Henry Thomas “Toby” Webb, Jr. was born December 20, 1920, in Tarboro, NC, to Henry T. Webb and Mary Sorey Webb. He died peacefully on November 9, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was the eldest of four siblings, all of whom preceded him in death.
Toby graduated from Tarboro High School and attended Fork Union Military Academy before entering UNC-Chapel Hill where he was on the football team. Upon graduation in 1943, he entered the United States Marine Corps at Parris Island. After completing OCS at Quantico in the fall of 1943, he saw active combat duty in the Pacific Theater during World War II in 1944 on the island of Guam, and he remained on active duty until after the war’s end. He later retired from the United States Marine Corps Reserves as a Captain in 1956.
He married Mary Elizabeth Foster, his beloved wife of 61 years, in May 1945 in Tarboro. After the war they returned to Chapel Hill where he earned his Masters Degree and was a graduate assistant on the football team. He remained a loyal Tar Heel throughout his life.
In the fall of 1947 he began a teaching and coaching career at Albemarle High School where his teams had a combined record of 103-18-6 and won several conference and state championships. He was the victorious head coach of the 1954 high school East-West All-Star Game and the 1958 Shrine Bowl. He was inducted into the NC High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Association’s annual Coach of the Year awards are named for him. He was the first inductee into the Stanly County Sports Hall of Fame in 1989. Though he retired from coaching at age 38, until his death he cherished continuing relationships with “his boys” who always referred to him as “Coach.”
In 1959 he became the first Principal of Albemarle Junior High School, then was Principal of Albemarle Senior High School, and in 1966 became Superintendent of Albemarle City Schools where he served until his retirement. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Pfeiffer University in 1976.
In retirement, Toby was actively involved in Stanly Community College, serving on its Board for over 30 years. The campus student center is named in his honor. He was particularly proud of the college’s Webb Scholars Program and the recipients of scholarships under it. He was actively involved in the Jaycees and Lion’s Club, and he also served as head of the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce. In 2010, the Governor bestowed the Order of the Long Leaf Pine to Toby for his service to Stanly County and North Carolina.
He was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Albemarle for over 60 years, serving as a Sunday School teacher, deacon, elder, and Presbytery and NC Synod representative. For over 50 years he was a member of and cook for the church’s Men’s Prayer Breakfast which was renamed the H.T. Webb, Jr. Men’s Prayer Breakfast on his 90th birthday.
Throughout his life, Coach enjoyed competitive sports and was fortunate to compete on the golf course until almost 90 years of age. His golf course etiquette left a memorable impression on all those who were fortunate enough to play with him, and he remains the only member of Badin County Club known to have scored a hole-in-one by ricochet off a utility pole.
His later years were filled with wonderful times with his grandsons and great grandchildren. He had unique bonds with his great-grandchildren, providing each of them with a special nickname while they all referred to him as “Coach.”
Coach had a very engaging personality and loved to regale others with his stories. He was well known for his depression-era frugality, teasing those he loved, and wearing his emotions on his sleeve.
Toby is survived by his son, H. Thomas Webb III (Kathryn Heath), daughter Mary Foster Webb Lathan (Bill), grandsons William R. Lathan III (Anne Marie), Tobin Webb Lathan (Tracy), Samuel Foster Lathan (Jennings), step-granddaughter Anna Taylor Norman, step-grandson Thomas Heath Norman (Missy), and ten great-grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank Mary Mewborn who was a wonderful, compassionate care-taker for Coach.
Following a private family burial with full military honors in the town he deeply loved, a celebration of Toby’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at First Presbyterian Church, 126 West North Street, Albemarle, NC, officiated by Rev. Elizabeth Ayscue. Honorary pallbearers will be members of his football teams and the Men’s Prayer Breakfast.
The family will receive friends after the service at a luncheon reception in the church gymnasium.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish to do so may make contributions to First Presbyterian Church of Albemarle, PO Box 1578, Albemarle, NC 28002, or the charity of ones’ choice.
Hartell Funeral Home of Albemarle is respectfully serving the Webb family.