During the late 1970's, there were a number of industries in the U.S. that did not readily embrace diversity. Amid that environment, Amos Odell Webster Jr. found a way to successfully climb corporate ladders.
Mr. Webster died June 29 at age 60. In his rear-view mirror was a 39-year career in corporate management and business entrepreneurship.
At age 27, Mr. Webster became one of the youngest African-Americans to land a position as zone manager at the Ford Motor Company's Industrial Engine Division, where he was responsible for sales in a six-state region. Later, he served as worldwide marketing manager for Waukesha Engine Division/Dresser Industries.
A successful entrepreneur, Mr. Webster first was the president/CEO of A. Webster Chevrolet in Memphis, and then later launched Webster Piping & Supply Inc. with his brother, Harold Webster.
Numerous awards came Mr. Webster's way, each testifying to his strong business acumen and leadership. He was active in the community, with his involvement including mentoring young males through The Links' Beautillion and Leadership Academy, and the Memphis Chapter of Jack & Jill of America. He was a member of the Round Table Men's Group, and the Master's Men. While a member of New Direction Christian Church, he served in the parking lot ministry.
Services for Mr. Webster were held July 6 at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, with burial in Memorial Park Cemetery. The eulogy was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Alvin O'Neal Jackson of Park Avenue Christian Church in New York City. E.H. Ford Mortuary Services had charge.
Mr. Webster, who was born in Florence, Ala. (Sept. 26, 1951) earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Tennessee State University. The family requests that gifts in his memory be directed to the Tennessee State University Foundation, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Box 9542, Nashville, Tenn. 37209.
Mr. Webster leaves his wife, Cassandra Hughes Webster; a son, Austin Odell Webster; a daughter, McKenzii Denise Webster; a daughter-in-law, Melissa Guzman Webster; two sisters, Leniece Fitzgerald of Nashville, and Dianne Webster Smith of Florence, Ala.; a brother, Harold Webster of Florence; mother-in-law, Sunbeam Hughes of Detroit; father-in-law, Allen Hughes of Canton, Mich.; three brothers-in-law, Allen Hughes of Canton, Calvin Hughes of Detroit and Dean Smith of Florence; a sister-in-law, Georgia Webster of Florence; and myriad family and friends.