockton Baptist Church at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the family or Music Funeral Services to help with funeral expense.

Sympathy may be expressed online at (you can click the unerlined link).

— Music Funeral Services of Lakeland is serving the Howard family.

Anyone who wishes to donate to help Wayne's wife, Patsy, and their family with expenses, here is her address:  2080 HWY 129S Stockton,Ga 31649


IN SYMPATHY - RICK MARX (Son of WHB Pastor Johnny Marx):

With great sadness, we must announce that Pastor Marx's son, Richard (Rick) Marx, passed away on July 2, 2011 at 27 years old.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the family. May the love and precious memories
of his life embrace them with comfort and give them peace. Services were held in Sarasota on July 8, 2011.

In Lieu of flowers, the family informs us a trust has been set up for Ricky's daughter. All donation's can be made to: Trust of Kinsey Marx c/o Sun Trust Bank Bee Ridge Rd Sarasota Fl

May he rest in peace


(If you know of someone that has passed away but is not listed, please email
HERE  Otherwise, we update the list each year before the Reunion, so we can pay tribute to those who've gone before us at the Reunion in October.

Nate Dowling * Richard Charles Noble * George Edward Driver * Leo Collier * Virgil Whitten * Herbert Baker * Wayne Howard * Johnny Williams * James Schusler * Phillip Favata * Ray Hall * James Mutter * John Brodnax * Roger Bryan * James Young * Jackie Florence * Michael O'McCarthy * Frank Marx * Randall Morgan Steed * Manuel Giddens * Michael Smelly * George Owen Smith * John Bennett * Ellis Adams * John GoForth * Timothy Gabriel * Don Brace * Hollis Sutton * Edgar Elton * James Bundy * Michael Bates * Richard Tabb * Michael Raines * William Michael Squires * Leonard Simmons * Eddie Gillman * Nathaniel Sawyer * Arthur Williams * Schley Hunter * Calvin Williams * Charlie Overstreet * Edward Fonders * George Robinson * Walter Askew * Nollie Davis * Robert Rhoden * Samuel Bethel * Lee Smith * Joe Stephens * Thomas Varnadoe * Richard Nelson * Robert Cato * Grady Huff * James (Joseph) Hammond * Earl Wilson * Billy Jackson * Richard Dees * Edwin Fudge * Larry E. Martin * Virgil "Ike" Dwight Whitten * David (Freddie) Hutchins * Stephen T. Turner * Emmett Gillman * Cecil Andrew Barger * Wayne Howard * George Edward Driver, Jr. * Thomas Edward Howard * John Argersinger * Leo Thomas Scott * Gene Newsome * Russ Haitt * Robert Johnson * Bobby Jackson * Albert Williams * Sylvester Settle * James Griffin * Odis Clemons * Issaic Abrams * Dove Kinder *  Ray Hall * James Mutter * John Brodnax * Roger Bryan * James Young * Jackie Florence * Michael O'McCarthy * Frank Marx * Randall Morgan Steed * Manuel Giddens * Michael Smelly * George Owen Smith * John Bennett * Ellis Adams * John GoForth * Timothy Gabriel * Don Brace * Hollis Sutton * Edgar Elton * James Bundy * Michael Bates * Richard Tabb * Michael Raines * William Michael Squires * Leonard Simmons * Eddie Gillman * Nathaniel Sawyer * Arthur Williams * Schley Hunter * Calvin Williams * Charlie Overstreet * Edward Fonders * George Robinson * Walter Askew * Nollie Davis * Robert Rhoden * Samuel Bethel * Lee Smith * Joe Stephens * Thomas Varnadoe * Richard Nelson * Robert Cato * Grady Huff * James (Joseph) Hammond * Earl Wilson * Billey Jackson * Richard Dees * Edwin Fudge * Larry E. Martin * Virgil "Ike" Dwight Whitten * David (Freddie) Hutchins * Stephen T. Turner * Emmett Gillman * Cecil Andrew Barger * Wayne Howard * George Edward Driver, Jr. * Thomas Edward Howard * John Argersinger * Leo Thomas Scott * Gene Newsome * Russ Haitt * Robert Johnson * Bobby Jackson * Albert Williams * Sylvester Settle * Odis Clemons * Issaic Abrams * Dove Kinder * Phillip Favata * Ray Hall * James Mutter * John Brodnax * Roger Bryan * James Young * Jackie Florence * Michael O'McCarthy * Frank Marx * Randall Morgan Steed * Manuel Giddens * Michael Smelly * George Owen Smith * John Bennett * Ellis Adams * John GoForth * Timothy Gabriel * Don Brace * Hollis Sutton * Edgar Elton * James Bundy * Michael Bates * Richard Tabb * Michael Raines * William Michael Squires * Leonard Simmons * Eddie Gillman * Nathaniel Sawyer * Arthur Williams * Schley Hunter * Calvin Williams * Charlie Overstreet * Edward Fonders * George Robinson * Walter Askew * Nollie Davis * Robert Rhoden * Samuel Bethel * Lee Smith * Joe Stephens * Thomas Varnadoe * Richard Nelson * Robert Cato * Grady Huff * James (Joseph) Hammond * Earl Wilson * Billey Jackson * Richard Dees * Edwin Fudge * Larry E. Martin * Virgil "Ike" Dwight Whitten * David (Freddie) Hutchins * Stephen T. Turner * Emmett Gillman * Cecil Andrew Barger * Wayne Howard * George Edward Driver, Jr. * Thomas Edward Howard * John Argersinger * Leo Thomas Scott * Gene Newsome * Russ Haitt * Robert Johnson * Bobby Jackson * Albert Williams * Sylvester Settle * Odis Clemons * Issaic Abrams * Dove Kinder *  T.W. Holloway * David Milliken*  Truman Thompson*  Harmony Paul Lebeff * Arthur Wendt*  Robert "BUTCH " Timer  * Johnny Williams * Lee collier *  Buddy Suggs * James Radar*  Richard Nobles *  Earl Wilson *  Robert Stephens * Kenneth Caldwell * John Hightower Stubbs * John Walthour  * Thomas Curry **   William "Bill" Haynes* Mike Gainey  *  Michael Greenway



LAKELAND - George Edward Driver, Jr., age 62 passed away December 14, 2012 at home of heart failure. George was born February 6, 1950 in Lakeland, Fl.

George has lived in Lakeland all his life. He was a truck driver and a member of Reynolds Road Baptist Church.

George is survived by his wife of 14 years, Lynn Driver; mother, Hazel Sharpe; father, M.T. Sharpe, Sr.; brothers, Martin Sharpe, Jr., Barry Sharpe; sisters, Marvella Haire and Kim Sharpe and grandchildren, Devin and Keaton.

Visitation will be Monday, December 17, 2012 from 6:00-8:00 P.M. At Seigler Funeral Home-Chapel, Hwy. 60 E. Mulberry, Fl. Funeral services will be Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 1:00 P.M. At Seigler Funeral Home with Rev. Lee Spell & Rev. Clayton Barber oficiating.

Condolences may be sent to the family
Arrangements entrusted to Seigler Funeral Home-Mulberry, Fl.

