Indulge, if you will, a few paragraphs to bid a fond farewell to Willis Webb, a former publisher, former editor at the Fredericksburg Radio Post and columnist for about 30 community newspapers after his retirement. Willis died on July 18 after a courageous battle with cancer.
During his time in Fredericksburg in the 1980s, Willis had a sometimes less than warm welcome. He said a few old-timers screamed “Ausländer!” in his face. But Willis could hold his own and he admitted having a temper in his younger days, so he likely gave as well as he got. He remembered he and his wife, Julie, taking long drives on the scenic Willow City Loop to decompress, and like everyone, falling in love with the Hill Country.
Joe Kammlah worked for Willis at the Radio Post. “Willis was not just a great journalist, but a true friend to Diane and me,” Joe said.
Willis also was a personal friend of my father, Bill Cooke. They always enjoyed each other’s company at press conventions, and as the years went on, many of us would find ourselves crowded around my dad and Willis to learn what we could from two lions of our profession, along with several other colorful characters. Willis would surprise us every now and then with a call or an email about a column or story one of us had written, and it was always encouraging to know he approved. (He also put me in my place when he didn’t approve, but in an almost fatherly way.)
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