Mildred was the only child of Robert H. Byrd and Lillie Mae Hill Byrd. Her father and mother both preceded her to Heaven. She lived all her life in Charlotte, N.C. except the three years she and her family lived as missionaries in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
She graduated from Oakhurst High School as class valedictorian. She attended Queens College to get her secretarial degree. While there, she was a member of the Alpha Iota Sorority, Delta Psi Chapter.
After college, she went to work as executive secretary to the manager of Big WAYS radio. During her time there, she worked in many aspects of the radio business. She co-produced (with Col. Walt Goan) the “Young American’s Club”, where she also sang on the show each week. She DJ’ed a daily show of popular music for teens called “Millie’s Platter Chatter” in the 3 to 5 pm time slot. She was fortunate to have the privilege of working with some of the up and coming broadcasters of the day: Charlie Kuralt (then just a teenager), J. B. Clark (sportscaster), Alonzo Squires (a favorite a.m. show host), Harry Barfield, Brooks Lindsey (later known best as Joey-the-Clown on WSOC-TV), and many more. When the radio station went on to open WAYS-TV, she became office manager and executive secretary to that manager as well.
Mildred studied voice with Earl Berg at Queens College and later Gertrude Gower. For 14 years, she was a paid soloist at Myers Park Methodist Church. She also sang in the choir at Garr Memorial Church. She was one of the founding singers with the Charlotte Oratorio Singers, and participated in the Good Fellows Club choral events for more than 50 years. As a soloist, she did concerts at the Women’s Club, and at many secular and religious events in the surrounding area.
She met Dan O. White at a summer tent revival at Garr Memorial Church. He had come from California to fill in while the regular organist was on maternity leave. That fill-in lasted 45 years! They dated three years before becoming engaged. During that time, he frequently performed on her “Young American’s Club”. She also produced his solo radio show “Dan White at the Baldwin Twins”. Charles Kuralt was his announcer. They married June 9, 1951, with many of their radio friends (including Brooks Lindsey) serving as attendants.
In 1957, the most blessed event of their lives happened when their daughter, Melody, was born. There was even a blurb in the local society page announcing her birth and joking that, at last, the alto and the bass got to “carry the melody”.
In 1962, the three of them went to Brazil to work with Bishop Robert McAlister. Dan helped build 3 churches and Mildred sang in many crusades around the area. Upon their return to America, Mildred worked as secretary to Rev. Alfred Garr, and spent each summer at Camp Lurecrest doing double duty as Alfred’s secretary and the camp’s secretary/registrar.
During that time, her childhood best friend, Jonee Aiken, got her a job working part time at the seasonal clothing markets for the Carolina-Virginia Fashion Exhibitors. Her career growth followed that of the Carolina-Virginia Market, and by the time they moved downtown into their own building – the Carolina Trade Mart – she was working for them full time. There she became executive secretary to the general manager, Zeb Burnett. In 1979, she was made the general manager of the Carolina Trade Mart (a subsidiary of the CVFE) and secretary to the Board of Directors.
During these years, she also belonged to the Mecklenburg Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association and served as vice president and secretary. She was named Woman of the Year in 1983. Her career advanced to the point that she was named Executive Director of the Carolina-Virginia Fashion Exhibitors. She dearly loved the men and women who made up this organization and the buyers who came to attend the market events. She made many long lasting friendships over the years. She retired in 1998 after 32 years of service.
For over 38 years, Dan and Mildred attended retreats and ministered with an outreach organization called Camps Farthest Out in their Eastern Carolina, Kanuga, Tennessee, Florida, and Virginia regions. They were active on the Council Rings at Kanuga and Eastern Carolina for years. She also held offices as chairman, treasurer, registrar, and prayer group leader. Besides ministering in song during the services, she eventually served as praise & worship leader and rhythms leader for the retreats. They made many precious friends through these Camp experiences.
Dan and Mildred loved to travel. They were privileged to get to go to Israel several times. They also traveled to Switzerland, the Panama Canal, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. They especially enjoyed their multiple cruises to Alaska. The best trips were the ones they shared with friends.
When Dan “retired”, he became organist at Central Church of God. Mildred, weary of being in choirs all her life, decided it was time to do something different and sit in the congregation. She began volunteering in Central’s Food Service ministry and loved it. The “Kitchen Angels” became like a second family – full of love, laughter, and support. She also volunteered with the Care & Comfort ministry. She served in both ministries until she was no longer physically able. She and Dan were very active with the church seniors’ PrimeTimers and served for years on their leadership taskforce. Being a member of Central Church of God was one of the greatest joys of her life. Everyone with whom she came in contact ministered to her, and many felt she ministered to them as well. She dearly loved her Central buddies. They were her support and joy.
After she retired, the Lord opened a new mission field for Mildred through the suffering in her body. From breast cancer, heart attack, knee replacement, spinal surgery, stroke, heart failure, and other assorted ailments, she was able to witness, minister, and pray for and with doctors, nurses, and aides she would have never had contact with otherwise. She especially wanted to thank her doctors for their excellent care: Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Dr. John Crawford, Dr. David Ugland, Dr. Frederick Weidman, Dr. Peter Turk, Dr. William Griffin, and Dr.Yele Aluko. Also her family wants to thank her precious nurses and CNAs – Phillip Rospond, Tamera Wilson, Summer Sparnell, Adam Airington, Megan Mitchell, LaToya Daniels, James McAuley and all her caregivers from Carrington Place and Hospice & Palliative Care of Charlotte. Their compassion and tenderness as they ministered to her needs was so appreciated.
Mildred’s greatest joy was in serving her Lord Jesus Christ, especially in praying for people. She was a true prayer warrior. Every day she looked forward to the soon coming of her Lord. Now, she is with Him for eternity – singing, walking, running – reunited with those she loves around her. Best of all, she gets to worship her Lord face-to-face. She leaves behind a legacy of love and faith for all of us who knew her.
In lieu of flowers, should you so desire, please make a memorial donation to Camp Lurecrest at https://camplurecrest.org/get-involved/online-donation/