As l look back at the year thus far I'm saddened by the faces missing. The List gets longer each Reunion and the Bell doth toll. I believe the boys were promoted to Glory. And their spirits will gather with us and rejoice at our victories and grieve with us and for us. Just as Jesus was lifted from death to life so shall we. So that what He is we shall also. I carry Big John around some each Reunion. Be sure to visit each table and become part of the memory. Make good memories, hug people tell them you love them. Never know who could be gone next year. For whom the Bell doth toll?


(Deceased August 17, 2010)
Please remember Peggy and Pastor Johnny Marx and their families in your prayers. Frank lost the battle with cancer, and has gone to be with the Lord.


Late in life, White House Boy found his brotherhood
Chris Anderson
Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.

On the front of the T-shirt was the dark silhouette of a one-armed man swinging a leather strap, the blows still excruciating a half-century later.

Behind the man was a small white house, where the reform school children were brought in the middle of the night, made to bite a dirty pillow, and beaten into unconsciousness as an old industrial fan droned over their screams and blood splashed onto the walls.

The shirt also said, "Torture Chamber" and "Florida's Shame."

Frank Marx, 67, died Tuesday at his Sarasota home proudly wearing that T-shirt.

He never overcame the beatings he took as a teenager in 1959 at the Florida School for Boys in Marianna, a small town in the Panhandle.

There was kindness at his core, but mostly he struggled with raging anger and experienced terrifying nightmares that would leave him in a fetal position, whimpering like a child.

And yet, in the final years of his life, Marx found unexpected love and support from the hundreds of men who had experienced the same horrors but hadn't spoken of them for decades.

They were called the White House Boys, and he was one of them, even on the day he died. Especially on the day he died.

"Finding the White House Boys two years ago was the best thing that ever happened to that man," said Marx's wife, Peggy.

"They're just united by this ... 'We survived.' "

On Saturday, about two dozen of the White House Boys came from as far away as Baltimore to pay their respects to Marx. The men filled a small Sarasota church, and spoke of his impact on their lives.

"Frank will always be with me and he will always be with the White House Boys," said Dick Colon, who then began crying and walked away.


From early in his childhood, it was clear that Marx's life would be rough. He was born in Sarasota, but the family moved to Montana for a short time. When he was 41/2, he heard some children playing down the street, so he opened the gate at his house to join them. His 11/2-year-old sister got out, fell into a drainage ditch and drowned.

Marx's mother kept the girl's clothes, and when she was drunk she would take them out, show them to Marx and say: "This is your fault. You murdered your sister."

At her funeral, according to an account Marx wrote for a White House Boys website, he was made to stand in front of her casket and stare at her.

"Better not move, boy," he remembered someone saying. That was a phrase he would hear again at reform school as leather cut through his flesh.

He shuffled between Sarasota and Fort Myers as a teenager. Then, one night in 1961, he and some boys were firing BB guns at each other from a shopping mall roof.

When the police came, Marx was the only one who got into trouble. He was sent to the Florida School for Boys in Marianna.

There, Marx would be sleeping when someone would grab him hard by the underwear and bring him to the place all the children feared but no one dared talk about: The White House.

Troy Tidwell, the school official who lost an arm in a shotgun accident at 6, was said to be one of the men who delivered the beatings to Marx. However, Tidwell, now 84, said in a deposition that he only gave "spankings" and usually no more than 10 to any boy.

Former students interviewed said the lashes from the 3-foot piece of leather sounded like the discharge of a 12-gauge shotgun -- Pop! Pop! Pop! -- and sometimes the leather was turned on its side, cutting into skin and spraying blood on the walls.

The first trip to the White House, Marx said, he counted 118 lashes before passing out.

The second trip? More than a hundred.

The third? Pop! Pop! Pop!

He wrote on a website that the men would take bets on when they would draw blood, make the boy move, or bring him to tears. If you spoke, they started over.

More than 300 former students filed a class-action lawsuit against the state for abuse suffered in the 1950s and 60s, but in February a Leon County judge dismissed the suit.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the claims at Gov. Charlie Crist's request, but announced earlier this year it would not prosecute anyone.

Jerry Cooper, a White House Boy who said he got 138 of those ferocious lashes in 1961, is incensed.

"It's got to be the most ferocious case of child abuse in this country's history," Cooper said. "Who in the hell else would do this to a child?

"You just don't know what they did to us. You just don't have a clue."


The best time of Marx's life was a few years ago, when he and Peggy traveled the southeastern United States for seven months in a 37-foot motor home.

They sold fried alligator tails along the way, and he loved telling stories to the customers.

Like that one Halloween at Horse Creek when he was in his 20s and he draped seaweed all over a girl, making her look like a monster.

When cars approached he would throw the girl over the bridge. Of course no one knew she landed in the hay Frank put in the bed of a pickup truck down below. Too bad the police didn't think it was funny.

Marx met Peggy 36 years ago at the old Loft bar on Bee Ridge Road; Peggy worked there. By then, Marx was 31 and had already been married three times.

Two years later, at the Sarasota County courthouse, Peggy became No. 4. She also became an outlet for anger that she traces back to Marianna.

There was serious verbal and physical abuse. One time he hit her, knocked her over in a chair, sat on top of her and hit her again.

Another time they settled a dispute in their truck. She made him drive, afraid that if his hands weren't on the wheel he might strike her.

Marx was known to put the toothpaste cap on the floor by the toilet, and berate Peggy if she didn't find it fast enough. She dreaded 3 p.m., the time he would come home each day from his job as a stucco contractor.

He was tough on the kids. Peggy had four when they married. He had one. She used to pray for them not to come home with bad report cards, afraid of Marx's explosive reaction.

Their schooling was important to him because he couldn't read or write.

They were about five years into their marriage when he told her about the Florida School for Boys and the beatings he took.

It was a Sunday afternoon and they were sitting in bed, eating a salad tray and watching some prison movie.

He turned to her and said, "They do that to children right here in the state of Florida."

"Are you kidding me?" she said.

"No, I'm not kidding. They make you lay on this cot, they make you hold the rails, they stick your face in this dirty pillow and they beat you with a leather strap until they bust you open.

"They bet on you," he continued. "They bet on how many licks it would take before they could draw blood."

Now, Marx could tell a story and stretch the truth, but when she looked into his eyes this time, she knew he was serious.

"None of our kids will ever go there," he said to her. "I'll kill them first."

For decades he had nightmares and she would often find him curled up and whimpering.

Nightmares were common for many of the White House Boys. In fact, for a long time Peggy was a designated person the men could call in the middle of the night for comfort.

"I'd say 99.9 percent of the nightmares were of the one-arm man coming in with that hand of steel," she said.

Sitting in her living room just hours after Marx died, and making arrangements for his service, Peggy explained why she remained in such a tough marriage for 34 years.

"I stayed because of the whimpering little boy I knew inside, the child who cried at night," she said.

"I knew the child who couldn't sleep without waking up with this look of terror on his face."


The boys were standing in line at lunchtime one day, two by two, and next to Marx was a disabled boy without his crutches. The school had taken them away.

The boy began to lose his balance, so Marx reached over and steadied him.

That night in the dark Marx was pulled from his bed, taken to the White House and beaten unconscious. The reason? When he had helped the disabled boy at lunch he had broken form.

Few people spoke of the beatings for decades. In fact, Frank's younger brother, Johnny Marx, was also beaten at a reform school in Okeechobee around the same time, and the two never discussed it until two years ago.

That is also when the media began writing stories, websites were launched where the men could share their accounts, and a reunion was held in Brunswick, Ga.

