Not a niche writer, she’s also wrote Civil War-era fiction, a book about herbs of the south, biographies, and a book about her and a fellow writer Milam McGraw Propst’s exploration of unusual places in Georgia.

White also developed talents as an accomplished public speaker, accomplished guitarist, and dedicated gardener, who did things with style, grace, and an intense love for friends and family, Friends said.

“She reminded me of a lady who could have played ‘Steel Magnolias’ in a variety of roles,” said Jolley.

She also has a quirky side.

“We talked once and she brought beef jerky and moon pies with her,” said Propst. “Whenever someone asked an interesting question that we were having fun with, we tossed them a beef jerky or a cake.”

Jaclyn Weldon White, 73, died of cancer on June 19. She leaves behind the children Shannon McDonald, Carl Dean White Jr. and Kimberly Ammons, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Decades ago she cut her writing teeth for newspapers and magazines. On one assignment, said Propst, the police accompanied them during surveillance. The incident led her to attend the police academy in the late 1970s.

After six years as a patrol officer and detective with the Gwinnett County Police Department and 16 years as a juvenile court administrator, she retired and focused on her writing. She worked in a home office piled high with piles of papers, said stepson Dean White.

In an interview on the “Classic City Crime” podcast, she spoke of a remarkable turning point.

“I didn’t plan to write about true crimes, but one day I went to lunch with one of our lawyers and a prosecutor in the prosecution. It had been a lazy week and we were all trying to figure out what we could do to stop working for Gwinnett County. Someone suggested we write a book. “


Writer Jaclyn Weldon White (L) speaks to a group of readers at the 2007 Gwinnett Reading Festival. TAMI CHAPPELL / Special

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

Her determination to write became Whisper to the Black Candle, the true story of a popular Macon businesswoman who was charged in the 1950s with the poisoning of two husbands, a mother-in-law and their nine-year-old daughter.

Other books followed, including her latest, Pure Evil, which followed a woman who was madly chaos in central Georgia in the 1970s. Fascinated by organized crime, the woman has deceived two “hit men” into the murders of her ex-husband and his new bride.

“The simple word (for her style) was clear. She didn’t question you what she wrote, ”Jolley said.

Lisa Doster, a close friend and artist, affirmed this sense of clarity and said, “You could almost feel the sultry heat of Macon, as she wrote.”

Friends and family describe her as gentle, generous, and radiant – a sharp contrast to some of the stark, disturbing stories she put on paper.

Doster said she had a sick dog that needed an expensive specialized procedure. White, an animal activist, hired Doster to paint several portraits of her dogs in order to provide Doster with the income she needed to get the veterinary assistance.

White was part of a close-knit group of four writers who met as often as the schedule would allow to talk about writing and toss ideas back and forth. White provided valuable encouragement, said Provost.

She believes White channeled the heartache over the loss of her husband, former Gwinnett County Police Chief Carl White, and a daughter into creativity.

She was recognized as Georgia Writer of the Year, but friends said she avoided the limelight.

“She took the love of her job and made it something everyone knows,” said Dean White. “She was very passionate about it.”