Willard J. Webb, historian

Friday, December 3, 2010; 5:53 PM

Willard J. Webb, a historian in the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for 30 years, died Nov. 23 of congestive heart failure at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County. He was 73.

Mr. Webb was chief of the JCS Historical Division before retiring in 1993. He wrote about the organizational development of the joint chiefs, as well as producing several volumes about the JCS and the Vietnam War.

For his work, he received the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

Mr. Webb continued to use his knowledge of history and architecture in retirement. He wrote articles for the Arlington Historical Magazine and wrote a book with his wife. Published in 2003, "Glebe Houses of Colonial Virginia" described the surviving homes that had once been provided to ministers by local parishes.

For his volunteer work creating indexes for local publications and historical information in the Virginia Room of the Arlington Central Library, Mr. Webb received Arlington's Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2007. He also received a lifetime service award from the Arlington Historical Society in 2006.

Willard Jack Webb was born in Washington and grew up in the Fairfax County town of Clifton, where his family had pre-Civil War roots. After graduating from Fairfax High School in 1955 and the College of William and Mary in 1959, he received a master's degree in government from George Washington University.

In 1997, he donated his family home in Clifton and 20 acres of land to the Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, which maintains the Webb Sanctuary as a nature preserve.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Anne Cipriani Webb of Arlington; and a brother, Thomas G. Webb of Silver Spring.

- Emma Brown


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