Frank Marx was one of dozens who showed up, all with essentially the same stories, and when he scoured the crowd his eyes landed on one man in particular. He was sure this was the disabled boy he had helped all those decades ago.

"That's him," he said to Peggy.

He walked over and hugged the man, whom he hadn't seen in more than 40 years. Neither said a word to each other. But both began to cry. Then they walked out of the room holding hands. This, from a man so tough he used to pull his own teeth with pliers.

It wasn't until months later he learned that the man at the reunion wasn't the disabled boy he took a beating for that day after all. It was a guy he had never seen before in his life.

But that's how it was after all those years and all those awful memories. The White House Boys were an unbreakable family, even though the only thing many had in common was a leather strap and a fear of sleeping in the dark.

"He fell in love with all those guys," Peggy said. "It was like he had found his family. Because here's a room with 30 or 40 guys in it and they all know he's not lying."

Meeting the other White House Boys certainly changed him. He got softer, kinder. Last Christmas, for example, he stood in front of a Walmart and raised money to buy food for underprivileged youngsters.

When store staffers asked him to sign a permission form so he could stand there, he had to admit he couldn't write, which was humbling. But he didn't care. The children were more important than his pride.

For his fundraising efforts, Marx was named the 2009 Man of the Year by the White House Boys organization.

The last few years were easily the best in his marriage to Peggy, and he even went to each of his ex-wives and apologized for his past behavior.

And yet, even in his final days, there was one thing he couldn't do.

He couldn't forgive that strap-swinging one-armed man.


The original diagnosis was lung cancer. Marx went through 19 aggressive chemo treatments and 25 radiation treatments, and yet he only lost 6 pounds and kept his hair.

He was getting five phone calls a day from different White House Boys. Peggy was getting even more at night.

When he needed to call someone back he pulled out the White House Boys phone book Peggy had made for him. The phone numbers were next to pictures of the men instead of their names.

"Hey, man, you're a White House Boy," they'd say to him. "You're going to beat this thing."

And when he found out the tumors were in remission, he turned to Peggy and said: "The White House Boys pulled me through. My brothers pulled me through."

It was only in the last two weeks that he learned of the bone cancer that had spread through his body. He didn't have much time.

Still, he told Peggy not to sell the motor home because they had a White House Boys reunion go to in the fall.

In the final days, the things he said didn't make sense, but when a White House Boy called him something seemed to happen. "He'd get on the phone and talk to those guys and his voice would be strong and clear and alert," Peggy said.

The morning after Marx's death, Peggy received at least 75 calls from White House Boys, and some couldn't finish speaking. They just cried and hung up.

"It was just as important as my own brother passing," said Jerry Cooper, who lives in Cape Coral.


The end of Marx's life was as rough as its start, even though Peggy said, without a trace of hesitation, that being beaten in the White House was worse than having cancer.

His condition was deteriorating fast, and it was clear he would die without seeing any justice, at least from the state of Florida.

He was so cold that he would have to take a hot shower every hour.

When he came out, Peggy would offer him a dry, new shirt.

No, he didn't want one. He insisted on wearing his White House Boys T-shirt. He never wore T-shirts, but he wore this one for three straight days until he drew his last breath.

As his body was being removed from the house, a hospice worker offered to change his shirt, maybe put something on a little more dignified.

A little more dignified?

No, Peggy said, he was going to be cremated in that White House Boys T-shirt.

Then she added: "I think he's earned the right to take it with him."



John Bordnax, 66, one of the White House Boys, wears his shirt at a memorial service for Frank Marx on Saturday. The men, who share a painful past, have found one another in recent years. In Marx's final days, he refused to wear anything but his White House Boys shirt. STAFF PHOTO / THOMAS BENDER

BELOW ARE ALL THE POSTS ABOUT FRANK, FROM WHEN HE FIRST WAS DIAGNOSED, UNTIL HE PASSED.  I thought this would be the best place to archive them from other places on the website.


Hello Everyone:

Most of you know me, and for those of you who don't -- I am proud to tell you i am Mrs. Frank Marx, the wife of a White House Boy. I must tell you it has been a tough job to act as treasurer for the WHBz, but an honor to do it for my husband as well as all of you.

This has been a hard year for Frank and I. As most of you know, Frank lost his battle with cancer on Aug 17, 2010. But, I am compelled to tell you his last months were filled with calls and visits and prayers from his WHBz -- and they kept his spirits and hope alive for many month,s

My husband was always pround of his western heritage, and as most of you know, wore his western clothes and boots with pride all of his life--except his last 3 days. He refused to let me take his WHB shirt off -- He would shower and put it back on. He seemed to gain strenth and peace from it. He spoke of you, his brothers, often in his last days -- with a smile on his tortured face and made me promise not to give up the fight in his place -- a promise I will keep until I myself can join him.

After he passed the hospice nurse was getting him ready for them to take him away she ask me which one of his western shirts hanging in the closet did i want her to put on him. I said, "no, he will wear what he has on -- his whb shirt". She said, "are you sure? He has some beautiful shirts." I told her, "Believe me. He earned the right!"

He left our home in his WHBz shirt and hat and he was cremated with them on, so i know he wears them proudly on the other side.

My husband, like many of you, had a hard, complicated life, but gained so much peace from the WHBz . I cannot exspress enough how much you all meant to him. He was proud to call you brother. He told me he will be waiting for each of you when your turn comes. Oh that, I'm sure .

I will never be able to exspress my gatitude to each and every one of you who came to see him and called him. it meant more than I can say.

To Jerry Cooper: Jerry, I'm sorry he called you an ass, but you will never forget you gave him his last smile!

Babbs: you gave him all the love you had and he knew it

John and Mary Broadnax: He knew he could call you anytime for anything

as do i. Thank you, and thank you for standing in his stead as Sargeant at Arms

Dick: What can I say? He loved you with all his heart and so wanted to come to Baltimore -- he talked about that all of the time. He loved you from the moment he laid eyes on you in Brunswick. He said he felt like he had known you forever.

Nate: He gave you all his respect and love

Johnny: No matter what, he knew you would make sure God was waiting on him. Bless you for you truly were his brother for sitting in the bed with him for countless hours, even if you enjoyed getting even with him more than he did.

Mike: He talked about his last fishing trip for days. Thank you so much. He loved you. How many people would put their life on hold with a 30 min notice ? You and Brenda did just that. I will be forever grateful.

Don: What can i say? You know how special your friendship was to him. He so wanted to go on the road with you and sell deep fried aligator. Je loved you with all his heart.

Ben: He wanted you to know that without your encouragement, he would not have even tried to fight the cancer and he may not have lived those last few month,s

Tom and Lori: Thank you for just being you. We love you guys. He loved it when you came to the farm; it was his favorite place in the whole world and he loved to share it with people he loved. He always wanted to do a WHBz cook-out there.

Harley Jim Deneyke: Frank always admired your hair cut. When you came and spent the 4th of july night with him, he was so happy, and for you to ride at 6am in a rain storm to get to him brought tears to his eyes for he knew you loved him and he would have done the same for you. I'm sure he's keeping the presses hot in the back room waiting for you. Thank You My Friends.

Buddy and Marti: What can i say? A true friend is a true friend and the time you know one and other dosen't matter

To all of you: I have but one final message from Frank: He asked that you keep him in your heart, for as he said he was taking you with him in his never give up the fight for justice -- but most of all for the children

Mrs.Frank Marx - I am the wife of a WHB and proud of it!

