This appeared in the Dallas Morning News on Friday, June 29.
Written by Joe Simnacher of the DMN
Jimmie Ruth Hughes White was passionate about dancing, teaching dance and Cedar Hill’s annual Country Day on the Hill fall festival.
Although she had been bedridden by cancer in recent months, she had already booked the bands to perform for the 2012 Country Day this October.
Mrs. White, 71, died Saturday at a Fort Worth hospice.
She also had completed her part of a pending outdoor celebration of her life, said her husband, Jim White of Cedar Hill.
“She booked the band; she knew who she wanted,” he said. “We’re waiting for the city to come up with a plan and a time.”
Mrs. White was known in Cedar Hill as “Miss Jimmie,” the name her dance students used to address her. The nickname caught on with their parents and other adults across town.
“Even the mayor calls her Miss Jimmie,” Mr. White said. “She was very outgoing. Everybody loved her.”
Cedar Hill Mayor Rob Franke remembered Mrs. White for her “sense of caring and duty to give back. Miss Jimmie would not accept excuses, compromise or anything but the best. She made all of us better people for having known her, for having been loved by her and by her telling us what to do on numerous occasions.
“Our prayer is that the leadership and contributions Miss Jimmie made to the character of our city and our Country Day celebration will live on through those motivated to serve by her example,” he said.
Mrs. White was born in Waco and grew up in Killeen. She started teaching when she was 13 at the Sons of Hermann Dance School in nearby Marlin. She opened the Spotlight Dance Studio in Killeen in 1959.
In 1966, the Whites, who met while performing at the Fort Hood Little Theater, moved to Dallas. Mrs. White soon resumed her career, teaching dance at the Storybook Playhouse in Oak Cliff. She decided to start her own studio, but her contract obligations with Storybook prevented her from teaching dance within 10 miles of the Oak Cliff location.
In 1976, the Whites moved to Cedar Hill, bought a house and opened Spotlight Dance Studio.
Her students performed at area festivals, where the facilities were often less than ideal for dance. One year, she complained to her husband about the conditions her students faced at Country Day on the Hill. He suggested she get involved and “fix it.”
Mrs. White became a mainstay of the festival, serving for several years as chairwoman of the entertainment committee.
Earlier, she worked with a group of Cedar Hill businesswomen whom she dubbed the Steel Magnolias.
During the summers, Mrs. White traveled as a member of the Hoctor Dance Caravan, instructing other teachers across the county as well as in London and Paris. She retired in 1999.
Mrs. White was active with numerous groups in Cedar Hill. She had served as entertainment director for the Cedar Hill Parks and Recreation Department, on the advisory board of the Cedar Hill Food Pantry and as a trustee of the Cedar Hill Historical Society.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. White is survived by her son, Paul Allen Zipperlen of Keller; a daughter, Ellen Reeves of Maypearl; a brother, Billy Wade Hughes of Llano; and three grandchildren.