Retired state collegiate director Joe Webb dies at 90

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Joe H. Webb, who served as state director of the Florida Baptist Convention’s Student Department (now Collegiate Ministries) from 1958 until his retirement in 1990, died Friday, May 13, 2016 in Tallahassee while under hospice care. Webb, age 90, died of complications from Alzheimer’s.

A celebration of his life will be held Tuesday, May 17 at 11:30 a.m. at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Visitation begins at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Prior to being named state director, the Mississippi native served as campus minister at the University of Florida between 1956 and 1958; and as the South-Georgia area Baptist Student Union director from 1954-1956.

During his 34-year tenure the ministry of the Florida Baptist student department grew from five major universities to over 45 campuses from Key West to Pensacola. When he retired, the Baptist Campus Ministry included 11 full-time BCM directors and 35 part-time directors; and six permanent student center buildings.

Tony Olesky, who serves as BCM director in Pensacola, was hired by Webb in 1986 to lead the campus ministry there.

“Joe Webb faithfully served Florida Baptists and impacted many lives during his lengthy time in ministry.

“He allowed me the opportunity to use my gifts, talents, passions and experiences to build and grow the campus ministries in Pensacola. For this, I am extremely grateful,” recalled Olesky.

“He also created a real ‘family’ community among all the BCM directors and their spouses. The Annual Director-Spouse retreat was something all of us looked forward to each year. We worked hard all year so this was a great time to relax, laugh, rest with no agenda or any ministry business,” Olesky added.

For those who had the joy of knowing Joe, we have nothing but great memories,” he said.

Webb was a graduate of Mississippi State University and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He received an honorary doctor of divinity from Stetson University in 1990.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy.  He is survived by two daughters, Jeanne Webb Hancock and Kathy Webb Waller, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention, May 16, 2016

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