News:  (updated 8/25/10) -- There is a beautiful memorial tribute website for Frank that you can view by clicking HERE:
Besides our GUESTBOOK, please take a moment to offer your condolences to the Marx family by using their new Memorial Website as well. 

Frank Marx went to be with his maker on Tuesday, August  17th.  As many of you know by now, beloved White House Brother, Husband, Brother, Relative, and Friend, Frank Marx,  passed away on Tuesday night. 

I believe I can speak for all the WHBz when I say that Frank was loved by many and will be dearly missed .  Frank thought of others before himself.  This past year, due to the many charitable projects he founded on behalf of the White House Boys (taking no credit for himself), he was named "Man of the Year" at the May reunion. Frank especially liked to donate to charities helping education -- He wanted today's children to have better opportunities than he'd had in his youth.

A Memorial Celebration of Frank's Life was held on Sat., Aug 21st at 2pm at New Vision Life Church in Sarasota.  Many White House Boys attended, to show sympathy and support to his wife, Peggy, and his brother, Pastor Johnny Marx, and their famililies.  

  If you could not attend, a sympathy card , email or personal note will mean a lot to Frank's family.  Whether you knew it or not, the frienships he made with other White House boys were very important to Frank.   When the end appeared imminent, Frank  especially appreciated your prayers and visits.  As his health failed, he would perk up when his family or a WHB called or visited.  Your visits "made his day" and "lifted his spirits".  Contact with family and WHBz  gave him a reason to fight for his life, no matter how poorly he felt.  Frank seldom, if ever, turned down a call from a member of his "White House" family. 
Frank was a friend to all the White House Boys, and his infectious smile cheered many a brother or family member.  Frank was a kind and gentle man and had a heart of gold - thinking of others before himself.  It was more important to him for the Lord be glorified for his charitable deeds and the WHBs to be given the credit, rather than taking the credit himself.

Frank was cremated in his White  House Boys Shirt, which he proudly wore, especially during the last week of his life.  Reports tell me that NO ONE would have been able to take away his WHBs shirt, and his right to wear it.  He will also be cremated in his hat, which  many of you know as his "signature look".  

We are collecting comments to memorialize Frank on the Guestbook, We printed up the ones we had in time for the Memorial Service and presented them to Peggy.  However, it is still not too late to write something nice about Frank now on the Guestbook if you wish.  

The bible refers to our body as a "tent" that's only purpose is to "house" our soul.  It says (paraphrasing) that when a person goes to be with the Lord, they get a NEW body, which is incorruptable, and will not disease or decay!  May you find comfort in the fact that Frank is no longer suffering and is "getting his new tent". 

As Peggy stated, "I am suffering the loss of "the love of my life".  May God comfort her and their family during this time of mourning,  until they are reunited in Heaven one day. In the meantime, your calls, cards, and notes may comfort her. As per Frank's wishes, in lieu of flowers he wanted donations to be made in his memory to the Official White House Boys Organization.   If you wish to donate, please send to Peggy Marx, Treasurer of The Official White House Boys.  Please make checks as follows:  "Peggy Marx, IFT WHBs" .  You might want to note in the memo space that your donation is "in Memory of Frank". 

The following is Peggy's address at the "temporary" home she rented so they could be together when times got more difficult. 

Frank and Peggy Marx
2018 Kai  Dr.
Sarasota,Fl 34231
Phone:  941-356-2517

Photo is from Michael Tucker's Facebook.  What a beautiful picture of Frank.

The GUESTBOOK  is an excellent forum for memories, poems,and photos of Frank as well as messages of sympathy and encouragement for Peggy, Pastor Johnny Marx and their families.   If you have photos of Frank or concolensces for the family, you can either post them on the Guestbook or email them directly to: and we'll post them for you.



Update: August 16, 2010

Peggy reports that if anyone wants to visit Frank, they should come sooner rather than later.  Frank's condition seems to be going steadily downhill, and although your prayers & cards are very much appreciated, a phone call or visit is even better.  Each time Frank has a phone call or visitor, it lifts his spirits even more.  After the visit or call, he continues to talk about how happy it made him.   If you can't visit, PLEASE at least give him a call.  Hearing from the WHBz seems to be the one thing that cheers him up, besides hearing from his family.  I urge you to take a few minutes and at least give him a call if you can't make the trip to visit him.  Peggy is at his side, and doing everything she can to make him as comfortable as possible.  She asks for your prayers for peace and comfort for Frank, as the end (short of a miracle) is near.  We must remember that God is sovereign, but He also teaches us to pray for the sick, and for each other.  

Here is Peggy's contact info once again:
Peggy Marx
2018 Kai Dr
Sarasota,Fl 34231


News regarding Frank's condition changes quite quickly, so here are the last 3 reports I've received with the most recent one first. 

8/10/10 - Advised that Frank has decided NOT to have Hospice come in, but wants to rely on the power of prayers from WHBz, Family & Friends.  If you can get over to see Frank and spend some time with him, please call Peggy or Frank at the number in Peggy's note below.  Also, please don't forget to drop a card, a note, or give him a phone call if you can't make it to see him.  Above all, please keep him in your prayers! 

8/9/10 - Advised that Hospice was being called in to help Frank at their home.

8/7/10 - Received this from Peggy:

 Hi Everyone

Some of you have recently visited Frank so you are aware of his condition for the rest of you  I hate to tell you this but he is in very bad shape . I don't know where we are going from here but at this point the cancer is winning I do not understand unless,there is some cancer somewhere  we don't know about  But he is down to 151# and has no interest in food tv or any other thing at this point we see the cancer doc Monday but for all intent and purpose I think he has given up please call him when you can
Peggy Marx
Update: August 16, 2010
Peggy reports that if anyone wants to visit Frank, they should come sooner rather than later.  Frank's condition seems to be going steadily downhill, and although your prayers & cards are very much appreciated, a phone call or visit is even better.  Each time Frank has a phone call or visitor, it lifts his spirits even more.  After the visit or call, he continues to talk about how happy it made him.   If you can't visit, PLEASE at least give him a call.  Hearing from the WHBz seems to be the one thing that cheers him up, besides hearing from his family.  I urge you to take a few minutes and at least give him a call if you can't make the trip to visit him.  Peggy is at his side, and doing everything she can to make him as comfortable as possible.  She asks for your prayers for peace and comfort for Frank, as the end (short of a miracle) is near.  We must remember that God is sovereign, but He also teaches us to pray for the sick, and for each other.   Here is their contact info once again:941-356-2517News regarding Frank's condition changes quite quickly, so here are the last 3 reports I've received with the most recent one first.  8/10/10 - Advised that Frank has decided NOT to have Hospice come in, but wants to rely on the power of prayers from WHBz, Family & Friends.  If you can get over to see Frank and spend some time with him, please call Peggy or Frank at the number in Peggy's note below.  Also, please don't forget to drop a card, a note, or give him a phone call if you can't make it to see him.  Above all, please keep him in your prayers!  8/9/10 - Advised that Hospice was being called in to help Frank at their home.8/7/10 - Received this from Peggy:
UPDATE ON FRANK MARX- Frank needs your cards, emails, calls (941-356-2517) and visits now more than ever!  Please call first to coordinate your visit with them. 
Frank and Peggy Marx

2018 Kai Dr
Sarasota,Fl 34231

Peggy reports that Frank is home but not doing well. Please do NOT delay visiting or calling him. It will also be warm and wonderful for him to receive get well cards from you.   He is home alone a lot as Peggy has to works two jobs now to make ends meet, so if you can visit him, please call to set up a time since he really likes to have company.  Peggy reports that right now the future doesn't look very bright, but we all know the Lord knows their needs, and has a plan for Frank and Peggy both.  They appreciate your prayers.    Please share with other WHBz and  families today!!

