There has been a big party in heaven to welcome Bill Webber, where he's happy to be reunited with family and friends. William C. Webber was born January 15, 1933, in Weymouth, MA, to Charles Sumner Webber, MD, and Helen L. Clement Webber, RN. A new sibling for his 3 year old sister Nancy Jane Webber (Thompson).
Let’s put that year into perspective. 1933 was the worst year of the depression. Only 1 in 4 had a job and the average wage was $20 a week. The average new house cost $5,750; monthly rent might be $18. A new Plymouth cost about $450; a pound of ground beef, 11 cents.
That winter many US states hit record low temperatures and Oymyakon, USSR recorded -90 F. Tom Yawkey bought our beloved Red Sox for $1.2 million. The movie King Kong premiered, prohibition was repealed, the chocolate chip cookie and board game Monopoly were invented, and The Lone Ranger started what would be its 21-year run on the radio.
George V was the King of England, Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany, Mussolini was the Prime Minister of Italy and Herbert Hoover was our President. Famous people born this same year: Joan Collins, Larry King, Yoko Ono and Willie Nelson.
After his father's death on May 16, 1934, Bill's mother moved with Bill and his sister Nancy, three years older, to Maine where the children grew up. Bill loved sailing and fishing on Cobbosseeccontee with their Aunt Ruth. He graduated from Winthrop HS, class of 1952, with plans to go into animal husbandry.
Instead Bill became a medic in the Korean War and served in the Army Third Division, called the “Fire Brigade” due to their rapid response to crisis. After the war, he took advantage of the GI Bill of Rights to study accounting at Gates Business School. Later he accepted a position as a Maine State Auditor.
There isn’t a whole lot to tell you about Bill's childhood because he simply could not remember. When his head was split open in the war, doctors said he would be a vegetable. However, he and the Good Lord had a different plan. He learned to walk and talk all over again. If you saw him years later, the only visible sign of the trauma was a serious scar nicely covered by thick black hair, always slicked into place.
That was not the only time Bill almost died. Once he fell from a roof he was replacing on a relative's house s and walked away with only scratches from barbed wire and hay stubble. Oh, and there was that time with the chainsaw.
Bill and his then wife Sandy owned a commercial maple syrup business on Voter Hill in Farmington, Maine, winning “Best Maple in Maine” three years in a row before they stopped entering because participation was declining. He also raised strawberries commercially, kept honeybees until a bear had other plans, but that’s another story.
We who love him have been lucky that he was tough as he was, but also gentle. He loved family, friends, pets, stories, boats and scotch. He often had a contagious smile for someone who might have lost theirs or a story to share about adventures with friends like Mike Hersom in his younger years, or Fr. Rod Potter or maybe about blowing things up with his explosives expert friend Francis Filaroska, hunting, trapping or plowing snow.
Bill loved his friends and was always proud of his four children: Charles “Chuck” Sumner Webber, David “Chip” Michael Webber, Bruce Howard Webber and Sharron Clement Webber Halpert and his seven grandchildren, Daniel Michael Webber, Dylan Lucas Webber, Miriam Hope Webber, Briana Clement Webber, Aiden Nile Webber, Giacoby Sumner Halpert and Carson Solomon Halpert. We are very excited to meet his great grandchild this winter.
He loved them all and would tell them so regularly. He also leaves behind his beloved companion, Edna Beers, without whom we would have lost him a lot sooner. The list of family members would not be complete without including Shunk, Sheba, Lucky, Black and Buddy. If people were as loyal and loving as these dogs, our world would be an amazing place.
Bill sang with the SPBQSA (Barbershop Quartet) and enjoyed dancing. He was an avid Red Sox fan and Patriots fan. He was a member of the American Legion Post 132, the Korean War Veterans Assn. and Disabled American Veterans. He was actively involved in his church as a member of the Bishops Committee. He served on the Board of Directors for the North American Maple Syrup Council and was a founding member of the Mt. Blue Chordsman Barbershop chorus in Farmington, Maine.
For the last four years Bill had been a patient at Patriots Place at Togus, the VA hospital in Augusta, Maine. His family would like to thank the staff and volunteers for all their love and attention. We know they will miss his flirtatious banter and contagious smile.
Memorial gifts are suggested to be sent to the Travis Mills Foundation. This organization supports veterans combat injured veterans and their families. You can call them at 207-480-3490 or visit travismills.org.
If you want to honor him, help someone who needs to smile. Crack joke, lend a hand, pay them a compliment or just share a smile and think of Bill. Then raise a scotch, count your blessings, tell a story and smile as you think of him.