Ernest Jack Webster Jr.
Ernest Jack Webster Jr., 93, died peacefully on August 4th, 2013 surrounded by family. He was born on June 30, 1920, in Kansas City, MO. He resided in Springfield for over 60 years. Jack lived in Kansas City, MO and Bartlesville, OK from his birth until leaving for military service.
He served in the United States Army
in World War II
. Jack entered the Service out of Oklahoma University as an ROTC Lieutenant. One of the commanding officers in Jack's battalion was lost shortly after going ashore. He was given a field promotion to Captain, and served most of his tour of duty as Executive Officer over the three firing batteries (A, B, and C) of the 961st Field Artillery Battalion. The U.S. Army got a bargain! His promotion was never official until the war was close to being over. Jack performed Captain's duty for Lieutenant's pay. He narrowly missed becoming a statistic, while scouting ahead of his unit, looking for a good forward observation post. A brave soldier, he single handedly "mixed it up" with a squad of retreating Germans he encountered. One of them launched a Panzer Faust anti-tank rocket at him that exploded in the doorway of a church where he was positioned. Jack served our country with honor and attended and hosted reunions of his battalion for decades afterwards. He was reticent to share many of the details of his service but always spoke fondly and tearfully of his men and their service/courage. Not without the good times, he managed to finish his tour of duty in Paris alongside his first cousin Richard Webster Evans, who ran the USO motor pool from a flat near the Arc D'Triomphe. After WW II, Jack worked as district salesman for Phillips Petroleum before buying out Phillips' consignee in Quincy, IL in 1949. Jack moved the company to Springfield, MO in 1952 and grew it into a multi-branded diversified petroleum marketing company with service stations, convenience stores, LP gas distribution producing significant wholesale and retail fuel sales. Consolidation during the mid 90's saw the business evolve into a commercial real estate development and operating concern.
Among many business interests, Jack, his business colleagues and family also operated clothing stores, Western Auto variety stores, Pic-N-Pay markets, and Double J Ranches where they were fore-runners in high performance cattle, raising purebred Simmental. Many will remember the Round-Ups at the Ranch! He was a long term Board Member of several public companies including UMB Financial/United Missouri Bank, Adams Resources and Energy, Inc. and Mid-America Century Life Insurance Co. He was an active member of the National Petroleum Marketers Association and Past President of the Missouri Oil Jobbers Association. Jack was passionate about his patriotism and was active in local, state and national politics. He supported the candidacy of many candidates and was particularly vocal in his support of Stuart Symington, Warren Hearns and Thomas Eagleton. He was also active in the Abou Ben Adhem, Shrine of North America, serving as Past Potentate and Past Director of the Royal Order of Jesters. He shared his views by contributing a regular column with the Springfield News-Leader in the 1980's. He also served many years on the Missouri State Board of Education.
Jack was passionate about many things revolving around friends and family. His personal interests were many and quite varied. He loved travel and was his own pilot. He loved to play hand ball and racquetball as well as tennis and snow skiing.
Jack was preceded in death by his first wife, Virginia Kirkpatrick Webster, his parents, Ernest Jack Webster and Nan Owens Webster and his beloved first cousin, R. W. Evans of Kansas City. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Lathrop Webster, his ex-wife Anna Calbert Webster, his children, Cyndi Berry (Troy), Mary Nan Knowlton (Norman), E. Jack Webster III, Tom Webster (Julie), all of Springfield, and Tim Webster (Kristin) of Mission Hills, Kansas, and step daughters, Tanaine Kulich (Jim) of Columbia, Mo. and Yvette Eby (Scott) of Republic, MO. and grandchildren (Brian Love, Jeffrey Love, Joseph Love, Kyle Love, EJ Webster IV, Travis Webster, Thomas Webster, Aubrey Webster, Samuel Webster, Anna Kate Webster, Grace Webster and Tommy Webster), two step grand-children (Dustin and Katy Eby) and great grand-children (Connor and Sidney Love).
Services for Ernest Jack Webster will be at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at Greenlawn Funeral Home East. Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. Tuesday, August 6, 2013 in the funeral home.
The family requests memorials (in lieu of flowers) be made to: St. Judes's Childrens Hospital 301 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38103 or
3322 South Campbell Suite P Springfield, MO 65807. Online condolences may be left at www.greenlawnfuneralhome.com