J. Bryan Webber Jr., 85, of Mexico, died at 6:38 a.m. Thursday, April 19, 2007, at Audrain Medical Center.
Mr. Webber was born in rural Audrain County on Aug. 17, 1921, a son of John Bryan Sr. and Selma Kristofferson Webber. On December 25, 1942, in Mexico, he married Lena Hilgedick who survives.
He attended Oak Grove School near Laddonia as a child, and Laddonia High School in the 1930s, before graduating from Mexico High School in 1939. He worked for Richards Hardware and later Montgomery Ward in Mexico prior to World War II.
Mr. Webber enlisted in the Navy in 1942, serving through the end of the war in 1945. He held the rank of Machinistís Mate 1st Class aboard the USS Independence, the first American aircraft carrier fitted for night flights. The Independence was deployed in the South Pacific through most of the war despite being out of commission for several months in 1943 after being torpedoed in the Battle of Tarawa.
After the war, Mr. Webber and a partner for several years owned and operated a flower shop in Mexico which later became Wonnemanís House of Flowers. He then worked in the fire brick industry for nearly 34 years, starting with Mexico Refractories in 1950 as night superintendent. Mexico Refractories merged with Kaiser Aluminum in 1959, and Mr. Webber served in a number of roles for Kaiser Refractories in Mexico before retiring in 1984 as production scheduler.
Mr. Webber served for many years as treasurer for the Mexico Community Chest, and as treasurer for Arthur Hills Golf Course. He was a member of the Mex-R-Co Club, and he was a charter member of Kaiser Mexico Credit Union, now Show Me Credit Union. He was active with the Mexico High School Sports Boosters for many years. He was active until his death with the Golden K Kiwanis Club and with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Mexico, where many Mexicoans will remember him as a bingo caller and volunteer.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Webber is also survived by a brother, Jack E. (wife Carol) Webber of Mexico; three sons, Larry D. (wife Laurann) Webber of Mexico, Bruce F. (wife Jill) Webber of Stillwater, Okla., and John A. (wife Patricia) Webber of Rochester, Ill.; six grandchildren Ryan (wife Jody) Webber of Stillwater, Okla., Jess (wife Carrie) Webber, Oklahoma City, Okla., Justin Webber of Columbia, Brendan Webber of Mexico, Anna Webber and John Bryan Webber III, both of Rochester, Ill.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 22, 2007, at Pickering Funeral Home with the Rev. Randall A. Sawyer officiating. Visitation will be Saturday from 4 until 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to the new Fire Brick Museum of the Audrain County Historical Society, and sent in care of Pickering Funeral Home, 403 N. Western, Mexico, MO 65265.