Update: August 16, 2010 Peggy reports that if anyone wants to visit Frank, they should come sooner rather than later.  Frank's condition seems to be going steadily downhill, and although your prayers & cards are very much appreciated, a phone call or visit is even better.  Each time Frank has a phone call or visitor, it lifts his spirits even more.  After the visit or call, he continues to talk about how happy it made him.   If you can't visit, PLEASE at least give him a call.  Hearing from the WHBz seems to be the one thing that cheers him up, besides hearing from his family.  I urge you to take a few minutes and at least give him a call if you can't make the trip to visit him.  Peggy is at his side, and doing everything she can to make him as comfortable as possible.  She asks for your prayers for peace and comfort for Frank, as the end (short of a miracle) is near.  We must remember that God is sovereign, but He also teaches us to pray for the sick, and for each other.   Here is their contact info once again:941-356-2517.
News regarding Frank's condition changes quite quickly, so here are the last 3 reports I've received with the most recent one first.  8/10/10 - Advised that Frank has decided NOT to have Hospice come in, but wants to rely on the power of prayers from WHBz, Family & Friends.  If you can get over to see Frank and spend some time with him, please call Peggy or Frank at the number in Peggy's note below.  Also, please don't forget to drop a card, a note, or give him a phone call if you can't make it to see him.  Above all, please keep him in your prayers!  8/9/10 - Advised that Hospice was being called in to help Frank at their home.8/7/10 - Received this from Peggy:
Please continue to remember our dear Brother, Frank Marx, and wife Peggy in your prayers each day and PLEASE give him a call - although he is tired a LOT, he still LOVES to hear from you!  Here is the original announcement (See also a message from Frank to all WHBz below): As most of you know, Frank has been diagnosed with cancer, and the doctors are painting a grave picture. He is not doing well right now, but we know that our Lord & Savior is a Mighty God, and if it be his will, he can keep Frank around for many more years to come, so Frank can continue doing good deeds on behalf of the White House Boys, as he has been doing for a long time now. May God watch over him, his family, and his doctors as they care for him. May Frank endure the chemo with minimal side effects. May the Lord give him the strength to attend and enjoy the fellowship of his brothers at the April reunion. May the family have the resources they need to give Frank the best care possible. May his spirits be uplifted by phone calls, cards and prayers from all his White House Brothers. Let Frank and Peggy know you love them, and support them with your prayers, cards, letters and phone calls.

Update: 6/6/10 - FRANK MARX - Frank is recouperating at home from a very unpleasant trip to the hospital.  He and Peggy appreciate your prayers and notes.  You can leave a note on our Guestbook, or email them directly.  If you use Facebook, Peggy is on there as well. 

Message from FRANK MARX.

PRAYERS IN SYMPATHY FOR JERRY & BABBS COOPER AND FAMILY...Here is the email we just received: We are very busy getting things in order as Jerry's brother died and we are trying to help where we can. He was fifty five and will be dearly missed.Will not be available a lot for couple days. Reason for death is he just shut down one organ at a time. Rest in Peace Mike. Amen


Marti Sommnitz’ sister, Joyce
, who passed away on November 19, 2009, from lung cancer, she leaves behind her husband, Bill, 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. Her other sister, Shirley, in Ocala, has COPD and now has lung cancer too, she’d appreciate any prayers. Buddy & Marti Somnitz

OUR CONDOLENCES AND SYMPATHY TO ROGER KISER (ONE OF THE ORIGINAL 4 WHITE HOUSE BOYS & AUTHOR OF MANY BOOKS & ARTICLES ON THE SUBJECT) AND HIS FAMILY upon the passing of his Son-In-Law, Wes. Wes was a very young man, in his mid forties. Further info is forthcoming. In the meantime, your prayers are coveted. You can contact Roger at



It is with great sorrow that we report to you that Nate Dowling, Vice President of "The Official White House Boys", has passed away after an attempt to save his life with heart bypass surgery at Manatee Hospital in Bradenton Florida yesterday.

Nate was an inspiration to all who knew him and everyone who met him. 

Nate was like a guiding light for all of us in so many ways.  He was a big favorite for the boys at Eckerds when he visited with them at Christmas over the past several years, and we know they will miss him greatly

Nate, we love you and you will be missed in many,many ways!!!! 

We Love you Nate Dowling!!!

Here are some thoughts about Nate from our President, Jerry Cooper:

Today is one of the saddest days I think I have ever had in many years.  Thank God that I was able to visit with Nate last week before his passing.

I will miss the many trips we made together all over the state attending reunions and meetings together and of course the many hours of conversation we shared including personal and business alike. 

I know you will be talking to God about all of us in the near future.  I love you Nate Dowling!
Your Friend Forever,
Jerry Cooper, Pres.
"Official White House Boys"

Per his wife, WH Brother Virgil Whitten passed away last year. Our condolences to the family.


Dozier survivor John Brodnax gave  his children a better life
By Andrew Meacham, Times Staff Writer - St. Petersburg Times --

ST. PETERSBURG - Those first few seconds, as John Brodnax had just opened an April 2009 issue of the St. Petersburg Times, he assumed the story he was about to read had something to do with presidential politics.

Beneath a photo caption was the phrase that made him think so: "White House."

Then he took in the photo of a squat, white building used for corporal punishment, and the words, "Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys."

Mr. Brodnax had told his children of prolonged beatings with a strap at the school, then known as the Florida School for Boys. He had spent the rest of his life trying to forget, and to provide a stable environment for his own children.

But anger about the past still burned inside him.

He showed his family the story. "It was one of those, 'I told you I wasn't lying,' " said daughter Mary Brodnax, 39.

Mr. Brodnax, one of many "White House boys" who have come forward to tell their stories, died Nov. 29, of pulmonary fibrosis. He was 68.

"John was beaten and beaten and beaten again," said Jerry Cooper, 66, who as a boy shared a cottage at the reform school with Mr. Brodnax in the late 1950s.

Offenses ranged from getting a boy an extra cup of coffee to another boy's use of tobacco, for which Mr. Brodnax took the blame.

In 1960 he stole a car and escaped. He married and drove a semitrailer truck, driving across the country under the handle "John the Baptist."

His children say they were almost never spanked, and that their father stood behind them even when they got in trouble. At Christmas, Mr. Brodnax dressed up as Santa Claus, carrying presents to his grandchildren in a red sack.

But certain things bothered him a great deal. For example, he could not abide the sound of slamming doors.

"I went through life being a mean, nasty, irritable person," he said in 2010. "I've come to realize that all of us were a lot alike when we come out of there."

Mr. Brodnax was born in St. Petersburg. His mother gave him away as a young child to another couple, his family said.

Five years ago, a genealogist in the family discovered that Mr. Brodnax had a half-brother living in Brandon.

