Joe Steve Webb, who served as CEO and Chairman at The Citizens Bank of Philadelphia for more than two decades, died Sunday. He was 87.

Webb passed away at Neshoba General Skilled Nursing Facility with his family at his side.

Visitation is Wednesday (today), Nov. 13 from noon until 2 p.m. at The First United Methodist Church with the service to follow. Interment will be in Cedarlawn.

Webb was one of the last community bank presidents customers could call and arrange a loan over the telephone. “Just write a check and we’ll take care of it when you get here,” he told one young man calling from a car dealership decades ago.

Current Citizens CEO and President Greg McKee said that when Webb joined Citizens Bank in 1978, the bank’s assets totaled less than $50 million. When he retired in 2002, that number had ballooned to more than $400 million.

“I went to work for him 1982 and his management style fit my personality,” McKee said. “He didn’t look over your shoulder, but he told you what he expected of you and he expected you to do it. He was fair. After his retirement, he became a mentor.”

The Philadelphia native and youngest of six children attended Philadelphia High School and captained the football team his senior year.

He attended East Central Junior College on a football scholarship before earning his degree in Forestry from Louisiana State University in 1955.

Steve married his childhood and high school sweetheart Charlene Peebles in 1954. They would have celebrated 65 years on Dec. 28.

He was drafted and served in the United States Army (1955-1957) and was stationed in Germany the final year. He continued his service with the United States National Guard for 18 years and retired as Captain

Webb settled his family in Meridian and began his career as chief forester with the Flintkote Company. 

He stayed there for 10 years before moving back home to Philadelphia to take a job with the Molpus Lumber Company. There, he served as vice president of Molpus, chairmen of the Mississippi Chapter of the Society of American Foresters and President of the Mississippi Forestry Association.

In 1978, Webb’s good friend and Chairman of the Board at The Citizen’s Bank Allan King offered Webb the President and CEO position at the bank, the position Webb’s father T.A. Webb had held for 44 years from 1926 to 1969.

Webb served in that role the rest of his career, eventually becoming Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1998. Under his leadership, the bank grew from a one-town operation to a community bank serving nine counties in east central Mississippi.

Webb also served as President of the Mississippi Bankers Association from 2001 to 2002.

Andy King, Allan King’s son and a board member at The Citizens Bank, described Webb as a kind and honorable man.

“He was very generous and always caring about people,” King said. “He was a quiet guy, but he was smart and funny. I attend the the Methodist Church here too, and even after he retired, he was always interested in what was going on at the bank and ready to give advice.”

Away from work, Webb was described by friends and family as a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He particularly enjoyed spending family time at the Blue Room Hunting Camp in Kemper County, The Lake at Four Corners and with extended family at the Neshoba County Fair.

“His family was very important to him,” McKee said. 

“He always made time for them and it seemed they were always doing something outdoors, whether they were headed to deer camp or the lake.”

Both Steve and Charlene Webb were long-time members of First United Methodist, where the he held numerous leadership positions. Webb also gave back to his community by serving one terms as President of the Neshoba County Chamber of Commerce and several terms as President of Mississippi Industrial Development Authority for 25 years from 1982 to 2007.

In 2000, Webb was honored as Philadelphia’s Citizen of the Year.

Webb is survived by his wife, Charlene, and three sons, Joe Steve "Jody" Webb II, David P. Webb, and John H. Webb.