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Family and friends honor the life of longest serving councilman for District 2

Rev. Joe Webb Sr. died on Saturday at the age of 86.

SAN ANTONIO — Vincent Webb holds a picture of his father in his hand. It's a sepia photograph, and shows a man with a thin mustache and a smile that extends to his eyes.

Vincent and his older siblings laugh as they remember stories about their father, Rev. Joe Webb Sr.--trips to Mathis after church as children and when finally figured out how to send group texts.

Webb Sr., the longest serving councilman in San Antonio’s District 2, died on Saturday following complications of kidney failure. He was 86.

Before becoming a San Antonio legend, Webb Sr. was a father.

"My dad was a very loving man, very caring, always giving, gave from his heart," his son, Joe Webb Jr., said.

His children describe him as a religious man, who loved spending time with family, and never said no to a game of golf.

"He was just a giant. I mean, he he just he held everything together," Linda Stephens, his daughter, said.

Stephens said Webb was born in Mathis in 1935, and raised in Beeville. He also spent some time with family in San Antonio.

In 1957, Webb moved back to San Antonio to work for the YMCA. During that time, he attended San Antonio College and St. Mary's University.

More than ten years later, Webb became the first African American manager at HEB for several stores, most notably, HEB's first store and the eastside HEB flagship on N. New Braunfels.

Vincent said his father was a man who cared for his community, and knew the importance of good communication.

"He didn't care what it was, he was gonna do it. If it needed to be done, he's gonna do it," Vincent said.

His family said Webb knew influential people in San Antonio as a result of his employment in the East side, and were impressed by his communication skills. He decided to run for city council and won. It was a position he stayed in from 1977 to 1991.

"The East Side changed fundamentally for the better under Joe Webb's leadership. For those 14 years, it received better streets, better schools, better policing, better social services, better community centers, more activity, and big investments," Henry Cisneros, former mayor of San Antonio, said. 

Cisneros said he and Webb Sr. worked together while Cisneros served in city council and as mayor. He said the two remained close and said Webb Sr. was one of his favorite people. He described him as an excellent leader.

"Sometimes a person's greatest legacy is not a physical building or a physical project, but it is creating a spirit of leadership and involvement," Cisneros said. "And what Joe did was he brought a lot of young people into it because he was himself young at heart."

While in office, Webb used his position for change, also helping to secure the Alamo Dome and bring improvements to the East side. Vincent said his father played a large part in building the community.

County Judge Nelson Wolff also worked with Webb while serving on city council, then as mayor. Wolff said Webb's legacy can't be replicated.

"He served it for 14 years and nobody's even come close to that record," Wolff said.

Vincent said he wants the community to remember his father as a hard worker, working even until he got sick. But what they’ll miss the most is getting to speak with their father who so full of wisdom.

"He took time for each one of us and put it and pulled us always together. We always had to be together as a family," Stephens said.

In 1992, The City of San Antonio changed the name of the Durango Bridge to  the Joe Webb Bridge. 

Councilman Alan Warrick II awarded Joe Webb Sr. the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 and in 2017, the Bexar County Historical Society interviewed and entered his biography into their official database. Joe Webb Sr. was a Minister of the Gospel, a lifetime member of the NAACP, and a Grand Master of the Masonic Masons.

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