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John H. “Jack” Webb of Des Moines

Posted March 02, 2016 in Obituaries
John Hafer (Jack) Webb, 92, long-time PGA golf professional and a member of the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame, passed away on February 29, 2016.

John H. "Jack" Webb

John H. “Jack” Webb

Jack was born in Spirit Lake, Iowa on December 15, 1923, the second of three children to John T. and Ella (Hafer) Webb. Jack grew up playing multiple sports, excelling in football and basketball (while playing for his coaching father). He played for the Spirit Lake High School basketball team that appeared in the State Tournament in 1942 and he also played enough football to play on Iowa State’s freshman football team in 1942, although 140 pound guards were not in high demand.

His golf abilities began as a caddy and maintenance worker at Brooks Golf Course in Okoboji. He won several golf medals playing in the Lakes Conference and in local tournaments.

After a semester at Iowa State, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in World War II. He flew B-24s as part of the “Carpetbaggers” unit, a group that flew supplies and agents across the North Sea and English Channel without lights, weapons or armor. After 25 missions (and including one bail-out), he was honorably discharged in December 1945.

He continued his education at Iowa State, playing on the golf team and earning his degree. He played in the 1949 NCAA tournament held at Veenker Memorial in Ames and in the 1949 Iowa State Amateur tournament at Fort Dodge, he met his brother Don in the 36-hole match play finals. Jack won the match, 6 and 5; he and Don played the first 18 holes so quickly that the spectators missed out on most of the match.

In 1951, he began a career in teaching, moving to Atlantic, Iowa, where he taught middle school math and social studies. He was an assistant coach for football and basketball and became the school’s first golf coach. He also met the new girls’ PE coach, Patricia Raye Allen, and they were married in November of 1953.

Jack continued to teach and coach during the school year and play golf tournaments in the summer. He won the Northwest Amateur in Spencer in 1958, the Pine to Palm in Detroit Lakes Minnesota in 1959 and his 2nd Iowa Amateur at Wakonda in Des Moines in 1960. He was now the head basketball coach in Atlantic, but a career opportunity in golf beckoned, and it seemed a perfect fit.

Jack took the position of Golf Professional at Edgewood Golf Course in Fargo, North Dakota and moved his family there in 1961. He continued to play select events, but he had become a golf teacher, and he would remain a teacher and PGA professional until the end of his life. He moved across town to become the Head Professional at Fargo Country Club in 1963 and he won the 1965 North Dakota Open.

The Head Professional position became available at Wakonda Club in Des Moines; Jack moved his family back to Iowa and took the position in 1968. He and Pat bought a home on the south side of Des Moines (right on one of the Des Moines Airport’s landing paths) and that was their residence for 48 years.

He was Iowa PGA Section champion twice, Player of the Year once, and won the Iowa PGA Section Senior championship thirteen times. He played in two PGA championships, 4 US Senior Open championships and was on several Iowa Cup teams – the last time at age 74 in 1998 after recovering from cancer.

He served the Iowa PGA Section as President and was a national vice president, enabling him to work at the 1983 Ryder Cup for the PGA.

He retired from Wakonda in 1987 and moved to the Des Moines Golf and Country Club, where he worked as a teaching professional for the last 29 years of his life. He was highly regarded as a teacher of golf and as a developer of PGA apprentice professionals.

Jack is survived by his wife of 62 years, Patricia; sister Mary Challas of Gold Canyon, AZ, son John (Barbara) of Johnston, son Jerry (Kim) of Rush City, MN, daughter Lynn (Jeff) of Roseville, MN, son Jim (Jody) of Johnston; nine grandchildren, one great-grandchild and a host of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Ella Webb of Spirit Lake, IA and brother Don (Lois) of Dallas, TX.

A private family graveside service will be held on Friday, March 4, 12:30 PM at Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Adel. Family will receive friends at Dunn’s Funeral Chapel, between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 4. A Celebration of Life will also be at Dunn’s Funeral Chapel on Saturday, March 5 at 1:00 P.M.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Iowa PGA Foundation in honor of Jack Webb.


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