"John showed up at my door," said Bill Goggio, 62. "He said, 'You're not going to believe this, but I'm your brother.' "

Mr. Brodnax attended several reunions of boys who had been held at the Dozier school, which was closed in June after a state investigation.

Two years ago, he and his wife, Mary, passed near Marianna on a trip to Georgia. Mr. Brodnax considered swinging by the school he had not seen in nearly 50 years.

"They were going to stop," his daughter said. "And my dad just couldn't do it."

Researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Andrew Meacham can be reached at or (727) 892-2248.

John Brodnax
Born: June 27, 1943
Died: Nov. 29, 2011

Survivors: wife, Mary Brodnax; daughter, Mary Brodnax; sons, John and William Brodnax; mother, Carolyn Wells; sister, Jenny Hawkins; brothers Orson Wells and Bill Goggio; six grandchildren. 

Update from John's daughter, Mary Brodnax, regarding arrangements:  
The services for my dad ,John Brodnax .will be on saturday december 3rd at 1:30 pm at Gee & Sorensen located at 3180 30th ave north st pete florida 33713 with food to follow at in our home please call with any questons 727 565 6652 Thank You

John "Pops" Brodnax
BRODNAX, John "Pops" 68, slipped into the arms of God Nov. 29, 2011. Born in St. Petersburg, John believed in God and family. He loved to talk, loved animals, enjoyed cooking, traveling, fishing, playing cards and time spent with friends and family. John was a member of the White House Boys Organization, that enabled the renewal of many old friendships. He was a retired long-haul truck driver. John leaves behind his wife Mary Mahoney Brodnax; children Mary Bernice Brodnax, John (Melissa) Brodnax and William (Kim) Brodnax; grandchildren Christian, John, Alyssa, Natasha, Ryan and Samantha; mother Carolyn Wells; sister Jenny (Jim) Hawkins; brothers Orson (Ayisha) Wells, Bill (Donna) Goggio; nieces and nephews and many good friends. In the arms of God, John is reunited with many family and friends, including father William Wells; BHB John Jasper and Pumpkin. Viewing at 1:30 pm; service at 3 pm on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Gee and Sorensen Funeral Home, 3180 30th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-323-5111

Published in the St. Petersburg Times on December 2, 2011

Posted by John's daughter, Mary, on Nov. 29, 2011 on Facebook:  
 Today was a hard day for my family and our loved one as my dad John Brodnax has accepted his promotion to heaven . We ask that all calls come to me at this time(727-565-6652) thank you for your thoughts and prayers



 (Posted 9/3/11)
Rest in Peace
William Roy Simmons
Brother of WHB ChasHarold Chuck Simmons (Chazzman) Simmons
We just received the following notice from Chazzman. We extend our most sincere condolences and prayers to him and his family.

My younger brother, William Roy Simmons, recently of Charlotte NC, passed on September 3rd, 2011 after an extended illness.

It was his wish to be creamated without services.

Please keep his wife Ann in your prayers.

He has many family members that have survived him.

ChasHarold Chuck Simmons


(Loving Brother of White House Boys: Charles, George(Daniel), Roy (Thomas) and Edwin
(deceased) Fudge
UPDATE:  Junior's wife Joyce Helen Fudge went to join her husband, and be with the Lord on Saturday, January 21st (8 days after her husband passed).  Her services will be at the same place on Friday, January 21st from 11am - 1pm with Services at 1:00pm. 
As Published in the Citrus County Chronicle, January 13, 2012 -  Floy Lee "Junior" Fudge Jr., age 74, died Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, at his residence under the loving care of his family and HPH Hospice. A Funeral Service of Remembrance will be held on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, at 3 p.m., at the Chas. E. Davis Funeral Home with Crematory. The family will receive friends in visitation from 2 p.m. until the hour of service. Junior was born on Nov. 23, 1937, in Deland, Fla., to the late Floy L. Fudge Sr. and Louise (Taylor) Fudge. He was a long-distance commercial truck driver. Junior enjoyed fishing and going to garage sales. He collected pocket knives and firearms. A social and outgoing man, he enjoyed playing pranks on his friends and family. He was Baptist by faith.
Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Joyce "Helen" Fudge, Lecanto; his son Robert (Michelle) Fudge, Inverness; brothers, Roy T. (Barbara) Fudge, Tavares, George (Sharon) Fudge, Daytona Beach, Charles (Diane) Fudge, Homosassa; and sisters, Betty Jean Fudge, Baytown, TX, Linda Burns, Scottsdale, AZ, Ethel Kay Jones and Tina Jones, both of Baytown, TX; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and many loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his daughter Laverne; a son, William Lee; and two brothers, William Donald and James Edwin.  Click this link for Guestbook:

Info for Chas. E Davis Funeral Home follows:

3075 South Florida  Avenue  (Hwy 41)  Inverness, FL 34450
(352) 726-8323

Friends and Family are then invited to 811 SE US Hwy 19, Crystal River to celebrate his life.


In Loving Memory of WHB
Manuel Giddens Lennard Who went to be with the Lord 1-18-10

It is with our most sincere sympathy for the family of Manuel Giddens and with deepest sorrow that we report that Manuel Giddens went to be with his Maker today, January 18th, 2010, just after 9am.

As per Manuel's Request, White House Boy's Pastor, John Marx, will be conducting his eulogy. Pastor Marx and other White House Brothers and many of his family members were by Manuel's side during his final days and weeks, and all were encouraged by his sweet spirit, how much he loved his White House Brothers, and by his inner strength and faith.

Service and Viewing at Lee memorial Park Funeral Home
12777 State Road #82,Fort Myers, FL 33913
Phone No:(239) 334-4880

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Family Viewing at 10: A.M.
Friends and Family Viewing at 11:00 A.M. till 2:00 P.M.
Life Celebration / Funeral after viewing

Manuel requested donations of love to be given in lieu of flowers to help the family with arrangements. Donations to the family for arrangements may be sent or given to his son:
John Wayne Giddens
735 Ichabod Avenue S.
Lehigh Acres, FL 33973-2087

Manuel had his White House Brothers in his thoughts and prayers at all times. While in the hospital last week, he asked that the White House Boys be told that he loves them, to stay strong & keep up the fight. He also requested that his son continue in his stead at all reunions and functions. While he was in Hospice, he asked that everyone be told that he did not give up, that he was not a quitter, but that his Lord was ready for him.

In addition to respecting Manuel's request for a Love Offering instead of flowers, we will also be sending a floral arrangement on behalf of all of his White House brothers.

Sympathy Messages can be posted on our Guestbook. 

If you have photos of Manuel or poems about him that you wish to share, please submit them to the website or email them to us at mailto:theofficialwhitehouseboys@gmail.vom as we are composing a scrapbook for his family.

God's Garden
God looked around his garden
And He found an empty place.
And then He looked down upon the earth,
And saw your tired face.
He put His arms around you,
And lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful,
He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering,
He knew you were in pain,
He knew that you would never
Get well on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough,
And the hills were hard to climb,
So He closed your weary eyelids,
And whispered"Peace be thine."
It broke our hearts to lose you.
But you didn't go alone,
For part of us went with you,
The day God called you home.
-- Author Unknown

Rest In Peace
our Beloved Brother, Manuel

This photo depicts Manuel's Sisters


"We are dropping like swatted flies,'' he wrote in an unpublished August 2009 essay, "and many of us will never live to see redemption in Tallahassee.'' quoted from obituary by CAROL MARBIN MILLER of the Miami Herald.

