Karl Wilfred Webb
June 13, 1934 – April 22, 2019
WEBB, Karl Wilfred, 84, of Halifax and Hackett’s Cove. With deepest sadness Karl`s family announces his passing on Easter Monday in the Neurosurgery Unit of the Halifax Infirmary. Born in Halifax in June 1934, Karl was the son of Carl Calenic Webb of Westchester and Vida Diadem Wentzell of Maplewood. The family established their home in Halifax, where Karl attended school and graduated from Queen Elizabeth High; involved in sports, he was a valued member of the basketball and volleyball teams. He worked in the CN dockyards for two years, then enrolled at Dalhousie, where his first-year course load was seriously outweighed by his participation in sports. Prudently he decided to switch to Acadia, where he continued to engage in sports - particularly varsity basketball, as well as swimming and badminton, in which he competed provincially - but his Honours History progam received much more attention. Karl also participated in the ROTP (officer training program), through which he attained the rank of Pilot Officer. In later years he received from Queen’s University his Master of Education Degree in Educational Administration.*** It was at Acadia in 1956 that Karl met the love of his life, Shelley, who was also registered for the Bachelor of Education Degree. Following graduation they taught high school for one year at the Canadian Air Force Base in Goose Bay, Labrador, before their marriage on August 23, 1958 in Louisbourg, and their subsequent move to new teaching positions in Bridgewater High School. Here Karl was not only a highly respected teacher but an inspiring coach, leading his girls` volleyball team to the Provincial Championship in 1959.*** Karl and the family then moved to Ontario, first to Trenton, where their daughter Tracy was born. Over the next fifteen years he served as teacher and later as administrator in high schools in Kapuskasing, where their son Carl was born, Gananoque, and finally Timmins-South Porcupine. Here he was tasked with the considerable challenge of merging two high schools into one. Intense hockey rivalries between the two student populations and the two communities affected did not lighten the burden of consolidation. The merger, eventually hugely successful, created the Roland Michener Secondary School, a fully comprehensive secondary school, named in honour of the then Governor-General Roland Michener, who graciously participated in the official opening. Subsequently the school`s exceptional success, in the range of curriculum offerings and impressive student achievement in both academics and sports, received international recognition when it was the first choice among outstanding Canadian high schools to highlight at the annual convention of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (American) held in Washington, DC, in February, 1970. The Governor-General sent Karl a personal note of congratulations.*** Earlier, in 1968, the recently elected Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau visited Roland Michener Secondary School, his first visit to any high school in the country. Karl brought together representatives by the busload from all the high schools in northern Ontario, orchestrating an exceptional opportunity for youth to interact with the Prime Minister, who responded to all their questions with notable courtesy.*** On a personal and professional level, Karl`s exceptional leadership qualities, organizational abilities, and unrelenting focus on students` educational opportunities and success were affirmed by his peers when he was selected as the youngest-ever Chair of the Ontario Secondary Schools Headmasters Association.*** Almost always occupied during his summers with educational courses to enhance his professional training and academic qualifications, Karl was invited by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, which administered the Secondary School Administrators Block Program (offered over a number of summers to current or aspiring administrators, and essentially a requirement for advancement) to teach a course on timetabling, in which he had very considerable expertise. He readily accepted, and on completion of the course, he inquired of OISE as to whether he could be given credit for that component of the Block Program, which he had taught but not yet taken. He was given the credit.*** In the early 70`s Karl felt a yearning to return to his roots in Nova Scotia, and in 1974 he accepted a Principal-Consultant position in North Sydney, tasked with overseeing the construction of the first fully composite school in the province, and developing its curriculum offerings. It became Memorial High School. Subsequently he accepted a position with the provincial Department of Education as Director of Youth Education and Curriculum Development (P-12 and the vocational schools). In this role he spent almost ten productive years, and initiated or oversaw substantial enhancements and constructive changes across a wide range of programs and curricula. Then, feeling the need for fresh challenges and a return to the regular school system, he accepted the principalship of Sir John A. Macdonald High School within the former Halifax-County Bedford District School Board, serving from 1981-1991. During one of those years, he was pressed into service once again as a volleyball coach; at season’s end his SJA team played for the provincial championship against Bridgewater, where some of the players were daughters of his former ‘58-‘59 students, and one mom confessed that she had mixed feelings: which team to cheer for?