On October 11, 2015, after a long struggle with cancer, we lost our dear friend and colleague Fred Webster, the structural engineer on the Castro Adobe project. A founder of The Earthbuilders’ Guild, Fred was a PhD graduate of Stanford University and was well known in engineering and preservation communities. Fred worked on many California heritage properties, including Mission San Miguel, Mission San Luis Rey, Monterey’s San Carlos Cathedral, as well as many other adobe structures in California, the Southwest and around the world. He was one of the principle investigators of the Getty Conservation Institute’s Getty Seismic Adobe Project (GSAP), the results of which are known and utilized internationally.
Fred was also a regular participant in national and international conferences, and the recent conference of EarthUSA dedicated its proceedings to him. Fred Webster was an outstanding engineer, and we were blessed to have a man of such experience and knowledge of adobe structures and seismic strengthening principles involved in our project. We will miss his expertise, dependability, and dedication, but mostly we will miss his smile, interest and engagement in our issues, whether professional or personal, and his patience and openness. Fred Webster was an extraordinary human being and that humanity is what we miss most.
The Family of Fred Webster has requested that those wishing to support the restoration of the Castro Adobe while remembering Fred, may donate to the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks in his name. Donations can be made online or by check (mail to: Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, 144 School St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060; please indicate “Fred Webster” on the memo line).
Messages of condolence may also be sent to Fred’s family in care of Friends.