By WILLIAM LANEY
For the five survivors of Barbara Webb, day-to-day life changed for her family the day she died in 1998 from cancer.
Being a close-knit family, they relied on each other and they rely on the annual Relay for Life to come together to remember and honor their matriarch.
“Being a survivor of a person who dies from cancer is not easy on a daily basis,” said Gary Webb, one of Barbara Webb’s four children. “You miss that person every day and that is when I turn to Relay. It is just a way that I can give back and where I can really make a difference.
“I always say this could be the Relay that they find a cure — this could be that year they find a cure and that is our goal as people who participate in relay,” he said. “That is my gift to my mom and
See Webb, Page 5A
it is the same for Tina, whose mom passed away from cancer. That is our gift and our way of coping, our way of trying to make it better for the next generation.”
Tina is Gary Webb’s wife. Her mother died of cancer in 1987.
Tina and Gary Webb have been involved in Relay for Life nearly since its inception. He started as logistics chair, while his wife has helped in organizing the event or walked at nearly every relay.
The couple also have walked a “Survivor’s Lap” with his father, Ralph Webb, who was diagnosed and treated for skin cancer in the early 2000s. At times, all four children — David, Cindy, Penny and Gary — have walked laps with their father. First at Harmon Field and now at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.
While this year’s Relay for Life is scheduled to be held on Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 23, at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds, the Webbs “relay” all year — whether it is a golf outing, a garage sale, selling flags or working at the Wapakoneta Recycling Center.
“Having my family, my dad, my uncle, my brother, my sister, my wife all involved it just makes it a way we can all come together and mom is proud of us,” Webb said. “We can be happy with the fact we are making a difference and we are trying to make a difference in people’s lives who have cancer now.
“The way we cope, the way I cope, it makes it a lot easier knowing that I am trying to make a difference for somebody else because it could be one of my kids,” he said.
In the past, Webb also recalled his mother and father’s religious conviction, which extended to his family. Barbara and Ralph Webb attended the Free Methodist Church in Lima, which eventually closed near the time of her death. After her death, Ralph Webb started attending the Church of the Nazarene in Wapakoneta.
“She was a Christian woman just like dad, very emotional,” Webb told the Wapakoneta Daily News for a story in 2004. “She was the type of person that spoke her mind and would love you to death at the same moment. She would not scream and holler, she was always even-toned.
“She wasn’t a saint, but she was very, very loving,” he said. “She was easy to talk to, which is what you miss most about your mom.”
She and his father always instilled family values and the value of family.
“We have always been close as a family,” Webb said. “We always get together for the holidays and nobody lives too far away — my sister lives in Kenton — and even our kids live close.
“We have always been close,” he said, “but I think Relay brought my dad and my brother closer and was one way we could come together this one weekend of the year and we had one common goal that weekend to help make things run smoothly and to make a difference.”