*** Karl concluded his wide-ranging, interesting, and fulfilling career in education in a senior position with the Board as Supervisor of Policy Development and Research. One of his chief responsibilities was to develop a comprehensive manual to guide policy development and operational procedures; this was a mammoth undertaking which eventually led to the publication of the Board`s new Policy and Regulation Manual, which served the Board very well during the years leading up to the merger of three Boards (Halifax County, City of Halifax, City of Dartmouth) into the former Halifax District School Board.*** Following his `retirement` from the education system, Karl served as general contractor during the construction of a comfortable family home on a lovely property overlooking a scenic cove in beautiful St. Margaret`s Bay. Karl borrowed books on deck construction from the library and proceeded to build an extensive, wrap-around deck, which served as a model for other homeowners to emulate. Upon completion in 1994, the home became the Havenside Bed and Breakfast. For more than fourteen years Karl and Shelley entertained the most charming and delightful guests from all over the world. He kept folks enthralled with his stories, most of them true. Karl became very active in the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS), serving over time on almost every committee of the organization and as an executive member, presiding as Chair of the TIANS Board for several years, and serving for seven years, an unprecedented term, as the provincial industry representative on the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership Council. He also served on the Peggy’s Cove Commission as a member and Chair. In 2007 he was honoured by TIANS with the Tourism Champion Award of Excellence for his contributions to the industry, which included the development of technology workshops that he developed and which were offered province-wide to Bed and Breakfast operators. Almost to the end he maintained his strong interest in tourism, still keenly aware of the critical importance of the industry as a key economic driver for the province.*** The move in the mid-70`s to his hometown area of Halifax had allowed Karl to resume one of his greatest passions, sailing, a passion shared by his son. He invested in a 26-foot sailboat, which his admiral promptly christened ‘The Unaffordable’; the dinghy, which was purchased second-hand for fifteen dollars, was dubbed ‘The Affordable’. Sailing became a soul-refreshing pastime which created many wonderful experiences and memories that will always be treasured, including three extraordinary cruises in Mediterranean waters with friends who own a glorious 53-foot sailboat. In 1985 Karl addressed the two-foot-itis syndrome which afflicts most sailors, and he became the proud owner of Seahawk 1, a 32-foot Westerly Fulmar. In one especially memorable year, 1990-1991, on deferred salary leave, Karl and Shelley experienced the trip of a lifetime, spending eleven months onboard as they sailed down the eastern seaboard to Florida, then across to the Bahamas for several months, and then back up the coast into Nova Scotian waters. A second grand expedition was launched in July, 2009, in company with dear friends, with essentially the same itinerary planned, but what was intended as a quick trip home at Christmas stretched into January, then February, then March, when Karl suffered the amputation of his right leg and a heartwrenching end to his sailing days.*** During a very extended recovery period, Karl found interest and purpose in delving into the family genealogy. One of his early discoveries was that the forebears of his mother (Wentzell), and the forbears of Shelley`s father (Cross, anglicized) arrived in Halifax on the same ship, The Pearl, in July of 1751, and then in 1753 were part of a contingent of ships that sailed into Mahone Bay and founded Lunenburg. In the ensuing years he undertook exhaustive research, producing over time Xeroxed volumes of family history, and then branched into self-publishing as he created books from experiences he had documented in his computer files, together with a treasure-trove of pictures spanning many years, literally from the early beginnings of photographic records, as unearthed in old family albums, to the digital age.*** Karl had an excellent voice and the family has precious video of his attempts to sing some of his favourite songs in those final days in hospital - a treasure to cherish. In his earlier days he enjoyed membership in church choirs, including Bethany`s. While living in Kapuskasing he took private lessons, and was encouraged (pressured) by his teacher, who was also his organist and choirmaster, to enter the Toronto Music Festival. Karl sang ``Were You There`` so beautifully that he was awarded the Rose Bowl for the most outstanding performance of the entire festival. Another exceptional highlight in his life occurred almost three years ago when the Fairview Aces Men’s Volleyball Team, of which he had been a member, was inducted into the Maritime Sport Hall of Fame. This team recognition meant the world to Karl; the Fairview Aces were Maritime Champions eight times in the period between 1954 and 1965.*** Karl`s extended family included his ‘best buddies’ – unrelated by blood or marriage but close in heart. Every Saturday afternoon, as weather and health and other matters allowed, the three men met at a local restaurant to consider world problems, ruminate about the most pressing issues, and determine solutions. Unfortunately no communiques were ever posted by this formidable trio, so everyone else remains unaware of any constructive course of action or opportunity that might have been pursued.