Orrin S. Webb, UM worker and youth advocate, dies at 49

University of Maryland medical records worker became advocate for city youth at Druid Hill Park courts

  • Orrin Webb
Orrin Webb (Handout, Baltimore Sun )
December 13, 2010|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

Orrin S. Webb, a University of Maryland medical records worker who was a founder of a Druid Hill Park summer basketball program for at-risk children, died of pancreatic cancer Wednesday at his Pikesville home. He was 49.

Born in Baltimore, he began his schooling while in Germany where his late father served in the Army. After returning, he was raised on Carrollton Avenue and attended Booker T. Washington Junior High School. He was a 1979 graduate of Polytechnic Institute, where he played basketball and football. He then served in the Navy and played on teams at bases where he was stationed.

After his discharge, Mr. Webb joined the University of Maryland Medical Systems and initially worked at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. He worked with medical records and was the liaison between the medical records department and the physicians, both attending physicians and the residents.

"He was a dedicated leader. He was jovial and positive thinking. I never saw him angry," said Eugene Jones, the medical systems' director of health information management. "He played a key role in the department. He was a great example of customer service, dedication and humility, and earned the respect and admiration of many people."

Mr. Webb worked in medical records for 23 years. "The positive legacy he has left for us will bring many smiles and thoughts of kindness for many years to come," Mr. Jones said.

In his work at the medical center, Mr. Webb witnessed the injuries that street violence in Baltimore was causing. Friends said he decided to get children and youth involved in his game, basketball. As a child, he had played basketball in Druid Hill Park and wanted to bring back and enlarge upon that safe environment for wholesome recreation.

"He saw firsthand how street violence spiked during summer months. And he wondered if his home courts at Druid Hill might help staunch the bloodshed," a 2009 Urbanite magazine profile said about him.

In 2000, he founded Druid Hill Park Players. He pushed city officials to have the basketball courts refurbished and helped expand his group's goals to include health and fitness. He would come to the park's courts from May through October, seven days a week.

"Orrin was a giving, caring person who made sure the kids had a safe place to play," said Trina McCullough, who works in marketing for the University of Maryland. "He did not like the kids to curse when they were with him or playing. They looked to him as a second father."

Ms. McCullough said that after his co-ed basketball program became known and respected, police officers, school teachers, doctors began giving their time to the children it attracted. They showed the children how to give back to their families and the community, she said.

"We found out what the kids were interested in and matched them up with professionals in that field," Ms. McCullough said.

Mr. Webb's work won him sponsorships. The University of Maryland Hospital for Children announced an affiliation with the Players. It was named an outreach program of the hospital — and a channel through which it could raise the funds needed to continue its work.

Mr. Webb also coached at the Weinberg YMCA on 33rd Street and at Digital Harbor High School.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home, 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown.

Survivors include his wife of 22 years, the former Kim Peterson; four sons, Donte Webb, Octavian Webb, Dior Webb and Orrin S. Webb Jr., all of Pikesville; two daughters, Nicole Webb of Pikesville and Irena Webb of San Antonio, Texas; his mother, Hilda F. McClary of Baltimore; four brothers, Andreas McClary, Marco Chase, Carlos Chase and Sheldon Chase Jr., all of Baltimore; three sisters, Yvettte McClary and Monica Chase, both of Baltimore and Ravenna Chase of Columbia; and eight grandchildren.

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