Lt. Col. George Walton Webb, P.E., long-time professor at Tulane University and widower of Dorothy Maness Webb, passed away peacefully at his home in Houston on October 14, 2012. He was 89. |
George was born in July 1923 and raised in Uniontown, Alabama. He was the youngest of four children of Robert Leonidas Webb and Ethel Carr Webb. After their deaths, he was raised by his aunt and stepmother Sallie Carr along with her sister Annie Kathleen Carr and brother John Lilburn Carr. He was the grandson of Rev. George Walton Webb and Martha Elizabeth Williams Webb of Thomaston and Charles Christian Carr and Mary Jane Fox Carr of Uniontown.
George was an Eagle Scout and a graduate of Uniontown High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1943 at the University of Alabama, where he served in Army R.O.T.C. and was inducted into Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, Eta Kappa Nu electrical engineering honor society and Phi Delta Theta fraternity. George was a lifelong fan of Alabama football and was happy to see the Crimson Tide reclaim the national championship this past January.
George served in the U.S. Army in World War II. After completing Engineer Officer Candidate School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and specialist training at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, George served as a lieutenant in the 3061st Engineer Company, first at Fort Lewis, Washington, then in France and Belgium in the Rhineland Campaign, and finally in Luzon in the Philippines. His wartime decorations include the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with bronze service star, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with bronze service star, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and Philippine Liberation Ribbon. After leaving active duty George continued to serve with the Corps of Engineers in the Army Reserve, from which he retired in 1983 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was a member of The Retired Officers Association (now the Military Officers Association of America).
After the war George earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at Columbia University in 1947. Upon graduation he joined the electrical engineering faculty at Alabama, where he taught from 1947-1951. He then spent five years in industry, first as chief of the Electric Power Laboratory at the U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Laboratory (ERDL) at Fort Belvoir from 1951-1953, and then as a design engineer in the Power Transformer Department of General Electric in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, from 1953-1956.
In 1956 George began a 37-year career at Tulane University in New Orleans as a professor of electrical engineering. A respected and popular teacher, he was known for teaching practical courses, especially the electric machinery lab; for his bow ties (since neckties would be dangerous around rotating machinery); and for his many jokes, which he would sometimes try out on his family at the dinner table before using in class. George served on several university committees including traffic and student affairs. He was named an honorary member of the Tulane Alumni Association in 1981 and appointed professor emeritus in 1988.
In parallel with his Tulane career, George worked as a consulting engineer for Denson Engineers and later Davies Engineering (now Excel USA) designing electrical systems for industrial installations, including many offshore structures. He also served as an investigator and expert witness in over one hundred electrical fire and accident cases. George was a registered Professional Engineer in Louisiana and a member of the Louisiana Engineering Society. He was a Senior Life Member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), served on the Electrical Code Committee of the New Orleans Section, and was a member of the Power Engineering and Industrial Applications societies.
In 1964 George married Dorothy Ann Maness Jones, widow of William Moore Jones. George and Dorothy raised two children, both of whom settled in Houston as adults. George retired from Tulane in 1993 and moved with Dorothy to Houston in 1995. There he served for several years as a volunteer with the Retired Activities Office for military retirees.
George was an informal man with a keen though eccentric sense of humor and a deep loyalty to his country, family and friends. He had a lifelong passion for his workshop and home projects and for puzzles of all kinds, which he continued to enjoy until earlier this year.
George was predeceased by his siblings Robert Leonidas Webb Jr. in California, Jane Fox Webb Powe in Alabama and Charles Carr Webb in Texas; his son-in-law Paul L. Crist in Houston; and his beloved wife Dorothy. He is survived by his daughter Ann Elizabeth Webb, granddaughter Elizabeth Grace Crist, son George Walton Webb III and daughter-in-law Susannah Koontz Webb in Houston and by his nephews, grand-nephews and grand-nieces in Texas, Alabama and California. The family extends profound thanks to the staff of CareTemps adult care agency and Hospice Compassus, who made it possible for George to spend his last months at home and in comfort.
George will be buried with military honors at Houston National Cemetery on Friday, October 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM. The family will receive visitors Thursday evening, October 25, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM at Levy Funeral Directors, 4225 Bissonnet, Bellaire, Texas 77401, (713) 660-6633.
In lieu of flowers, donations in George's memory may be made to the Consortium on Aging, UT Health Science Center at Houston, 7000 Fannin St, UCT-1703, Houston, Texas 77030, (713) 500-5164, http://www.uthouston.edu/aging/donors.htm; or to a
Published in Houston Chronicle from Oct. 17 to Oct. 25, 2012