Funeral services were held in Lexington Tuesday for former Letcher County resident Donald Woodford Webb Sr.
Webb, a retired Lexington attorney and real estate developer, was the husband of Julie Howser Webb. He died on July 19 of complications from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) disease. Webb lived in Vero Beach, Florida. He was 74.
Webb was born in Hazard on July 2, 1939 to the late Woodford Webb and Elizabeth Combs Webb. Webb was raised in a coal mining camp then known as Hot Spot, near Whitesburg. After graduating from Whitesburg High School in 1956, he attended Virginia Military Institute and graduated from Georgetown College in 1960. He was married to Julie Howser Webb in 1964 in Frankfort.
Webb joined the Kentucky Department of Economic Development, acquiring extensive experience in community and industrial development through active participation in statewide development programs. He attended the University of Kentucky College of Law earning a JD degree in 1967. During this period, he retained his position as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of that Department. He served in the Kentucky National Guard.
In June 1967, Webb was named as Special Assistant on the White House staff in Washington DC, where he served as legal advisor to the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, investigating riots in various cities throughout the nation. Upon completion of this assignment in 1968, Webb returned to Kentucky where he co-directed the unsuccessful campaign of Katherine Peden for the United States Senate.
Webb practiced law with the Louisville firm of Handmaker, Weber & Meyer until 1971, when he and his brother, Dudley, formed a law partnership in Lexington. Concurrently, the two brothers began a real estate involvement. In 1979, this firm became The Webb Companies, a consolidation of their real estate development, design, finance, legal, construction, marketing, leasing, brokerage, property management, and ancillary functions. The Webbs developed nearly 5.5 million square feet of office, warehouse, residential and shopping center buildings in Fayette County with assessed values of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Webb projects literally changed the face of downtown Lexington with their office towers, specialty centers and condominiums. The Webb Companies was recognized as the nation’s third largest diversified real estate developer in 1986. It developed real estate projects in more than 20 American cities.
In 1979, Webb, along with Dr. Ed Nighbert, Dudley Webb and thirtyeight Lexington physicians, was a founder of the Lexington Surgery Center, one of the nation’s early freestanding outpatient surgery centers. This facility became the flagship of Surgical Care Affiliates prior to its acquisition by Health South. Mr. Webb served on the Board of Surgical Care Affiliates.
Donald Webb had many civic interests in Lexington and Kentucky. He served on the boards of the Kentucky Economic Development Corporation, the Central Kentucky Blood Center, the Fayette County Medical Society Foundation, Inc., the Kentucky Horse Park Commission, Leadership Kentucky, American Cancer Society, “The Nest” Child Abuse Center, the Lexington Economic Development Commission, Lexington United, the Bluegrass Association for Retarded Citizens, Humana Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Triangle Foundation, Fund for the Arts, First Security National Bank and Trust, and was the primary founder of the Lexington Trolley Company and the Downtown Lexington Corporation.
Webb served as Chairman of the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Fayette County Democratic Party and as Kentucky Chairman of the American Cancer Society.
Webb served on the Board of Directors of the University of Kentucky Alumni Association, as a member of the Visiting Committee of the University of Kentucky College of Law, as the Director of the Business Partnership Foundation of the Kentucky College of Business and Economics, was a UK Fellow and was a former Director of the Kappa Alpha Order Education Foundation. He was formerly a member of the Lexington Club, Lexington Country Club, Vero Beach Country Club, Quail Valley River Club and the John’s Island Club. Professional affiliations included the Fayette County, Kentucky and American Bar Associations.
In addition to his wife, Webb is survived by a son and daughter-inlaw, Donald Woodford Webb Jr. and Kelli Greer Webb; a grandson, Donald Woodford Webb III; a granddaughter, Greer Gabrielle Webb; his mother, Elizabeth “Dot” Combs Webb; a brother, Ralph Dudley Webb (Marla); two sisters, Debbie Ann Howard (Danny) of Harlan and Judy W. Lowry of Lexington; seven nieces and nephews, Seth Howard and Whitney Howard; Betsy Lowry and Carwell Gardener, Jr.; and Alex, Will and Ellie Webb. He was preceded in death by his father, Woodford Webb, formerly of Whitesburg.
Honorary bearers include Bill Bell, Ken Brandenberg, Bill Combs, Tim Cone, L.D. Gorman, Phil Greer, Charlie Grote, Ralph Hacker, Joe Hall, Leonard Hamilton, Glenn Hoskins, Ed Houlihan, Don Johnson, Vergil Kelly, Mike Malloy, Greg Milward, Ed Nighbert, David Price, John Rodgers, Frank Sadler, William B. Stratton, Gene Strong, Charles Ward, Bill Warner and Elmer Whitaker.
Funeral services were held at Calvary Baptist Church in Lexington. Memorial contributions are suggested to the following charitable organizations: Galilean Home Ministries, P.O. Box 880, Liberty KY 42539; Hospice of the Bluegrass, 2312 Alexandria Drive, Lexington, KY 40504; and VNA Hospice, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach FL 32960.