Ralph E. Webber Jr.
June 3, 1930 – May 28, 2020
VIDALIA — Services for Dr. Ralph E. Webber, Jr. will be held on Sunday, May 31, 2020, at Vidalia First Baptist Church with Dr. Wesley Faulk presiding. Visitation will be offered on Sunday as well prior to the service from 2 to 3 p.m. with the main service beginning at 3 p.m. All services respecting the current guidelines for social distancing. Interment will be at Harrisonburg Cemetery under the direction of Young’s Funeral Home.
Dr. Webber, age 89, died on Thursday, May 28, 2020, at his earthly residence in Vidalia, Louisiana with his family by his side. Dr. Webber was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Sylvia Webber of Jonesville; a son, Ralph Edward Webber III; a great-grandson, Sean Jacob Orr; and a sister, Betty White of Bossier City, Louisiana.
Born and raised in Catahoula Parish (Jonesville) Louisiana, Ralph E. Webber, Jr. (aka “Bozo”) endured the loss of his father at an early age when he was only 9 years old. Tough times in 1940’s Louisiana, without a Father, helped to develop him from a boy into a man very quickly. The local pastor there at Jonesville First Baptist Church (Rev. James O. McNair) took him under his wing, making sure the whole family was provided for and thereby planting the seed inside of him that would later help him grow and mature into the dedicated family man that he was while also laying the foundation for the Man of God that he would become by building on that Foundation. Brother Ralph was rarely seen anywhere without the love of his life, Mrs. Ann Webber, or simply “Ms. Ann”. They met while both were attending seminary school in New Orleans, and thus God’s plan for Ralph’s family life began. This was, without a doubt, a Divine plan. Where ever one of them was present, certainly the other was close by and rarely seen apart, always holding hands throughout their 66 years of marriage. He fathered and raised three children with Ms. Ann and the importance of his family was only surpassed by his love, belief, and faith in the Almighty God. Bro. Ralph possessed a rare commodity, a true “Servant’s Heart”, which led him to bring many lost souls to know Christ and to witness to everyone he met. The love and compassion he gave to ALL was infinite.
Dr. Webber was a member of Vidalia First Baptist Church, most recently, but had served the Lord for 70 years. He was ordained to preach in 1950, at the young age of 20 years old by Jonesville First Baptist Church. Throughout the years he served as pastor of Utility Baptist Church, Jonesville; Sicily Island First Baptist Church; Osyka Baptist of Osyka, MS; First Baptist Church of LaPlace, La; Suburban Baptist Church, New Orleans, La; Vidalia First Baptist Church, Vidalia, La; Harrisonburg First Baptist Church, Harrisonburg, La. He also served as interim pastor of the Immanuel Baptist Church, Natchez, MS; and, numerous other Churches in the Delta, LaSalle, and Ouachita Associations of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
Dr. Webber served as Director of Missions with the Louisiana Baptist Convention for 16 years. He worked with 78 Churches in four parishes: Catahoula, Concordia, LaSalle, and Tensas. During this period, two new churches were established, two missions and four ministry centers were also formed. In 1986, the Baptist Missions Building was built at 100 Mound Street in Jonesville, La. The building was fully equipped for the office work, and the three Associations (Delta/LaSalle/Ouachita) were incorporated as the East Central Baptist Associations. The corporation was Debt Free. Another building was bought and paid for on Front Street in Jonesville and is being used to house the Bread Crumb Storefront Ministry. His work and ministry at the Storefront were featured in a video production by the Home Missions Board. This success story led to three other storefront ministry centers being established under his leadership; one each in Jena, Ferriday and Newellton. Through the four centers, sponsored by the Associations and the Louisiana Baptist Convention, more than 1000 people were receiving food, clothing, and other necessities each month. During the Christmas Season, toys were provided to needy children along with a Christmas dinner. Many other ministries are being conducted through these centers as well, such as Vacation Bible Schools, Backyard Bible Clubs and Worship Services. Additionally, two Seminary Extension Centers were established to provide teaching and training for Church leaders. All the associations provided programs for learning about and doing missions and keeping the needs of the world before the churches.
Dr. Webber served on the Executive Board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention as Moderator for Ouachita Association and the New Orleans Baptist Association. He was on the Building Committee to build an associational mission office in New Orleans, La. He served on the Board of Directors to establish the Seaman’s Center in New Orleans that is now known as “Global Maritime Ministries”. He preached in evangelistic crusades in Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Nevada, New York, Jamaica, and South Korea. He taught in Seminary Extension Centers, Lay Evangelism Schools, January Bible Studies, Doctrine Studies and served as Church Planter in Nevada. His Imprint is truly global and ONLY eternity will reveal the number of lives that he has touched as he faithfully served his Lord!!
Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 66 years, Ann Lewis Webber of Vidalia, one daughter Carolyn and husband, Dr. Steve Benson of Canton, Ms., one son, Paul Scott Webber of Jonesville, La., five grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, one sister Ama Rose and husband Tommy Dubell of West Palm Beach, Florida. Also, many nieces, nephews, and friends.
The Pall Bearers will be: Dr. Steve Benson, Rex Faust, Drew Keeth, Gary Odom, Clare Shields, Bo Strahan, Clyde Ray Webber, and Ken Young. The Honorary Pall Bearers are Donnie Baxter, Dr. William Coney, Rip Dayton, Dr. Robert Freedman, and LaDelle Sandifer.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the “Hope Sunday School Class” of Vidalia First Baptist Church, 100 N. Hickory St., Vidalia, La., 71373.
The Family would like to express their utmost appreciation to Dr. Robert Freedman, Dad’s Cardiologist for over 30 years and to the Encompass Health Hospice team for the wonderful and professional care that they provided. An incredibly special thank you to Mrs. Penny Crain, who took care of him for many months. There are truly no words that can express our gratitude and love for these special people who provide amazing care and support to both, their patients, and the family members.
Closing Thought: When Dr. Webber was once asked about all his years of service in the ministry, his reply was, “The longer I serve him, the sweeter he grows.”