Don Webb, SFS Distinguished Service Award, 1939-2012
Published On: 9/17/2012
Don Webb, SFS member, aquatic entomologist, musician, 1939-2012
Don Webb, a longtime member of SFS, passed away on Aug 5, 2012 at age 73. Don, a native of Brandon, Manitoba, received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Manitoba and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He was a Senior Professional Scientist/Insect Systematist at the Illinois Natural History Survey for over 40 years and was affiliated with several departments at the University of Illinois. Don pursued his interests in systematics and ecology of aquatic, semi-aquatic, and terrestrial insects all over the world and authored and co-authored more than 90 journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, and monographs.
Don served SFS as Chair of the Literature Review Committee for nearly 30 years and, in collaboration with Ron Hellenthal, was responsible for converting the annual bibliography to a searchable database. In 1999, Don received the NABS Distinguished Service Award for his years of service to the society. Don was one of the founders and longtime leaders of the meeting “jam sessions” that began some time in the early 1970’s and continue to this day. As Rosemary Mackay wrote in her history of NABS, Don was usually the “first to arrive and last to leave” the jams which occasionally went on all night. His mellow baritone voice was always prominent in these sessions where he performed familiar folk and occasional surprise tunes like “I’m Going to Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home”. He took special delight in directing this tune to another of the regulars in the jam. Don liked to come across as a crusty curmudgeon but he always had a twinkle in his eye to let everyone know that it was all in good fun. Don Webb was one of those unique characters we are not likely to see pass our way again. He will be sorely missed by his SFS friends.
Please consider donations in Don’s honor to the John Bouseman INHS Library Endowment Fund (1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820), Don’s obituary can be seen on the Urbana News-Gazette; www.news-gazette.com/obituaries/2012-09-09/donald-webb.html.
Written by Dr. Fred Benfield, Virginia Tech
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