Don Lee Webb, 73, of Blue Ridge, VA passed away unexpectedly on October 13, 2019.
Born August 19, 1946, he was preceded in death by his parents, Ambler White Webb and Lillian Sublett Webb, stepmother Jeanne Vermillion Webb, and older brother, A. W. Webb, Jr.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 49 years, Mary Margaret, mother-in-law, Betty Tate, sisters-in-law, Rebecca Brooks and Jo Chisom (Greg), nieces, nephews, and cousins. He also is survived by his dear and special friend of more than 30 years, Louise Myers.
Mr. Webb, as he was known by most everyone, began working at age 6, helping as a bellhop, janitor, and desk clerk at the Huntsman Motel, in Roanoke. At age 16, he was hired by the Roanoke Dairy as a clerk. A year and a half later, he began clerking at Miller & Rhodes Department Store.
In 1968, after receiving a B.A. from Roanoke College, with a major in History and a minor in Psychology, Philosophy, and Religion, he began his 35-year career as a teacher and consultant with Roanoke City Schools.
In 1995, he became the Magnet School Coordinator for Roanoke City Schools. Mr. Webb wrote a Federal Grant proposal for the program, which earned an award of 6.1 million dollars. The Magnet School program coupled free market motivations to schooling, and incorporated a school currency, a marketplace, a store, and a café. Students learned about the availability of jobs and the consequences of economic choices.
He continued his formal education at the University of Virginia, Radford University, and Virginia Tech, completing many graduate courses in Education, as well as courses on such varied topics as Architecture and Cinema. He remained a life-long learner, reading on numerous topics, and almost daily listening to recorded lectures.
Before and during all the time that Mr. Webb worked as a teacher, he also worked for the Kroger Company. He was hired in September 1965, as a bag boy, and remained with the company for more than 53 years. He served the company in numerous roles, including Clerk, Customer Service Manager, and Engagement Trainer. He was responsible for implementing, coordinating, and completing the initial use of Computer Based Training modules with all store employees.
During the special assignment as the Engagement Trainer, he developed a training program that he presented to more than 800 Front End Associates in District C. His goal was to implement informative and motivational programs for Kroger associates to emphasize the necessity and varied aspects of world-class customer service. He often commented that this was the best job he ever had.
His careers with both Kroger and Roanoke City Schools were highly successful. In his work, he earned many awards of distinction, the most important being the respect and love of so many individuals who counted themselves as fortunate for having been taught by him and having worked side-by-side with him.
Mr. Webb was a mentor to many young people, and a father figure to some, seeing things in them that they often did not see in themselves. He changed the arc of the lives of many for the better.
He actively nurtured potential, diligence, aspiration, and imagination in those around him. When an individual earned his close friendship, he was always caring and supportive, offering a refuge in difficult times and providing emotional support. In return, many close to him readily offered the same friendship and love. He would say that his life was rich with experiences and memories.
Mr. Webb was a man with strong principles and an open mind. He appreciated the beauty in simplicity, and found humor in the absurd. He greatly enjoyed extraordinary pieces of artwork, coins, and stamps. He shared and savored fine food and wine, especially while in the company of friends who loved and laughed with him. His humor and writings were exceptional, bringing readers to tears with laughter.
He was hard to anger. He did not easily lose his temper or react negatively toward anyone, but instead chose to remain calm and rational. You always knew what to expect with Mr. Webb: calm patience, understanding, and encouragement. He never wavered in those things. He was generous with his time, his knowledge, and his wit. He loved talking to people, and he treated all persons with respect and dignity, regardless of their position. He helped people, often when they didn't even know it.
His compassion for animals was inspiring. He had an enduring love and a special soft spot in his heart for the pets in his life, rescuing and caring for dozens. For those who wish to contribute in his honor, please consider the Roanoke Valley SPCA, 1340 Baldwin Ave., N.E., Roanoke, VA 24012, and Angels of Assisi, 415 Campbell Ave., S.W., Roanoke, VA 24016.
Mrs. Webb is especially grateful for the love and kindness given so generously to her by Louise Myers, Bowen and Beth Houff, Jeff Mills, and Todd Cole. Your love enriched Don’s life and made him happy. We couldn’t ask for more.
An open gathering to celebrate the joy of Mr. Webb’s life will be held Friday, October 18, from 4 to 9 p.m., at The Hotel Roanoke Conference Center, 110 Shenandoah Ave., N.W., Roanoke, VA, 24016. You are invited to share your heart warming and humorous stories, letters, and photos of an incomparable life well-lived.