WEBB, WILLIAM P., 99
Ocala - William P. Webb, known endearingly by his family members and friends variously as, "Will", "Uncle Will" and "Uncle Willie", passed away on Saturday, September 1, 2012.
Will was to be celebrated on Sunday, September 2, 2012 for his 100th birthday milestone, anticipated just three days after his untimely passing. His advanced age notwithstanding, Will had always lived independently and his death was not expected at this time. The ceremony was held as planned and instead became a memorial celebration of Will's long and full life, having lived all but three days of his 100th year.
Nearly 100 friends and family members, who traveled from a number of northeast, east coast, mid-west and southern states, attended the event. The celebration was held at the Ocala Elks' Lodge on September 2, 2012. Included among those attending were his sister, Betty Doyle Brogdon (Naples, formerly of Ocala) and brother, Wallace Webb (Dunedin) and his wife Alma; along with the majority of his 18 nieces and nephews; as well as many of their spouses, and great and great-great nieces and nephews. His siblings' family names which were represented at the celebration included Kennedy and Doyle, in addition to Webb; first generation married family surnames which were represented included Ayer, Carlton, Cook, Duffel, Hodges, Putnam, Shealy, Slay and Voge. Surnames of cousins' descendants included Belote and Edwards.
Will Webb was born September 4, 1912 in Lakeland, Florida, where he graduated from high school. He attended the University of Florida
, where he worked in the University library. It was there that he further developed what would become his lifelong interest in reading and a broad knowledge of literature, history, botany, antiques and a gift for story-telling.
With a career in corporate accounting and, later, early generation computer applications with the railroad industry (Southern Railway), Will lived his working life in Washington, D.C., as well as Atlanta, Georgia. His career and work-connected friendships, including many years with his long-time companion, Vic Paturel - combined with a remarkably sharp memory and attention to detail - provided the basis for many of his humorous and entertaining stories.
Eulogies were given by a number of family members and friends who reflected on many of Will's endearing traits, including: a generous spirit, kind soul, quick smile and near-constant twinkle in his eye; his keen memory and quick and active mind, which was clear to his last day of life; his genuine love for and patience with children; his story-telling abilities which endeared him to children and adults alike; his interest and knowledge of antique furniture and china; his trademark, "rooster theme" antique collection, as well as many collectibles with the same theme; and- reflecting that love for family was his most important interest- and a perfect record of remembering family members' birthdays with mailed birthday letters and cards (and in later years, 'happy birthday wishes' with a rooster icon sent by e-mails).
A "Happy Birthday" card had been sent to Will from the White House. It included a congratulatory message sent in anticipation of the birthday event. It was signed by the President and First Lady of the United States, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. The card's message was read to all those in attendance.
Will retired to Ocala in 1978, where his parents had resided during their retirement. Ocala was also where his sister, Betty, lived at the time; and was where his older brother, Dr. Herbert Webb (deceased) also lived; and is where his sister-in-law, Muriel Webb, still resides.
Will always enjoyed an active retirement life, energetically pursuing an interest in family connections, genealogy and associated travel and personal computer use. Will established direct lineage relationship to ancestors who served the U.S. military, both in the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War; and established that his paternal great-grandfather, John F. Webb, was one of the Florida pioneer delegates to the 1838-1839 Constitution and was a signer of the Florida Constitution, meeting the criteria for designation of all of his great-grandfather's descendants as Florida Pioneer Descendants.
Will has had the good fortune of always living independently and, as an avid exercise walker, was often seen walking the boundary limits of the city, miles from his residence. His use of his car in his later years was limited to trips to the library and homes of his relatives in Ocala.
A number of stories about Will were shared during his birth-day party, including ones touching on his love for walking and joy in remaining physically active (including bike-riding in his late 80's). There was an occasion in 1996, when, at age 84, he drove his declining early model Ford to Don's Garage to see about a repair. He was told that, unfortunately, the engine had reached such a state of use that it would cost more to fix than the vehicle was worth; but that $80 could be offered for the car as junk. Hearing that report, Will thanked the service manager for the offer and, rather than pay the cost of a repair, accepted the proposal without hesitation. He declined an offer to be pro-vided with a courtesy transportation back to his residence. In-stead, Will walked the nearly three mile distance back to his home. Will never bought another car, reasoning that in view of his limited local destinations, he could walk to wherever he needed to go.
Will Webb will always be remembered by his family and friends as being a truly remarkable, accomplished, generous and very lovable man.