Dr. James T. Webb died this weekend.
The gifted community is in shock, is in mourning, is absolutely heartbroken. I just saw him a week ago, at SENG, and to my untrained eye he was the very image of vibrant health and well being. The gentle giant of the gifted world, the steadying hand the community needed, is gone.
He always had a smile for me, even in a crowded room of his true peers and colleagues. My favorite memory of him was at the SENG conference in Williamsburg a few years ago. I was up in the hotel room when my roommate knocked, stuck her head through the door, and asked “are you decent?” Me, being the smartass I can be replied, “I’m dressed, but I am far from decent.” She walked in, followed by Dr. Webb, both of them laughing at my comment. He got the paperwork he needed with a side helping of entertainment, and I learned once again that the floor doesn’t care how embarrassed you are, it will not swallow you up.
The man exuded kindness. You couldn’t help but feel it in his presence, and I think that’s what made him such an effective advocate for the social and emotional needs of the gifted. He was one of the founders of SENG, and started the Great Potential Press publishing house, both of which I’ve leaned on greatly as I’ve navigated this gifted parenting path.
The gifted community lost a good man and strong leader this weekend. I didn’t know Dr. Webb nearly as well as many others, but I mourn with them all the same. May we all have such a positive impact on the lives of others, and be remembered half as well.