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Community leader, Northside advocate Buddy Webb has died

Courtesy of The Independent
Posted at 11:01 AM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 12:01:36-05

Buddy Webb, a retired banker and tireless advocate for the Northside, has died.

Arrangements are incomplete this morning; as soon as they have been published we will update this story.

Webb's daughter, Dana Webb Otillio, confirmed that her father has died. She said that first and foremost, her dad would want people to remember how much he loved the Northside of Lafayette.

"My dad loved the Northside. He grew up there, and tried so hard with his community service and through the banking industry to be involved and to help people," she said. "That's what my dad would want people to know about him. The person I am today, the way I feel about black/white relations, all of it comes from my dad and how he felt about things. I'm so grateful that he exposed me the good and the bad in the world, so that I had very open eyes as a child, and my life is richer for it."

Webb was extremely active in Lafayette service organizations, served on numerous boards and committees, and was a fixture at council and school board meetings for decades. For instance, he served on the Lafayette Housing Authority board for years, and attended their meetings to advocate for residents even after he retired from serving.

He was always friendly and curious about people, and was known for remembering not just your name, but your family members and other small details about you, your work and your family. As his daughter said, he had a way of making people feel special.

And while he was visibly active, he also was active in less visible ways, his daughter said.

"He always led his banking with compassion. He believed in people, and he believed in honesty, and he wanted to help people," she said. "Through the banking industry, all his community service, there were so many different groups he was involved in, and so many people he directly helped. That makes me very proud."

Otillio said her dad grew up poor, and with not much self-esteem. He never forgot those feelings and the lessons learned, and tried to offer support to children growing up in similar circumstances on the Northside.

"That tenacity, that wanting to live life to the fullest, he carried that with him all his life," she said. "He was really concerned about literacy, especially for Northside elementary schools. He donated his time to read to the children. And because he didn't have very high self-esteem when he was a kid, he would tell them, "Do you know who you should love the most?" And they would answer God, or Mom, or Dad. And he would say "All those people are very important, but first and foremost, you should love yourself." He understood how important self-esteem was for kids, so it wasn't just about literacy. So many issues are so much deeper below the surface."

After he retired from banking a few years ago, Webb enjoyed life, his daughter said. He would visit her and her family in Texas, and he would spend time in his wife's home of Brazil.

"He was learning Portuguese," his daughter says. "She's from a very small village, and many people there don't speak any English. He started learning the language, because my dad, he's a communicator. He needed to talk to people."