(Bert Webber photo)

Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore

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Noel V. Bourasaw, founder (bullet) , Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp (bullet) Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Bert Webber (R.I.P.),
photographer of the first Loggerodeo

(Bert Webber)
Bert Webber

      This is a story for those of you who have attended the annual Loggerodeo Grand Parade. One rainy day (no kidding), many years ago, I was pedaling my bike down the alley behind Metcalf Street and I saw a sack on the top of the heap of a huge dumpster, with a photograph falling out of it. That was early in the days of this project, so I looked at every photo, no matter how mundane. I immediately knew what the photo was of and was pretty sure who had taken it. It was a view of the first Loggerodeo Grand Parade, on July 4, 1948, a view looking west from the present Sedro-Woolley Museum, down Woodworth Street. It was taken by Bert Webber, who once had a photography shop, where he also sold records, across the street from the Post Office. Many more photographs with the same date stamp and parade scenes were in the sack.
      Since then, I have shown those photos many times, at various appearances at schools, rest homes and clubs, and we have shared them on several sites, the links for which you will see below. I asked everyone I saw in town where Bert went. No one knew. In fact, the only people who even remembered his name well were Greer Drummond and John Stendal, who are very much alive and kicking. Finally, I found him through a book dealer who featured one of Bert's books on historical Washington postmarks. He had moved to Oregon years before, a few years after leaving Sedro-Woolley in the mid-1950s. I knew he was an American Legion member because he was there with my Dad back in the time when so many vets returned here or moved here after World War II.
      I finally narrowed down where he lived when a client asked me to help open a Bed and Breakfast Inn near Foster Lake, Oregon, and I toured the Kissing Bridges of Linn County. The most comprehensive source book about them was Oregon Covered Bridges, by Bert and Margie Webber. I learned that Bert and his wife, Margie, and family published nearly 80 books on Oregon history, travel, Military history and other subjects. I tried to contact him by email to no avail, but kept trying. Last month, Margie wrote and told me that he suffered a stroke about the same time I was in Oregon and that he had passed away on March 25, 2006. While I was disappointed that I had not corresponded with Bert in time, I was glad to meet Margie and get the obituary that will help friends and admirers of Bert's work catch up on the rest of his very successful life.

In Memoriam, Ebbert True (Bert) Webber,
October 22, 1921 — March 25, 2006

      A memorial service has been held for Ebbert True (Bert) Webber, who died Saturday, March 25, 2006, at his home near Medford, Oregon, surrounded by his loving family. Bert had been in failing health since suffering a strok. two years ago. His remains were interred at the Eagle Point National Cemetery with formal military honors.
      Born October 22, 1921, at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland during his father's military service, Bert was the first-born of Matthew Ebbert Webber and Mary Kathryn True. His mother died when he was six years old. Brother Robert Matthew Webber survives in Arizona. The elder Webber married Una Bums and moved to San Francisco, California with his family that later included half-brother J. Rendall Webber III, deceased, half-sister Jewell Webber Tuttle Wilson, deceased, and adopted sister Connie Webber Knight of Arizona.
      Following high school graduation, Bert joined the Army Signal Corps in September 1940. He was stationed in Kodiak, Alaska, where he developed a love for photography. He transferred to the Army Air Corps Cadet Flying School and attended the University of Nevada at Reno and the Rankin Air Cadet School in Tulare, California. When he transferred back to the Army Signal Corps, his passion for photography took him to the Eastman School of Photography in New York. He was awarded a number of service ribbons and honorably discharged on November 16, 1945.
      Bert and Margie met as teenagers in San Francisco. Bert pursued the relationship after Margie's family moved to Seattle. They corresponded during the early years of WWII and were married July 9, 1944. Bert was assigned to duty in Europe and Margie returned to complete her training as a registered nurse. After the war they made their home in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where Bert set up a retail store as a commercial photographer with a photo-finishing shop to pay the bills. He was also a "stringer" for the Seattle PI [Post Intelligencer], supplying both written and photo journalism of northwest Washington State news. Times were hard in Sedro-Woolley so Bert moved his family to Seattle where he worked for Remington Rand, selling typewriters. He opened an office for that company in Lewiston, Idaho, was transferred to Spokane before he became seriously ill and was hospitalized at the Veteran's Administration Hospital. While recuperating, he attended Whitworth College, graduating with a double major in Journalism and Secondary Education. The family moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon, where Bert was employed as a school librarian and social studies teacher while earning a Master's degree in Library Science (research) from the University of Portland. He worked briefly as the librarian at Medford Senior High School before deciding to focus on a career in photojournalism, which became the most rewarding and productive period of his life.
      During his time as a teacher, he became concerned over the lack of published works about more recent Northwest history. He was commissioned by Oregon State University Press to write the book, Retaliation, Japanese Attacks and Allied Countermeasures on the Pacific coast in World War 11, which was later re-published as Silent Siege. Fascinated by Northwest history, Bert authored 86 non-fiction books on the subject, 67 of which are still in print and available from his company, Pacific Northwest Books, which his family will continue to manage. He was a frequent lecturer and radio show guest about the many aspects of his research and writings.
      He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Marjorie Renfroe Webber; sons, Richard Ebbert Webber of Stratford, New Jersey, daughter Marymerle Webber Greenlaw of Cranford, New Jersey, son Dale Brien Webber of Portland, Oregon, son Lauren Thomas Webber of Bedford, Massachusetts; 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
      The Webbers have lived in the Rogue Valley for 37 years. Bert was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, a member of many professional organizations including the Friends of the Library, the American Legion, and an enthusiastic member of the Southern Oregon Concert Band where he enjoyed playing the baritone horn. He will be sorely missed.
      Memorial gifts may be given to: First Presbyterian Church, 85 South Holly St, Medford, Oregon 97501; Southern Oregon Concert Band, c/o Harry Kannasto, 1015 Park St., Ashland, Oregon 97520, or Whitworth College, 300 W Hawthorne Rd., Spokane, Washington 99218.

Bert and Marjorie
      Margorie wrote this note with more details about their life here and their marriage of 62 years:
      Bert and I lived in Sedro-Woolley for 10 years. I was working as psychiatric nurse (RN) at Northern State Hospital when Bert was discharged from the Army, and he made a home for us in an apartment over the Safeway store on Metcalf St [which became the Oliver Hammer Clothes Shop in 1958]. So that was our first home in Sedro-Woolley. As an aside, you might be interested in knowing I was born in Sedro-Woolley when my father was the manager of the Dream Theatre from 1922-1924. Bert's first photo shop was in the old Seidell Bldg (probably in 1946). [That is the present site of the new Hammer Heritage Square.] But Bert moved the shop to Burlington in 1948 while he looked for an appropriate location in S-W. Otto Greenstreet built our first house in 1948 on Greenstreet Blvd., and Bert moved the photo shop into a building across from the post office where he did business until we moved to Seattle in 1956. During those years in S-W we had four children and I became a part-time nurse at S-W Memorial Hospital. There just wasn't enough business to support our growing family. So Bert took a job with Remington Rand in Seattle. The rest of the story is contained in the obituary. Bert would be delighted to know his photo work is being appreciated.

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Story posted on July 2017 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them

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