Cover photo for Jack Webster's Obituary
Jack Webster Profile Photo
1934 Jack 2020

Jack Webster

March 11, 1934 — June 1, 2020

Jack Webster, 86, passed away peacefully on Monday, June 1, 2020, at the Homestead Hospice House in Owatonna, MN, following a well-fought battle with cancer.

Webster was born in rural Pottawatomie County, Kansas on March 11, 1934 near the small town of Cleburne, to James and Bessie (Harter) Webster. He attended the one-room Belgrade Rural Grade School for six years, then graduated from Cleburne Elementary School in 1948. Webster attended, and graduated from, Cleburne Rural High School in 1952.

He was employed by the City of Manhattan for 1½ years prior to joining the U.S. Navy in 1953. He served four years in the USN, serving on Guam and in Japan as well as several states in the U.S, working as a photographer and later in the Air Intelligence Training Center. Webster received an honorable discharge in Sept. of 1957, and then served four years in the inactive reserves.

He took employment at the Waterville Advance, in Waterville, Minnesota on Nov. 15, 1957. Webster was employed with that firm, which later became the Lake Region LIFE in 1970, until July 1, 1984 when he and wife Edna purchased the business along with the Elysian Enterprise and Morristown LIFE. They sold the business in 1994, but he continued working for the buyer for another three years. At the 2008 Minnesota Newspaper Convention, Webster received the Half Century Club award presented by the Association President in recognition of 50 years in the business. Upon retirement from active ‘work’ at the newspaper he continued to write a few stories, and a column regularly for several years. During the 1970s and 1980s he, along with partner Allan Wilcox, owned as many as 10 newspapers throughout the Midwest.

He married Edna Mae Vandenberg on Dec. 11, 1963. They had one child, Robin, along with Edna’s three children, Bruce, Valerie and Brad by a previous marriage.

Webster immensely enjoyed traveling throughout the United States with the highlight of his US travels coming a few years ago when he traveled much of Route 66 with a high school friend from Kansas. His all-time travel highlight was when daughter Robin took him on a two-week tour of Europe. He enjoyed bowling (for over 50 years), reading, working both jigsaw and crossword puzzles, gardening and swapping stories. He joined the local Waterville Lions Club in 1968, and this became the focal point of his interests outside of family and the newspaper. Webster received many awards in recognition of service in the Lions organization and was a member of the District 5M Lions Hall of Fame, to go along with his membership in the Waterville Bowling Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Newspaper Half Century Club.

He was preceded in death by his wife Edna, parents, a brother and two sisters. He is survived by four children: Robin of Henderson, NV, Valerie Vandenberg of Mankato, Bruce Vandenberg of Loveland, CO, and Brad Vandenberg of Colorado Springs, CO; nine grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the Waterville Lions Club, the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank or the Lions 5M Hearing Foundation.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date. Interment will take place at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jack Webster, please visit our flower store.


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