Saturday, October 31, 2020

OBITUARY: Zoe L. Webb

Zoe L. Webb, a veteran of Word War II, died Wed., Nov. 26, at 5:05 AM. She was 92.

Zoe’s childhood was uncomfortable, and as an only child, her dog took the place of the siblings she never had. It traveled with her everywhere. When World War II broke out in 1939, Zoe was due to go to a “ladies finishing school” in Switzerland, but instead realized an unquestionable opportunity.

With her dog in tow, Zoe ran away from home to join the Royal Air Force at the age of 17. The British military was desperate for personnel at the time, and as Zoe was tall and looked much older than her years, no one asked to see her birth certificate.

Still, she never fully adapted to life in the ranks and failed to imagine how different life would be from the luxuries of home. This conflict created an inner determination to succeed, and at the age of 19, Zoe earned a full commission in the RAF.

All the while, Zoe’s dog remained a constant. In the ranks, the night shift was entertained by rats running all through the Nissan huts — something she would not accept — so she convinced her commanding officer to have her dog be with her when she was on duty. Wherever Zoe was transferred, the dog was kenneled nearby, and in her off-duty hours, she would walk the dog.

As a code and cypher officer, Zoe was assigned to Whitehall in London, the center of the British government, and working in a bunker 50 feet below the ground. With her associates, she supplied Winston Churchill with all of the information possible about the war effort, both German and Allied forces, 24 hours a day.

In 1942, she married a Canadian Spitfire pilot, and in 1943 because she was pregnant, was forced to resign her commission. Her husband was reassigned to Canada to train pilots for the invasion of Japan, and Zoe sailed on the Queen Mary with more than 12,000 troops across U-Boat infested waters to New York.

After four years of blitz and blackout in England, Zoe stayed up all night on the train from New York to Toronto, absolutely fascinated by the lights of towns and villages. She had not seen a street light on in four years.

As for her beloved four-legged friend, it could make the trip across the Atlantic with her, as pets were not allowed on the troop ships. This broke Zoe’s heart.

Zoe and her husband, Barry, settled on Marco Island in 1972, and have been full-time residents ever since. They were part of the sales team at Century 21 First Southern Trust. Barry and Zoe were married for 43 years, after a chance meeting while both were living in Nassau, Bahamas, in the late 1960s.

Zoe is survived by Barry; her two daughters, Suzanne Pope and Margo Liebers; her grandson, Guy Cooper; and one great-grandson and two great-great-grandchildren.

“Zoe always put herself last and everyone else first,” Barry says of his wife.

Zoe’s funeral will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on March Island on Mon., Dec. 15, at 3 PM. In lieu of flowers, Barry asks that donations be made to The Heart Foundation in Zoe’s name.

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