In Memoriam: Bill White – A President’s Passing

One of APRO’s pioneers and rent-to-own industrialist, Bill White, passed away on August 23. White built an illustrious career and was known by many as an industry institution.

In 1975, White opened his first Action TV, Stereo and Appliances store in Mesquite, Texas. Within 20 years, he grew the company to a 102-store chain with locations in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. After selling the company to investors in 1996, White founded White Properties, Inc., a commercial real estate and investment enterprise where he often financed RTO companies.

White was an APRO member since its founding in 1980, and his activism didn’t stop there. He had been on the APRO board of directors for more than a decade—from 1986 to 1998—and was one of the longest-serving board members in APRO history at that time. He served on the executive committee first as treasurer in 1989 and then as president from 1995 to 1997. He was also a founding member and served as chairman of the board of the Texas Association of Rental Agents [TARA], the Texas state RTO association. White was awarded the 1986 APRO Legislative Achievement Award for his outstanding leadership and commitment toward passage of favorable legislation in Texas. He later won the 1998 APRO Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing his contributions to the industry.

It was during White’s term as APRO president that the Association began its foray into image building and boosting public relations effort on behalf of the industry. It was also when the industry finally realized long-sought tax relief with the successful passage of the Tax Relief Act in 1997, in which the Internal Revenue Service recognized the rental-purchase transaction as a lease rather than a sale.

“Bill was a generous, kind and thoughtful man,” shares Ed Winn, III, APRO general counsel. “He was an ethical rental dealer and an inspirational leader during his time with APRO—on the board and as President.”

Within his community, White was an organizer and board member of the Mesquite National Bank, and in 1987, he was voted Business Person of the Year by the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce.

A visitation will be held at 9:00 AM followed by a memorial service at 10:00 AM this Saturday, August 31, at Inspiration Church in Mesquite, Texas. The graveside service and interment will commence at 1:30 PM at Laurel Oaks Funeral Home & Memorial Park in Balch Springs, Texas. New Hope Funeral Home is handling all arrangements. Visit www.newhopefh.com to view his obituary and leave comments or notes to the family.