*** Truly, Karl was a ‘man for all seasons’: an exceptional man, a remarkable person, a loving and much-loved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and dearly loved within the extended family. He was not only a distinguished teacher and educator and outstanding administrator, he was a genial host, a born story-teller, a one-liner extraordinare, an avid sailor, a sometime fisher and hunter, a keen bridge player, an accomplished all-round athlete and sportsman, a relentless researcher, a self-taught techie, resident bookkeeper and telebanker, a talented photographer, by times a naughty prankster, a creator of books, a long-time Raptors and Patriots fan, a history buff, lover of Westerns and espionage thrillers, a maker of decadent blueberry pancakes, an amazing home-builder (two), a lifelong optimist, and an enthusiastic traveller. It is likely due to divine providence that as Karl and Shelley celebrated their Diamond Anniversary in August, he was still well and able to enjoy the idyllic cruising experience that perfect weather made possible during their two-week Alaskan cruise, which gave him one final, joyful experience at sea, traversing the spectacular Inside Passage.*** Karl is survived by Shelley, his loving wife of sixty years, his beloved #1 daughter Tracy Webb (Scot Austin) of Centreville and his beloved #1 son Carl (Gail), of Mount Uniacke. Cherished brother of Gloria (Tim) Stephens of Halifax and Linda (David) Hankinson of Paradise; one-of-a-kind brother-in-law to Evangeline (Fred) Horton, St. Catharines; Marion (Peter) Kadikoff, Athabasca; Sandy (Pat) Cross, Dartmouth; and Milton Cross, Louisbourg. Devoted “Gramps/Great-Grampy” to grandson Michael Arbou and precious great-grandaughter Evee, Halifax; grandson Robert Arbou, Calgary; and granddaughter Alison Arbou, Halifax. Loving uncle to his nephews and nieces and their families, and special cousin to members of the extended clans. In the words of one heartfelt condolence, he was gracious, stalwart, kind and generous, and a man who adored his family. A wonderful friend to so many, Karl lives on in all our hearts, and we are blessed with many beautiful memories. Predeceased by his parents Carl (1898-1948) and Vida (1900-2000), as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of his family tree.*** Cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 3, six o’clock to eight o’clock, in the MacKinnon Chapel of Bethany United Church, 2669 Joseph Howe Drive. A celebration of Karl’s life will take place on Sunday, May 5, at two o’clock in Bethany United Church, 7171 Clinton Avenue, off Joseph Howe Avenue, Rev. Kevin Little officiating. Reception to follow in the Rev. Ewen Moase Fellowship Hall. Family flowers only. Memorial donations may be made to Feed Nova Scotia, Soul’s Harbour Rescue Mission, Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, or charity of choice.*** Words cannot adequately convey our heartfelt thanks to all the medical and support staff who provided Karl with such exemplary care following his admission to the Halifax Infirmary on March 14. The expert attention he received and the genuine affection with which he was treated will be a lasting and truly comforting memory for his entire family. Special thanks also to the many people who have expressed their sympathy and offered help wherever and whenever needed. That concern and support is most welcome and greatly appreciated by Karl`s entire family. God bless.
- Visitation Friday, May 3, 2019
- Celebration of Life Sunday, May 5, 2019
Karl Wilfred Webb
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May 7, 2019
Karl was definitely a character. Every time we were invited to sail on Seahawk with Carl ( as Skipper) and Gail , Karl would be very quick to remind Carl that, as Captain, it was his decision as to which half of the bikini the ladies were to wear! He was a lovely man and although I did not know him very well, I always went away wishing I did know him a lot better. I know it would have been an absolute blast. To Shelley , Carl, Gail, Tracy and all the rest of the family, please accept my deepest condolences on your loss. Much love to you all x o
May 7, 2019
Dear Shelley and family,
I am just learning of Karl's passing. My sincere condolences to you all on your loss.
Karl was a life long educator. As a young tourism professional, one of my first memories of Karl was when I was supporting projects in partnership with TIANS to enhance the use of technology for B&B operators - ahead of the curve. And throughout the years, I always appreciated his wisdom and experience on Peggy's Cove, accommodation operations and tourism in general. One of my most recent memories was a big, bear hug and congratulations of a "job well done" after a TIANS conference presentation. That meant a lot and was much appreciated.
Sorry to have missed the service. Shelley when it is best for you I would love to connect in person.
Thinking of you at this time,
May 5, 2019
I am very sorry to hear about the passing of Karl. My thoughts are with you and your family.
May 5, 2019
Dear Shelley, Tracy and Carl
We all have great memories of Karl that will live on as long as we do. I will especially remember his kindness and willingness to change the curriculum to suit the students in the II program during my time as a novice instructor at Sir John A. I remember his gregarious laugh , his acute sense of humour, and his ability to get to the heart of any situation with sincere understanding. His value to the B&B sector with the computer program he developed and to the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and indeed the Tourism Industry is immeasurable. Karl was larger than life itself .