Yes, we have lost yet ANOTHER White House brother! Michael O' McCarthy passed on 4-9-10 during Same-Day Back Surgery. He died of a Heart Attack during the surgery, and never woke up, which brings the family some comfort in that they know he passed without suffering. However, we all know that his family and friends will suffer the loss of a dear husband, father, friend and White House Boy. Michael was one of the "Original" White House Boys and was an activist against child abuse. Please keep the Family of Michael O'McCarthy in your thoughts and in your prayers!
CORRECTION TO OUR ORIGINAL POST: Jennifer just called, She and Michael's son are on their way back. Michael's wishes were actually that his ashes be spread over Isla Morado, in the Keys, (not over a mountain) so that is what will be done.

She advised that, in lieu of flowers, Michael's wishes were that a love offering be made to further the cause of justice for White House Boys or to any charity that helps Abused Children.

Here is his Obituary from the Miami Herald:

Here is another tribute to Michael from Pacific Free Press:

RIP Michael O’McCarthy – Published Poet, Writer Of Prose, Political Journalist And Blogger, Artist, Novelist And Friend Of Atlantic and Pacific Free Press Passes On
written by Richard Kastelein

Michael O'McCarthy Passed Away in Costa Rica yesterday. He called me just last week - as he did occasionally to shoot the breeze. Michael wanted to talk about the passionate piece he wrote about Dennis
Hopper, who is terminally ill - and it was clear in his penning about the man, that he truly appreciated the sheer acting talent that Hopper possessed. Hopper in many ways, was a thespian illustration for his generation - a 60's icon who bucked the system.  Hopper's  brilliant film Easy Rider captured the national imagination and was a landmark counterculture film and the man was clearly important to Michael.
Calling me in the chill of northern Europe from the warmth of Costa Rica, he sounded happy. Michael was as energetic and inspiring as he always was. I was shocked to hear today that he's no longer with us.

To give you an idea of the breadth of his work and drive to make the world a better place - he was not only a writer. Michael O’McCarthy is an internationally published poet, penner of prose, a political, journalist and blogger, artist, Research Fellow at COHA and a novelist.
On good days he was a revolutionary humanist. On bad days, he simply hated the ruling class. He was, at heart, a true progressive activist.

Michael began writing at 14 as teen columnist for the Florida Keys' Keynoter. During the 1960's, he was a Left radical political organizer, prisoner’s rights advocate, poet and essayist and his essays and poetry were published first in England and the US.

He went on as a lead investigative writer of The Glass House Tapes, (Bantam), the  exposure of the U. S. COINTEL, FBI secret domestic police a operation; political reporter for the Los Angeles Free Press; author of Visit To The White House, the first exposure of the state sponsored child abuse at the Florida School for Boys' notorious White House, (Southern Exposure, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  and anthologized in Growing Up Southern, Pantheon, 1982); Special Features Editor for the new Los Angeles Free Press; a features columnist for AOL’s political blog, The Stump and contributor to numerous anthologies on U.S. correctional systems; writer for numerous political blogs; Political and Editorial consultant to Pseudo Capitalism – Socialism for the Rich, by Stephen Bindman, Ph.D.

His final book was called Rebels in Hell, a revolutionary novel, (IU Press).

Rest in Peace Michael.

Atlantic Free Press writer Martha Rose Crow also recently passed away here in The Netherlands.

We will miss you both.








White House Survivor, Richard Larry Dees, Senior, passed away at age 70 on Thursday Aug. 23, 2012 surrounded by his loving family. He was born on June 4, 1942 in Fort Myers. He was the son of the late Lawrence and Bert Dees. He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years Dorothea (Powell) Dees. 

Richard had a lifetime passion for gardening, fishing, andand sports. Richard is also survived by sons Richard Jr. And Robert grandchildren R.J. And Tony.  sisters: Linda Stieger and Debbie Sarriosister and brother-in-law Susanna and Byron Weathers and nephew James Weathers and extended family members. Richard was preceded in death by a son Ronnie. 

Gathering for family and friends located at 208 Bryan Oak Ave. Brandon FL 33511 Sept. 9 at 2 PM. Serenity Meadows Memorial Park Funeral Home & Crematory


Former Florida Gov. Claude Kirk (RECIPIENT OF WHBz HUMANITARIAN AWARD) dies at age 85

By Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE - Claude Kirk Jr., a colorful and confrontational leader who served as the first Republican governor of Florida since Reconstruction, died early Wednesday. He was 85.

A statement released by the Kirk family said he died peacefully in his sleep at home in West Palm Beach. He suffered a mild heart attack in February.

Gov. Kirk served one term as governor from 1967 to 1971, a turbulent period of Vietnam War protests, teacher strikes, school desegregation and massive population growth in the Sunshine State.

His presence at the center of the political stage made the times more unpredictable. He was sometimes so outrageous his name has come to be synonymous with flamboyance in politics in Florida.

He led Florida in a time of great upheaval, as a court-ordered remapping of legislative districts ended the control of the Pork Choppers, a band of rural North Florida conservatives. He helped usher in the 1968 Florida Constitution that created the office of lieutenant governor, required annual sessions of the Legislature and reorganized a bureaucratic backwater into a streamlined executive branch.

He was credited with placing greater emphasis on the environment, providing the impetus for a statewide law enforcement agency and injecting overdue energy into the Republican Party.

Most of all, Gov. Kirk relished a good fight.

He clashed repeatedly with the Democrat-controlled Legislature, the all-Democratic Cabinet and the courts. By the end of his term, voters had become weary of the circus-like atmosphere surrounding the man known as "Claudius Maximus."

In 1970, Florida voters elected Democrat Reubin Askew to succeed Gov. Kirk, and it would be 16 years before another Republican (Bob Martinez of Tampa) would become governor.

Gov. Kirk once called himself "a tree-shakin' son of a bitch," and laughed it off as a "clerical error" when a reporter exposed that he charged his honeymoon travel to Florida taxpayers.

He had a secret slush fund to augment his jet-setting lifestyle, financed by supporters, and he called it the Governor's Club.

He gave a $90,000 state contract to New York publicist William Safire, later the long-time New York Times columnist, to promote his image.

Gov. Kirk was a prosperous insurance executive from Jacksonville who had never held public office until his election in 1966. He won in large part because Democrats were bitterly divided over their nomination of Robert King High, a liberal Miami mayor, over Gov. Haydon Burns, who refused to endorse High.

"He marked the very beginning of the Republican growth in the state," said Curt Kiser, a former Pinellas County lawmaker who worked in Gov. Kirk's office while attending law school. "He was very innovative. He brought a lot of new people into state government and he helped fashion the modern image of Florida."

One of those people was Nathaniel Reed of Hobe Sound, a respected conservationist who became the first full-time environmental adviser to a Florida governor, at $1 a year.

"He was brash, rude, domineering, inventive, determined and marvelously good-humored," Reed said Wednesday.

Reed said Gov. Kirk was persuaded to drop his support for such "boondoggles" as a jetport in the Everglades and the Cross-Florida Barge Canal, and he ended the practice of untreated sewage being flushed into the Atlantic Ocean.

After serving as governor, Gov. Kirk ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate and state education commissioner. In 1984, he submitted his name as a presidential candidate in New Hampshire.

