Civic leader dies during surgery

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : July 27, 2013

Steve Webster

Steve Webster

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Area leaders are mourning the death of a civic leader and supporter of The Library at Cedar Creek Lake.
The death of Steve Webster, 70, came as a shock to many Wednesday. He was undergoing cardiovascular surgery in Tyler, following a lengthy medical treatment for an infection and died July 24, 2013. His wife, Barbara, and their three daughters received the news in the hospital waiting room.
A memorial service is planned for the near future. No funeral service will be held. He was born Sept. 5, 1942.
Webster began serving on the Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation in 2006, and has been board president since 2007. He and his wife were also longtime library patrons and most recently donated new carpeting and tile as part of its renovation project. A big thank you sign to the couple is posted at the entrance to the library in Seven Points.
This is the fourth year Webster has served on The Library at Cedar Creek Lake’s board of directors. He was the vice president. Friend and incoming board president Larry Spiegel told The Monitor the couple has made significant donations over the years and that they are regarded as major contributors to the upcoming Denim and Diamonds, the library’s annual fundraising gala.
“I have known and worked with Steve over the last five years and he and his wife are exceptional people,” Spiegel said. “He will be sorely missed.”
Gun Barrel City mayor Paul Eaton agreed with Spiegel. “Steve has been a great asset to the city and will be greatly missed,” Eaton said. Most recently, Eaton pointed to Webster’s work in laying out plans for a commercial park for the city, along the gas line on East Main Street. “He’s been just awesome, probably one of the best we’ve had (on the EDC), aggressively pursuing new businesses to locate in the city,” Eaton added.
“He was a very good man,” councilman Curtis Webster (no relation) said. “He has helped the city of Gun Barrel tremendously, by pushing projects like SilverLeaf and by being the driving force behind the EDC.” Under Webster’s leadership, the EDC has assisted the city with $127,000 toward its city park project, built the new park pavilion and provided funding for the city’s comprehensive Land Use Plan and Thoroughfare Master Plan. In addition it purchased 100 acres for city development. It provided grants and loans to establish new businesses, including SilverLeaf rent-controlled senior housing project, Anytime Fitness, Denny’s and CiCi’s, while also assisting existing businesses, including Beall’s Department Store, Solar Screen & Sun Control Products, Tip Top Auto, GiGi’s Beauty Salon and Superior Paint & Body/Direct Tires.
Currently, the EDC is helping bring an assisted living residence to the city to be located on the new Church Street, which the EDC has, also helped finance with $52,000.
“He made wise and careful decisions. He took a risk now and then because he believed in those that had a vision, just as he had a vision for what our city could achieve,” EDC board member Linda Rankin said. “His ability to take a problem apart, piece by piece, and put it back together in a way that worked was genius. He saw opportunity where others saw despair.”
Rankin recalls Mike Sugrue telling how Webster came to him after learning about his affordable housing project in Chandler. “Steve made sure that Mike knew Gun Barrel City wanted an affordable housing unit, too,” Rankin said. “And now, just several years later we have just celebrated the grand opening of SilverLeaf, a project that we can attribute to Steve seeing a vision and making it happen.”
The same holds true for the EDC’s purchase of 92 acres, she added. “Steve knew it should be purchased, which later became part of our city park plan, and continues to develop today. He saw opportunities and took full advantage of them. He’s made money for the EDC and applied that money to city projects to help make our community better. He was an outstanding businessman.”
Webster is the owner of Sun Commercial Roofs, Inc. in Dallas, an expanding full service, licensed and bonded roofing company, specializing in commercial and industrial roofing applications serving North Texas since 1988. The impact his leadership brought to his business is the legacy he leaves to his co-workers and customers.
“He was absolutely one of the best leaders this city has ever had and one of my best friends,” Rankin said.