To you and all Karl's family, i extend my deepest condolences.
April 30, 2019
Dear Shelley and Family,
Margaret and I send our deepest condolences and sympathies to one and all!
Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you during these difficult days ahead and beyond.
May the Lord guard, guide, direct and protect you always!🙏🙏🙏
Ed and Marg
April 30, 2019
Memories of the days in the Western Subsystem of Halifax County-Bedford flooded my mind when I read of Karl's passing. He and I often sparred over pedagogical issues, and our conversations were always lively! He lived life and his work with admirable passion and spirit.
It is good to know that he enjoyed such varied and interesting experiences post-retirement from education.
I am thinking of you and your family at this difficult time and send my deepest condolences regarding your loss.
April 30, 2019
Shelley, I am saddened to hear about your husband’s passing. I remember him from some substitute time at SJA MacDonald after working with you on a term at BJHS for Mike Swiber whilst Mike was ill. My sincerest condolences to you and your family at this difficult time.
April 29, 2019
I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of Karl. Karl was a passionate advocate for higher standards in education. I shared his passion for higher standards as well as the idea of children being at the centre of all education. He will be remembered as a pioneering educator. My deepest and sincere condolences to you and your family. You will dearly miss a lifelong friend. May he rest in peace.
April 29, 2019
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Karl. I know that you loved him very much. I taught at Sir John Macdonald High School with Karl for five years from 1985 to 1990. I learned much from Karl. In the 1980s there was a sense of formality in business and education. All male teachers wore ties. Karl wore a suit every day. At one staff meeting, usually dominated by curriculum issues, I almost fell out of my chair when Karl starting talking about love. He said it was important for teachers to love their students. I needed to hear this. Since that staff meeting I have tried every day to love my students. I had been teaching for about ten years and it was the first time anyone in education, at any level, had talked about love. I am officially retired as a teacher but I volunteer in the school system quite a bit. Every day I am with students I think about the importance of love.
Thank you, Karl. Rest in Peace.
April 29, 2019
I read with deep sadness the notice in Saturday's paper of Karl's passing. The story of his exceptional life is fascinating. I will remember the joyful, loving banter between the Admiral and the Captain.
Oh, dear Shelley, my heart goes out to you and yours with love,
April 28, 2019
I will miss Karl. I enjoyed our discussions about accounting and taxation. Karl had to understand how things worked and worked diligently to development a simple accounting program to assist B&B owners experiencing similar challenges he faced. Karl had a positive impact on many people, including me. Rest in Peace Karl.
April 27, 2019
My deepest sympathy in memory of a dear friend, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Millard Wagstaff and Family
April 27, 2019
Dear Shelly & Family
I am so sorry to hear of Karl’s death & it was a shock to hear he was ill at Bethany Church as announced by Kevin. The last communication I had from a Karl was the miraculous story he wrote on. New Year’s Day . Our most recent meeting was after a Sunday service at Bethany.
Our original friendship was primarily through Bethany but intensively with our playing volleyball on the Fairview Aces volleyball team where Karl was a star player. We came together again when the team was Inducted into the Maritime Sports Hall of Fame. Shelly represented Karl as he was then hospitalized. I was reminded of the 1st visit I made to Karl in hospital after his motorcycle accident.
I also was honoured to be asked to be his Best Man at their wedding & in fact drove him to Louisbourg in my Old V W Beetle . There are many stories of Shelly & Karl’s successes related to their lives together . Kudos to you. Shelly for your constant support & it was great to renew our friendship recently.
I did remind them of the time long ago when Karl sang Oh Holy Night as a solo at an evening service at Bethany United Church. As I sat behind in the choir & listened it was so well done I shared a tear !
My. Sincere condolences to Shelly & Family & if Jean we’re still alive she would like to do the same.
April 26, 2019
I have so many great memories of Uncle Bill. When my sister and I were little he had convinced us that he was magic and would pull coins from our ears. After pestering him to do it again and again, he would tell us that there is a new trick that he has been wanting to try. He said he could make us disappear however he sometimes would have difficulty bringing back little girls. I guess it worked because we would run off afraid that we would disappear forever. Ha ha.
There are many memories of being on his boat including sailing through a pod of whales and some very high swells near Peggy’s Cove. He also gave us rides on his motorcycle much to my mom’s chagrin.
He was a great storyteller- he tried convincing my children that he was an alien and I think he actually had them wondering.
Uncle Bill, I will miss your stories that you tell with a twinkle in your eye. Loads of love.