Richard Webster was a local public figure for many years as the mayor of Clarksdale, a broadcaster and avid golfer and family and friends will remember him as man of service to others.
Webster, the mayor from 1975 to 1986 and 1997 to 2001, died Saturday at age 72.
“He was loving to everybody,” said Webster’s son, Trip. “He didn’t care who you were. He made a friend wherever we went. I remember when he was mayor the first time between 1975 and 1986, we would go places. I was young. We were in Washington DC and people would walk up to him and be like, ‘Hey, Richard.’ I’m like, ‘Dad, how do you know that guy?’ It’s a congressman or senator or somebody. He knew everybody. Everybody loved him. Everybody respected him. It was just amazing what he taught me in 72 years, not only how to grow up and do business, but how to talk to people, how to show respect to people. You treat the janitor the same way you treat the CEO. It’s just stuff like that.”
Webster was a music minister and in a gospel quartet for 27 years.
Webster announced for Lee Academy and Delta State University football. Matt Jones of Delta State sports information, nicknamed Webster “Mic 2” for his work as the color commentator.
Webster was the MVP of the 1971 Delta State golf team, but Trip said he never boasted about what he did. He learned about his father’s achievements through friends.
Trip said many still called Webster “Mayor” until right before he died. He recalled Webster running in elections against former mayor Henry Espy.
“Between Dad and Henry Espy, it might have been a knockdown drag out battle in the election time, but when the election time was over with, no matter who won, you’re going to see those two gentlemen hug it out, smile laugh and say, ‘We’ll see you next year’ or ‘We’re done,’” Trip said.
Trip said the Espy and Webster families have been friendly for many years. Current mayor Chuck Espy reflected on Webster’s passing.
“Richard Webster had a personality that was loved by so many people in our city,” said Espy. “I am just elated to have known and to have learned from Richard Webster and I hope that all citizens can carry his legacy and pass it on to the next generation.”
Webster’s brother, Circuit Judge Charlie Webster, said their father, the late Richard Webster Sr., was a city commissioner in the 1950s and 1960s and taught his children about public service.
Charlie said Richard was one of the youngest mayors in Mississippi during his mid-to-late-20s.
“He just enjoyed getting out and enjoyed people,” Charlie said. “I think his love of people led to public service along with the influence of my father. He was someone who enjoyed the love of people and all the folks of Clarksdale.”
“He was a good big brother. He was a good provider for his family.”
Charlie said Richard loved the Lord and sang at different churches in the gospel quartet.
“We’ll miss him,” Charlie said.
Albert Britt was Webster’s radio broadcast partner for Lee Academy football.
“He and I were the force of the Lee Academy Colts for 17 years together,” Britt said. “We had some really good times. He was a terrific golfer. He was one of the best golfers in the Delta for a long time. He was a really dear friend of mine. I’m going to miss him greatly.