Kimberly Shawn Grugin Webster, wife of retired Lt. Gen. William G. Webster Jr., died peacefully in her sleep early Saturday morning.
A four-time cancer survivor, Kimberly Webster, 58, was a mother of three and grandmother of six. Her oldest daughter, Marleah Domergue, said her mother always tried to encourage others coping with cancer. She said Webster made her own fight with cancer public when she was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma 25 years ago. Webster also fought two bouts with breast cancer in the late 1990s and won a fight with skin cancer in 2003, Domergue’ said.
“It made us stronger as a family,” Domergue said. “She never lived one day of her life with regret.”
The Websters had three children, Marleah, 34, Sarah, 33, and Will, 28. Will is a captain serving with the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Armor Brigade Combat Team at Fort Benning. All three children are married and have two children each.
Domergue said despite Webster’s long battle with cancer, her mother had not been sick. She said there was nothing to indicate her mother was ill in recent weeks. Her death was unexpected.
“We’ve all had an amazing time with her in the last four weeks,” she said, explaining that her mom often would decide she wanted to visit her grandchildren and would pack up and go see them. “We did all the things she wanted to do when she visited us (recently). We didn’t know at the time we would soon be losing her.”
Domergue said her mother grew up in the Army and married a soldier. Webster’s parents, retired Col. Bill and Betty Grugin, traveled around the country as part of his military service, including assignments in Peru. Her father retired from the Army after 30 years, settling in Sunbury 33 years ago. Her mother became a well-known local artist before she died two years ago.
Domergue said her parents married in 1976 and served in the Army together until her father retired in 2011 after 40 years service. William Webster served as commander of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield from 2003-06. After he retired, the Websters returned to Liberty County and built their dream home two doors down from Kimberly Webster’s grandparents, Domergue said.
“We all loved living in Colorado,” Domergue said. “But we always said we were coming back here, because this is our home. All three of us went to school at Georgia Southern, and all three of us got married in Savannah.”
She talked about her mother’s passion for teaching preschool children as well as her passion for animals. William and Kimberly Webster often volunteered at the local animal shelter, helping to find good homes for abandoned pets. Kimberly Webster supported the Liberty County Humane Shelter, the American Cancer Society and the Fraser Counseling Center, her daughter said.
Domergue said her father asked those wishing to express condolences to the family to send flowers to Sandford Carter Funeral Home at 308 W. Oglethorpe Blvd. She said the family also suggests, in lieu of flowers, donating in Kimberly Webster’s name to the Mary Lou Fraser Counseling Center on Mary Lou Drive in Hinesville, the Liberty County Humane Society at 279 Briarwood Circle in Hinesville or the American Cancer Society at 6600 Abercorn St. in Savannah.
Domergue said her father is doing about as well as can be expected, given the circumstances.
“They were together for 37 years,” she said. “They were best friends and partners. But he’s surrounded by all his kids and grandkids right now.”
Domergue said visitation will be at Carter Funeral Home’s Oglethorpe Chapel from 5-8 p.m. Friday. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Fort Stewart’s Main Post Chapel. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date, she said.