Webb gets paid in smiles

January 8, 2011

WAPAKONETA — Ralph Webb has been an active volunteer for more than four decades. He did it for his wife, for his children and for God. His reward - smiles and the nicknames of “Grandpa.”

“I just never learned say no,” Webb, 67, said. “People, I like to help others. It’s fun and I get paid back in smiles. I’m a rich man, seeing a smile on a kid’s face. Lots and lots of kids ­ and some adults - call me Grandpa. It’s a privilege.”

As a young man, he was active in groups that related to his family such as parent teacher organizations, midget football, softball and baseball.

“I met this strawberry blonde girl and I thought, if I’m going to marry her, I have to straighten out my life,” Webb said. “It was a good life. I was the one who got involved in things, but she was my girl Friday.”

Webb and the late Barbara Charlotte Metzger married in 1955. They have four children, Cindy Meyers, Dave, Penny Carrig and Gary, plus 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Barbara Webb died Nov. 4, 1998.

“She’s been gone 12 years,” Webb said. “I miss her. I don’t have a girlfriend. There’s not another girl like her out there. She was very gifted. She could write. She could do crafts. I see her in my kids. I see some of those same skills in my kids and my grandkids.

“Besides,” he added with a chuckle, “I have lots of girls in my life - two daughters, two daughters-in-law, five granddaughters and three great-granddaughters. That’s enough.”

As an elder, Webb is active with Wapakoneta Church of the Nazarene, Lima Free Methodist Church, Mansfield Family Camp as well as the Free Methodist Ohio Conference and its local affiliates.

In addition to his other efforts, Webb sings bass in the church praise team and is a sound man, often donating his services. He ran the sound system for a live nativity  last month in downtown Wapakoneta along the Auglaize River.

“I always seem to be doing the sound somewhere, which is all right,” Webb said. “I like music. I like gospel. I like a variety – Big Band, some opera.”

Webb is a 1952 graduate of Blume High School. While at school, he played the bass drum and in the 1950s was a member of the Wapakoneta Drum and Bugle Corps.

He is retired after 41 years of service at Superior Tube.

For fun, he likes to watch Wapakoneta High School football and basketball. He has been attending school games since the 1960s. He also is a scorekeeper for girls softball and boys baseball.

“Most everything I do is to help people get acquainted with God,” Webb said. “I like to see people at church. I like to shake hands with everybody. The better things in life are free. They don’t cost you anything at all.”