William Webber was born July 6, 1912, in Dumore, Pa., to Frank and Leta Webber. His family later moved to Batavia, N.Y., where he graduated from high school in 1930. He attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Va., graduating in 1934 with a bachelor's in electrical engineering and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Reserve. He had a life-long love of music and enjoyed playing the trombone during college in the marching band (the Highty Tighties), the orchestra, and dance bands. He was always a faithful Hokies fan.
After graduation, he worked in marine sales for Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pennsylvania and in New York City, where he met Margaret Brown. They were married in 1938 at her family's home in McIntosh, Fla., and were married 62 years before her death in 2000.
In early 1942, Webber was called to active duty at Fort Monmouth (New Jersey) and worked at the Evans Signal Corps Radar Laboratory. When he was discharged from the military in 1945, he held the rank of major and chief, Production Engineering Division. He returned to work for Westinghouse in New York City and in 1946 became sales engineer for the Pacific Northwest, moving his family to Portland. Two sons were born in New York City, and a daughter and son were born in Portland. In 1947, he earned his private pilot's license and enjoyed several years of flying locally.
While at the radar laboratory, Bill met Howard Vollum, who later co-founded Tektroniz Inc. In 1951, at Mr. Vollum's invitation, he joined Tektronix, handling public relations and managerial duties, and eventually became the company's chief community spokesman. In 1952, he helped start and served as trustee and administrator of the Tektronix Foundation which was one of the first corporate giving foundations in the country. In 1954, he became vice-president of Tektronix and served in this position until his retirement in 1977.
Bill Webber was deeply committed to the enrichment of community life, believing that it is the duty of each citizen to help make the world a better place. He considered himself a team player who volunteered his time not for recognition, but to give back to society. He was a past president of the Portland CHamber of Commerce, Portland City Club, Western Electronic Manufacturers Association, Oregon Independent College Foundation, and Oregon Foundation for Medical Excellence. He was a trustee of the Metropolitan Hospitals of America and the Templeton Foundation. He was founder and trustee for the Meridian Park Medical Foundation. He was a board member and development fund vice-chairman of Columbia Willamette United Way. He was on the board of Meridian Park Hospital and the Portland Youth Philharmonic.
He was a member of the Arlington Club, University Club, Washington County Public Affairs Forum, and the Oregon Marine Science commission. In his community, he was a long-time member of the Tigard United Methodist Church. He was a past chairman of the Tigard School Board. More recently, he supported the Tigard Youth Association, providing opportunities for youth to participate in sports and music at school and in the DARE and GREAT programs, and also providing food, clothing, and medical expenses for families in need.
Webber was the Oregon chapter co-chairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, who honored him in 1977 with their annual Brotherhood Award for his distinguished service in the field of human relations. In 1981, he was a recipient of the Concordia College's Citizenship Award.
In 1986, he was named Virginia Tech's College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In 1999, he was selected to be a founding member of the Academy of Engineering Excellence at Virginia Tech in recognition of his engineering and leadership contributions during his career.
Webber appreciated the opportunity to travel to all parts of the world and held a strong conviction that the nations of the world must recognize and exercise their interdependence for cultural and economic progress. He provided leadership for the Japan American Conference of Mayors and Chambers of Commerce Presidents and was involved with the Portland-Sapporo Sister City program and the World Affairs Council. He was a past president of the Oregon-Costa Rice chapter of the Partners of the Americas.
He was a member of the Portland Yacht Club and enjoyed many years of sailing and boating on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers on his boat, the "Novia".
His greatest joy was seeing his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren leading happy, successful lives.
Bill passed away on March 10, 2005 and was survived by his wife, Frances Meyer Webber, whom he married in 2001; sons, Bill of Eugene, Bob of Medford, Bruce of Portland; and daughter, Betsey Ullom of Tigard, and their spouses; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; step-sons, Bill Meyer and Bob Meyer, both of Portland; four step-grandchildren; and five step-great-grandchildren.