By John Toole
---- — WINDHAM — Carolyn Webber, whose love for the town — its history, character and people — led her to a long career in community service, has died.
Webber, 72, died Tuesday at Community Hospice House in Merrimack.
A former state representative, Webber held office on most town boards through the years, serving as selectman, as well as library trustee, and member of both the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment. She was a member of the Planning Board at the time of her death.
“What I admired about her was the way she stood up for what she believed in,” Planning Board Chairman Kristi St. Laurent said. “She was a great Planning Board member, a valuable member of the board given her number of years in town.”
Webber was never shy.
“If she had a question, she laid it right out there,” St. Laurent recalled.
Karl Dubay, president of The Dubay Group Inc., knew that first hand from appearing before the board with development projects.
“For the 17 years I’ve been before the Windham boards, Carolyn was the best at just coming out and saying what had to be said, what everyone else on the board was thinking, and with a smile,” Dubay said. “She let you know what was truly in the best interest of the town. She challenged developers to take the quality of site designs to the next step, with no excuses.”
Webber demanded excellence and defined true leadership, Dubay said.
Running for re-election earlier this year, Webber rated commercial design review as the most important issue facing the board.
“Design review for commercial building in Windham will provide the small town feel that both the citizens and shoppers will prefer,” Webber said.
A golfer, hunter and antique collector, Webber grabbed attention in her sporty, red 1965 Ford Mustang.
“I coveted that Mustang,” St. Laurent said. “It was a beautiful car.”
Webber was the first Democrat in decades to hold a seat in the New Hampshire House when she came into office on a Democratic wave five years ago.
St. Laurent, town Democratic chairman, said Webber was important to the party.
“She encouraged me to run and she encouraged other candidates,” St. Laurent recalled. “She told me, ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’”
But it’s Webber’s commitment to her town that will be remembered by the people of Windham.
“Her passing is a great loss to many,” Selectman Al Letizio Jr. said. “She has been a dedicated volunteer who has given so much of her time for the benefit of our community.”
Webber leaves her partner, Carol Pynn, who herself has been a community leader as chairman of the Heritage Commission and a leading preservationist.
Calling hours are scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. today at Douglas & Johnson Funeral Home, 214 Main St., Salem. A funeral will be tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the funeral home, with burial in the Cemetery on the Hill in Windham.