Bill was born in Kingsbury, Ind., on Feb. 26, 1915, one of four children of Lewellyn and Florence Wicham White. He graduated from Kingsbury High School in 1933, then spent a year in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Most of his life he worked in farming.
Bill entered the U.S. Army in 1941. After training at Fort Monmouth, N.J., he was sent to the Philippines with a mobile radar unit. When war was declared in December 1941, Bill was sent to Bataan.
After four months of war, his unit was to destroy their guns and equipment and surrender to the Japanese. He was part of the Bataan Death March, during which many died from beatings, lack of food and water and disease. He spent six months in O’Donnell POW Camp, where hundreds died every day.
The survivors were sent to Cabanatuan No. 1 to work on airfields and roads. One year later, all able-bodied were sent to Japan to work in factories and mines. Bill worked in coal mines at Camp 10 Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu, Japan.
Three and a half years of slave labor and starvation ended when Japan surrendered on Aug. 14, 1945. The surrender came after the second atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki.
Bill weighed 80 pounds at that time and spent a year in the hospital.
In 1947, he married Claribel Hebeisen in Chicago. In 1949 they drew a homestead on the Ralston Bench. This was part of the Heart Mountain Project. They farmed there until 1990, when they sold the farm and moved to Powell. Shortly after that, Clare died on July 30, 1993.
He was a member of the United Methodist Church in Powell, American Ex-Prisoners of War, Defenders Bataan and Corregidor, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled Veterans and American Legion No. 26 in Powell. He also was a member of the Masonic Lodge No. 222 in Kingsbury, Ind.
Bill is survived by his two sisters Lois W. Nelson of LaPorte, Ind., and Lacelia Kliss of LaPorte, and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at the United Methodist Church in Powell. A viewing also will be held at the church one hour before the funeral.
Interment will follow in Crown Hill Cemetery.
Arrangements are being handled by Thompson Funeral Home.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.thompsonfuneral.net or to P.O. Box 807 Powell, WY, 82435.