Webb family matriarch, known as humanitarian, dies

Elizabeth Dudley “Dottie” Combs Webb, the mother of the brothers who changed the face of downtown Lexington, died Saturday. She was 95.

Though she might be known to the public as the mother of Lexington developers Donald and Dudley Webb, those who knew her also will remember her as a great humanitarian who knew how to make everyone she met feel special, her daughter Debbie Webb-Howard said.

Webb was known as Dottie to those close to her, and she was the matriarch of the Webb family, her grandson Woodford Webb said. She had four children, Donald, Dudley, Debbie and Judy.

In recent years she lived in Lexington, but “her heart was always in the mountains,” Webb-Howard said. She was born in Letcher County and spent much of her life in coal camps across Eastern Kentucky.

In her time in the coal camps, she was driven to ensure that every child had the opportunity to attend Sunday school, Webb-Howard said. She was strong in her faith and wanted to make sure everyone else could be too.

Elizabeth Webb was a people person, Webb-Howard said. She was gracious and would always go out of her way to help people in need.

Eastern Kentucky had a different feel when Elizabeth Webb was growing up, Webb-Howard said. She took a passenger train from the coal camp to school every day and would often miss her last class so she could catch the train home.

She raised her family in a coal camp near Whitesburg, Webb-Howard said.

“She ruled the roost, not with an iron fist but with a kind gentleness that most strong Eastern Kentucky women possess,” Woodford Webb said. “She was loving and loved the Lord, and instilled a strong sense of religion and doing what is right in her children and those around her.”

She had strong conviction in her faith and treasured her family, Webb-Howard said.

Her four children were born several years apart, so there was rarely an empty nest, Webb-Howard said.

She was very proud of her children but also pushed humility, Webb-Howard said. “We didn’t get away with much.”

She also looked out for her children, Webb-Howard said. This included standing up for her sons Dudley and Donald when they would appear in the media.

The obituary written by family said, “There were moments when her Combs temper would get the best of her and she would have a word or two for the Lexington Herald-Leader for criticizing her boys!”

Visitation will noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday at Milward-Man o’ War. Services will follow at the funeral home. Hall-Taylor Funeral Home, Shelbyville, is in charge of arrangements.