77, of Bryson City
A native of Swain County, he was the son of the late Jared and Amy Edwards White. He was a graduate of Swain County High School where he played Swain County football.
Dennis served in Vietnam and the Marine Corp as a photojournalist with the Stars & Stripes. He worked in the newspaper industry as a reporter and photographer before starting Tourist News in 1978 which he published for over 20 years. He went from newspaper publisher to BBQ chef and restaurant owner (The Pit BBQ restaurant in Bryson City) to commercial contractor.
Dennis’s talents were many, he was extremely accomplished in business, house construction, photography, woodworking, gardening, and scuba-diving. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, community volunteer and friend. He loved animals, especially his dogs. He was an avid storyteller and could always be found with a circle of friends in one of the local coffee shops on any given morning.
Dennis was instrumental in bringing tourism to Swain County and Bryson City. He helped create the Tourism Development Authority to allow for reinvestment into the Swain County community.
He also is one of the original Chamber of Commerce founding members. Dennis worked hard to bring the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad to develop our town and even helped paint the depot. he was instrumental in the development of the Smoky Mtn Golf Club by finding the land and investors for the project. He served many years on the Board of Directors for the SMGC.
Dennis was extremely dedicated to the historical preservation and beautification of Bryson City and Swain County. He was very involved in the creation of the Swain County Heritage Museum and Aquarium Park. He was named Citizen of the Year in 2019 by the Town of Bryson City.
Dennis built over 30 vacation rental cabins in the area. He was the co-owner of Uncle Bunky’s General Store and Uncle Bunky’s Christmas Shop, among other retail businesses over the years. He was a lover of Fox & Friends and Boston Crème Pie.
He is preceded in death by both parents and brother, Robert E. White.
He is survived by his wife, Debi White; son, David White and wife Richa Angel of Bryson City; and daughter, Tiffany Bowers and husband Sammy of Bryson City. Grandchildren, Kendall Bowers, Taylor Amos, Jeremiah Angel and numerous nieces and nephews.
He will be deeply missed by friends, family and all who knew him.
Service will be held at the Grove Church on Thursday, January 9 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to PAWS.