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Retired nursing home administrator, actress remembered

Times Record - 6/29/2018

June 29--Among the many words Fort Smith resident Calvin Remy used to describe the late Marcia Webb as a person were "vivacious", "very likable" and "a comedian."

Remy has been Webb's brother-in-law since 1974, and met her the previous year in 1973. Webb passed away June 18.

Remy said Webb loved theater.

"When I met Ms. Webb, I did not know who she was," Remy said. "I was selected to be an assistant director for a musical production in Sequoyah County, 'Mame', and ... the theater director had already chosen her to be Mame, and she came dressed for the tryouts in a Mame costume, and I had no idea who she was, but that's where she got started in the theater, as Mame."

Webb was born in Fort Smith and was raised and educated through high school in Sallisaw, the obituary states. Webb attended Northeastern State University and received a Bachelor's of Science in Education with a major in elementary education. She taught in Marble City and moved to Dallas to be with her sister, Mary Katherine. They stayed there for several years before returning to Sallisaw to join their family in the nursing home business. The sisters were both licensed nursing home administrators.

Webb was asked to star in a Sequoyah County Arts and Humanities theater production of Mame in 1973, which is where Remy met her. Remy said he met Mary Katherine, whom he would later marry, at this time as well. She was the pianist for the production.

Webb was also very involved in the Fort Smith Little Theater for a number of years. Among the many productions Webb starred in were "Annie Get Your Gun", "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Little Women", according to the obituary.

One production in which Webb and Remy were both involved was one of "Hello Dolly" at the King Opera House in Van Buren during the late 1980s. Webb played the title role while Remy was the musical director.

"In one of the scenes ... in the last night of the performances, Miss Webb, as Dolly, threw down a chicken leg down into the ... orchestra pit, and the trombonist at the time threw it back up on the stage," Remy said. "They were really having a fun time that night."

Remy said Webb liked to be in front of people and loved comedy.

"She loved Phyllis Diller and she loved Johnny Carson," Remy said.

Webb also served as the hostess of Miss Laura's Social Club, a restaurant and bar in Fort Smith, when it was open for about four or five years during the 1980s, Remy said. In writings from this decade provided by Remy, Webb stated the titular Laura Ziegler was a madam who borrowed $3,000 from a Fort Smith banker in 1901 and built what came to be known as the social club. Ziegler went on to sell the original house in 1911.

"The restaurant is an authentic, loving re-creation of a notorious 'house-of-ill repute,'" Webb wrote. "It is located in the same building on the same spot as the original 'Miss Laura's Social Club.'"

Remy said Webb performed her responsibilities there as Ziegler herself, and wore clothes appropriate for a madam from that time period.

"She had a number of costumes that she created, a number of hats that she had made," Remy said.

Webb welcomed the guests of the Miss Laura's Social Club, who Remy said could also sit on her lap and get their pictures taken with her if they wanted.

Remy said Webb remained active in the theater until about 1992, and served as a nursing home administrator until 1994. She spent some time after her retirement traveling to various places and taking care of her Rottweilers. She had three Rottweilers over her lifetime: Princess, Bobo and Gracie.

"They were her life after she retired," Remy said. "She took care of them just like they were her children."

The obituary states Webb touched many lives as a teacher, juvenile intake counselor for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, nursing home administrator, theatrical performer and a friend to many. Service for her were held June 22.

___

(c)2018 Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.)

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