He worked as a business consultant, made speeches, and doted on his grandchildren.

At a 2006 symposium at the University of Central Florida, Gov. Kirk criticized his successors for not dealing with a water shortage, pollution by sugar growers and the high school dropout rate.

Recalling that he broke ground at the Orlando campus while governor, Gov. Kirk said: "I dug the dirt that started this place."

. . .

Claude Roy Kirk Jr. was born in San Bernardino, Calif., where his parents, Claude Sr. and Sarah Mrytle McClure Kirk, worked as railroad clerks. The family later moved to Chicago where his father sold mobile homes, and later to Montgomery, Ala.

After graduating from Lanier High School in Montgomery in 1943, during World War II, Kirk joined the Marine Corps Reserves and served with an artillery unit in the United States. He was called back to active duty during the Korean War and awarded the Air Medal of the Marine Corps and discharged as a first lieutenant in 1952.

He earned a bachelor of science degree at Duke University and a law degree from the University of Alabama.

In addition to his wife, Kirk is survived by seven children: Sarah, Katherine, William, Frank, Adriana, Claudia and Erik. He also is survived by 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The family said information on services and memorial contributions will be forthcoming.
. . .
From the moment he became the state's 36th governor, on Jan. 3, 1967, Gov. Kirk displayed a flair for the dramatic. In his inaugural address, he called for a special session of the Legislature to write a new state Constitution. He also said he was setting up a private police force to drive organized crime out of the state, and hired the Wackenhut security agency to lead a so-called "war on crime."

At his inaugural ball that night, Gov. Kirk stole the spotlight from Perry Como and the Ray Charles Singers by introducing his glamorous escort as "Madame X, my very good friend." The "mystery woman" turned out to be his future second wife, German-born Erika Mattfeld.

The next day, the soon-to-be first couple vanished for a surprise vacation. Reporters found them at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, relaxing on George Wackenhut's yacht, named Security Risk.

The two had met in Brazil where Erika was working as a model and TV actress, and were married in February 1967, about a month after Kirk became governor.

After fathering three children while governor, Gov. Kirk liked to call his administration "the most productive in Florida history."

Gov. Kirk had a promoter's instinct for salesmanship and he never tired of the limelight. His last major public appearance was at Gov. Rick Scott's inauguration in January.

Kiser recalled that one of his duties was to promote Gov. Kirk as a possible vice-presidential running mate of Richard Nixon in 1968 by mailing packets of Kirk press clippings to GOP activists across the country.

"Part of my job was to help promote the governor's name nationwide," said Kiser, a lawyer and lobbyist in Tallahassee.

But when Nixon chose Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew instead, a piqued Gov. Kirk threw his support to New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.

The second half of Gov. Kirk's term was marked by a series of controversies, most notably a statewide teachers' strike and Gov. Kirk's defiance of a court order desegregating Florida schools. Gov. Kirk at one point suspended the entire Manatee County School Board and appointed himself school superintendent.

After first signaling his support for a huge pay raise for legislators, Gov. Kirk vetoed it, which infuriated lawmakers, who overrode his veto.

Kiser recalled hearing there were two versions of a Kirk speech - one if he signed the pay raise and one if he vetoed it. "We all were in the dark," Kiser said. "We didn't know which speech he was going to give until he went up to the chambers."

"He double-crossed the Legislature by promising lawmakers a pay raise and then vetoing it, after which the angry legislators overrode the veto and never paid any attention to him again," Martin Dyckman wrote in the St. Petersburg Times.

Reporter Don Pride, who covered Kirk for the Times, said he was writing a column one Saturday afternoon in his office in the sub-basement of the historic Old Capitol and had his 4-year-old son Rob in tow when Gov. Kirk popped his head into the news office.

The governor whisked the boy into his waiting state limousine with the small American flags on the fenders, and they went to the Governor's Mansion where they toured the rooms and rode up and down the elevator.

On the spot, Pride abandoned the critical column on Gov. Kirk that he planned and told the story of Gov. Kirk's visit with his son instead.

It was a different time, Pride said, when Gov. Kirk provided beer to reporters at press parties at the Governor's Mansion, which had a bar stocked with gin and Scotch. They all played slow-pitch softball on the mansion front lawn.

Pride said Gov. Kirk once broke his arm in a game by sliding into a tree that served as third base, and that Gov. Kirk liked being photographed with his arm in a sling.

"Kirk was really a showman," Pride said.

Times staff writers Craig Basse and Andrew Meacham and researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report, and information from Current Biography and the Associated Press was used. Steve Bousquet can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

. Biography
Claude Roy Kirk, Jr.
Born: Jan. 7, 1926 \
Died: Sept. 28, 2011
Survivors: wife Erika Mattfeld Kirk; sons William, Frank and Erik, and daughters Sarah, Katherine, Adriana and Claudia

Nathaniel Reed Statement on Gov. Kirk's Passing

Nathaniel Reed was the first full-time environmental adviser to a Florida governor and currently serves on the Board of The Everglades Foundation. He released this statement on Wednesday.

Governor Kirk's passing highlights an era when, as governor, he challenged the old guard that had run Florida since reconstruction. Governor Kirk came into office determined to change Florida against all opponents. He was brash, rude, domineering, inventive, determined and marvelously good-humored. Re-apportionment in 1968 brought to Tallahassee numerous young vibrant men and women to become members of an astonishing legislature. It was an era of great change, often controversial, always fascinating.

From an environmental standpoint, he never wavered. It's hard to believe now, but millions of gallons of untreated sewage were flushed into the Atlantic Ocean from Palm Beach to Key West, from Pensacola to Fort Myers. Not a single industry in Florida could receive the initial federal pollution control permits. To change this incredible mess was controversial and expensive, but against all odds Kirk succeeded where others were fearful of even trying.

He never wavered in his determination to change Florida's long legacy of what Philip Wiley described as Florida, "the polluted paradise." Kirk could be very stubborn, but he could be convinced to change his mind. For instance, he once supported the cross-state barge canal and the Big Cypress jetport and the development of what is now Biscayne National Park. But when presented with the facts of environmental damage each project would create, he turned and became an ardent and effective opponent of all boondoggles.

He successfully urged passage of Florida's first green bond issue which brought many popular state parks into our system, he supported the acquisition of the Big Cypress, he fought for more water to be delivered to Everglades National Park. His successors, governors Askew and Graham inherited a new Florida successfully built on conservation foundations of the Kirk era. . . .

It has often been said, no man enjoyed being governor of Florida as much as Claude Kirk.
Governor Kirk's passing highlights an era of great change in Florida's government. Ever since reconstruction, Florida had been run by a small group of powerful individuals who liked their special privileges and fought for them. Kirk was determined to change the old system and challenge the old guard. After Kirk, the notorious "pork chop gang" were put out to pasture and Florida reaped the benefits of a new generation of leaders who would bring prosperity based in large part on Florida's natural gifts.

Today the good lord has welcomed home a man who cherished and protected a special place in his creation: the peninsula now known as Florida.


On behalf of myself and my family we offer our most sincere and heartfelt condolence to the family of Brother Manuel Giddens and commend them to the infinite Father who will fold the arms of His love and protection around those who put their trust and confidence in him, may the peace that passes all understanding rest and abide in him now and forever. --BillWilly Haynes WHB

HERE for a Biography and Memorial for Manuel.


Website Builder