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In memoriam: Watco founder Dick Webb (1938-2009)


Dick Webb, founder and chairman of the Watco Cos. Inc., died March 23 after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 70.

Webb formed Watco in 1983. The short-line holding company’s first business was an industrial switching operation in DeRidder, La., that still exists today. Webb later opened a rail-car repair shop in Coffeyville, Kan.

Watco now owns 19 short lines operating in 16 states, and operates 24 industrial switching locations, four locomotive shops, 14 car repair shops, and transloading subsidiary Watco Transload and Intermodal Services. The company also offers locomotive, freight-car and track equipment leasing services, and property management and warehousing services.

Webb valiantly fought his cancer for four weeks, Watco officials said in an announcement.

“He was a true fighter to the end, showing the phenomenal spirit and grit that made him such a success in life, and that he used to create and grow Watco,” they said.
Watco plans to announce memorials honoring Webb later this week.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/24/2009