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Outgoing Spartanburg mayor receives Order of the Palmetto

Spartanburg City Council Mayor Junie White farewell

During a City Council meeting on Dec. 13, 2021, Mayor Junie White was presented with the Order of the Palmetto. Asia Rollins/staff

Spartanburg Mayor Junie White received the Order of the Palmetto and was lauded by local officials on Dec. 13 following his final City Council meeting.

White, who is retiring from public office after 12 years as mayor, was presented with the honor by state Reps. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers and Max T. Hyde, Jr. The Order of the Palmetto is billed as the highest civilian honor in South Carolina and is given at the discretion of the sitting governor to mark outstanding lifetime achievement.

“I’m going to miss the people,” White said. “We’ve got great employees in the city, and I’m going to miss them.”

White announced in June that he would not seek a fourth term. He was elected in November 2009 and re-elected in 2013 and 2017. He previously served as a councilman for District 4. A native of Cherokee County and a graduate of Gaffney High School, White served in the Navy from 1957 to 1961. He opened an Exxon service station in Spartanburg in 1964.

As mayor he said that it is important to “not be lazy, and pay attention to what’s been done and what has been said.”

District 5 councilman Jerome Rice was elected as the next mayor in November, and will take office in January.

“When I was first starting to get involved at the city as a resident, and then thinking about running myself, and then actually serving, one of the common things that I heard people talk about over and over again was what a servant's heart Junie had,” Councilwoman Meghan Smith said. "I think that has set such a good example for us on council and for future mayors to really be a giving person and generous with your time and the gifts you have."

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Follow Asia Rollins on Twitter at @asiarollins98.