On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, the whole world lost someone special. John Ervin Webley passed away at home surrounded by family.
John was born on August 28, 1939 in Ellensburg, WA to John and Margaret (Sweet) Webley. In addition to Ellensburg John spent a lot of time growing up in Cle Elum and with his Uncle Wilmer and Aunt Jane near Quincy. Central Washington University was the natural place for him to continue his education, where he was also an outstanding football player. He played both ways starting at offensive guard and defensive linebacker, even helping the Wildcats to an undefeated season. Sports were always a big part of John’s life and it led him eventually to his profession, working in Parks and Recreation. He often spoke fondly of his memories of time spent at the rec hall and Liberty Park with his “kids”. Besides Renton, John also worked for Yakima and King County parks departments but eventually settled back in Renton where he became Parks and Recreation Director. In this role he had many projects where he was able to bring lasting beauty to the folks that lived there leaving a mark that will be enjoyed for years to come. A few of the significant projects were Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, Renton Community Center and Renton Senior Activity Center. The latter might have been his favorite simply because the people that he got to meet and swap stories with made a lasting impression and he was able to give back to the seniors in the community in a meaningful, tangible way. After retiring from the city himself, John stayed busy as a contractor to parks departments like Burien and Kenmore, lending his extensive municipal experience to their cause.
Throughout his adult life John stayed active in sports, continuing to play softball, basketball and football well into his golden years. He amassed the largest amount of trophies, MVP’s, national titles and ribbons as a softball player where he was regularly known to strike out batters by throwing a slow pitch curve that would start behind their ear and land with a thud on the rubber strike zone. There was no question though that his favorite sport was golf which he played multiple times a week when weather allowed, and multiple times a week when it didn’t. The sight of him at Lake Wilderness clad in a full brimmed Gilligan hat and pants that snapped to his rain spikes easily lofting balls to the green in a torrential downpour was a common and memorable one. He claimed the golf course was his church, as he heard God’s name used there far more often than in any chapel, and the peace he found in himself while out in nature doing something he loved was a divine peace to be sure. When he wasn’t engaged in athletics he was likely to be out at one of the local farms sifting through produce for THE BEST to be had, even if there was no more room in the fridge or pantry at home, if it was quality and at a reasonable deal John snatched it up. He could often be caught with a plastic bag of chopped fresh raw onion in his pocket to be deposited on hash browns at one of the many breakfast joints he frequented where all the wait staff knew him by name and would call out “How ya doing John?” as he entered and his reply an unwavering “Medium-Rare!”. John was also a lifelong member of the Muckrakers Car Club out of Ellensburg, WA being an avid collector of classic automobiles.
John will be greatly missed by his family. John is survived by his loving and devoted wife Mary, his former wife and good friend Sherri Hill, his brother Walter Webley (Patricia) sisters Sandra Lynch and Suzie Davies, his daughters Alicia, Kelly, Peri (Troy) and Wendy, his son John (Rachelle), his grandchildren Dustin, Donny, Nathan, Tiffany, Robbie, Wyatt, Cade, Peyton, Carter and Shay, his stepsons Steven and Brian, step-grandchildren Shelby, Nicole, Tom, Sam and Monica, along with 5 great grandchildren. John was preceded in death by his son Scott King, his brothers Donald Webley and Ronald Webley, and his sisters Glendolin Webley and Barbara Gable. John was a big man with a big heart and was loved and respected by many people through the lives that he touched. His own life was an accomplishment measured by struggles overcome and giving of himself to anyone around that needed it.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the UW Medicine Heart Regeneration Fund, at the UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM). The address is:
UW Medicine Heart Regeneration Fund
PO Box 358045
Seattle, WA 98195-8045
A memorial celebration will be held on Saturday January 12, 2019 at the Renton Senior Activity Center located at 211 Burnett Ave N in Renton, WA at 11 am, expected to be continuing through the afternoon.