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Dr. W. Donald Webb


1935 - 2015
(news article) Dr. W. Donald Webb, an emergency physician who salved wounds and saved lives at Toledo Hospital and was a partner in one of the first urgent-care centers, died July 13 at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township. He was 79.

He'd been in ill health, especially since April, said his wife, Marcie.

Dr. Webb of Whitehouse retired in 2006 from what is now ProMedica Toledo Hospital, where for decades he worked in the emergency room.

"He always said it was 95 percent boredom and 5 percent sheer terror," his wife said. "He loved procedures. He loved the camaraderie too. He was a very good diagnostician. He was quick and efficient and got things done."

He'd worked every shift around the clock - mostly day shift as he closed his career - and had a week off for every week he worked.

He joined Maumee Urgent Care Center in the early 1980s and became a partner in the venture with Dr. Gary McBride. They'd met when Dr. McBride was a resident on an emergency medicine rotation at Toledo and Dr. Webb was the attending physician. Later they became associates in the medical group contracted to run the Toledo ER.

At the urgent-care center, Dr. Webb recruited and oversaw doctors and ensured patients received proper care.

"He was a good teacher. He was a great physician. He was a top-notch emergency doctor," Dr. McBride said.

They sold their interest in the urgent-care center in 1999.

William Donald Webb was born Aug. 24, 1935, in Mansfield, Ohio, to Mary and Charles Webb. His father was a Standard Oil executive, and so he lived in Cleveland until age 12 and then in Toledo for several years afterward, during which he attended DeVeaux School. After another move, he attended and then graduated from Shaker Heights [Ohio] High School.

As a sophomore at Ohio Wesleyan University, he joined the Air Force. He was told he could study German, which he'd taken in high school. Instead, in that post-Korean War era, he was sent to Yale University to learn Mandarin Chinese and was stationed in Taiwan, seat of the Republic of China and the only Chinese government then recognized by the United States.

Other U.S. airmen with similar training on Taiwan had their ears trained on radio broadcasts from the mainland and the People's Republic of China.

"He was very fortunate in that his duties involved interpreting - for the officers and taking the officers' wives shopping," his wife said.

He and his wife backpacked in China about eight years ago, and some of his Mandarin from a half century earlier returned.

"He could get us a taxi cab and get us to a hotel and order dinner," his wife said.

After the Air Force, he completed premedicine studies at Ohio Wesleyan. He received his medical degree from Ohio State University and had general surgery and vascular surgery residencies at Indiana University. Afterward, he practiced surgery for a time in his mother's hometown of Pulaski, Va.

"He was a guy who was interested in a lot of things," Dr. McBride said. "The world of thoracic and vascular surgery was kind of rough and tumble in those days, and he found stability in emergency medicine."

He was a nature lover, enjoyed travels to Mexico and the Caribbean, and took up backpacking at age 62. He liked to cook, with Japanese and Indian cuisine his specialties.

He was a student of history, particularly of the U.S. Civil War, but also read fiction. He delighted in language and worked crossword puzzles. Euphemisms and puns found their way into his jokes.

"He was extremely smart, and he had a distinct sense of humor," his wife said.

His week-on, week-off emergency room schedule appealed to his children as they were growing up, stepson Tony Siciliano said, recalling the drives to soccer practice and other activities. Years later, he remained close and supportive.

"For him, that word 'step' was never part of it. It was the real thing for him," Mr. Siciliano said.

Dr. Webb was formerly married to the late Shirley Webb and to Patricia and Linda Webb.

Surviving are his wife, Marcie, whom he married in August, 1994; daughter, Jennifer Rodriguez; son, Michael Webb; stepsons, Tony Siciliano and John Gill; stepdaughter, Darcy Gill; brother, Charles, and seven grandchildren.

The family will receive visitors after 10 a.m. today in St. Clare Commons, Perrysburg, where he became a resident in April. Memorial services are to begin at 11:30 a.m. The family suggests tributes to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Toledo.

Staff writer Jillian Kravatz contributed to this report.

This is a news story written by Blade Staff Writer Mark Zaborney. Contact him at: [email protected] or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Aug. 1, 2015
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