Lifetime Benton resident and community leader
Gwendolynne Louise “Pud” Troutt Webb died Wednesday. She was 81.
Mrs. Webb, the daughter of the late George L. and Lucille Cox Troutt, came from a prominent Benton family. Her father served as mayor of Benton during the 1950s.
Among the family's residences was the two-story maroon brick structure at the corner of North Main and Cross streets, which for many years served as offices for the Benton Courier.
Mrs. Webb was active in many areas of community life and in 1988 received the Women’s Distinction Award from the Saline County Chamber of Commerce.
She also was a volunteer at Saline Memorial Hospital.
Mrs. Webb special interest was the Gann Museum. She served as co-chairman of the museum's board of directors with her close friend, Dorcas Holicer.
Today, Holicer reflected on their long friendship.
"We became friends in elementary school," she said. "I feel like I've lost my best friend and I've lost someone who was really dedicated to the museum.
"We were in upper elementary together," Holicer said. "We were all in a Girl Scout troop, which at that point was during World War II and Mrs. Carroll Buffington was our leader.
"We went camping a lot in the Girl Scouts and for some reason when the duties were handed out, Pud and I always got the latrine duty. We never could figure that out. We just decided that we must be the best latrine designers there were."
The two continued to be friends throughout the years, Holicer said.
"Once our children got grown, our group traveled quite a bit," she said.
Recalling a trip to San Antonio, she mentioned that the women were guests at a hotel by the river. "We were on the 11th floor and about midnight the fire alarm went off and this voice came over the intercom in the room, saying: 'We have a fire. We're managing it on the 11th floor. Do not leave your room; take towels and put underneath the door.'
"Everybody got nervous and excited," Holicer said, with different people looking for different things.
"Dotty Little said, 'where's my jewelry', but Pud was looking for her shoes. She said, 'I'm getting my shoes on, because if I'm jumping I'm not landing without my shoes.'"
"Finally we heard that the fire was contained and it eventually became a funny memory," Holicer said.
"We made lots of trips together — to the Bahamas, Santa Fe, San Francisco," she added. "I'll really miss Pud."
Another close friend, Jan Brooks, called Mrs. Webb "my dear friend for 50 years."
The two played bridge together and also went on trips together.
"We were really close," Brooks said. "Ever since I've been in Benton, she's been my friend. Four of us — Jaennine Phelps, Betty Martindale, Pud and I — were in bridge group together. It's kind of hard to talk about it. She's going to be missed."
Brooks, who serves as court reporter for Circuit Judge Gary Arnold, added that "Pud sometimes would substitute for Judge Arnold's secretary. She'd answer the phone. Judge Arnold loved for her to work there, because she knew everybody and everyone knew her."
Mrs. Webb was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church. She was born Dec. 28, 1930, and attended Sullins College in Bristol, Va. She continued her education at University of Southern California, where she became a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.
She later went on to receive her degree in education in Arkansas and taught 32 1/2 years at Caldwell Elementary School in Benton.
Funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church in Benton. Burial will follow at Rosemont Cemetery.
Members of the Covenant Sunday School Class of First United Methodist Church will serve as honorary pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Gann Museum.