KILMARNOCK—Paul Rice White died on December 27, 2021. He was born in Alexandria on December 20, 1953, to the late Gilbert S. Jr. and Doswell Rice White.
Surviving family includes a sister, Lori Coile of Alameda, Calif.; a niece, Courtney Coile and her family (Henry, Nathaniel and Meredith Roman) of Sudbury, Mass.; a nephew, Zac Coile and his family (Diane Sullivan, Katherine and Emily Coile) of Washington, D.C.; and six cousins.
Early in life Paul was diagnosed with childhood aphasia, a condition that occurs when language centers of the brain are damaged. For unknown reasons, Paul did not develop the ability to speak. The greatest challenge of his life was also his greatest triumph. Supported by devoted parents, aided by skilled speech therapists, Paul learned to talk. In a process that spanned years and exceeded expectations, he gained functional speech. A speech impediment stayed with him for life, but he overcame profound disability to speak at all.
As Paul worked to gain speech, his developmental challenges made formal schooling difficult. For a short time he attended Fairfax County special ed classes. Later he went to live-away facilities geared to students with special needs. With age came behavioral and emotional issues recognized as being secondary and not uncommon to childhood aphasia. Paul’s happiest times were spent at home with his family in the DC area. Summers and holidays were special times shared with extended family in the Northern Neck. When his parents retired to Kilmarnock in 1985, Paul accompanied them. He had a ready smile for people he met out and about and loved to talk to anyone with the time and patience to chat.
The next goal for Paul was a move toward independent living. The family is forever grateful to the Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Community Services Board for the placement, case management and counseling support they provided to Paul for many years. More recently, Paul resided in group homes in the Richmond area.
Services will be private.
Final arrangements are being provided by Currie Funeral Home.