Dozens of golf carts drove down the streets of Dunedin, honking their horns.
Oversized stuffed animals were hanging off the back of carts. People smiled. They wore orange hats.
It was a funeral for a woman who wouldn’t have wanted the day to be dreary. In her own obituary, she wrote that she had “no particular accomplishments but she had lots of friends and loads of fun/See Ya!”
A celebration of Dunedin’s local icon, Winifred “Freddie” Webb, who died June 27 at age 92, was held Sunday. Webb had grown up in Dunedin along Victoria Drive.
New and old residents alike knew her as the woman always cruising along in her golf cart, her Winnie the Pooh plushie along for the ride, wearing a fuzzy orange soft cap, bantering with everyone she saw and offering them rides. She would stop around downtown, asking people for bites of their food or joking with them about their dish choice. After she died, her grandson heard from people around the country who had vacationed in Dunedin and instantly got to know Webb.
“It feels a little empty without her,” said longtime friend Diane Miller. “It’s just like a void there now because Freddie was one of a kind.”
When she died, Miller wanted to celebrate Freddie in a way that represented her — full of joy. Miller, who lived in New Orleans, was inspired by jazz funerals, which start solemn and end in celebration. She rode Webb's golf cart and said it was a happy moment, but sad knowing it would be her last ride in her friend's cart.
Along with stuffed animals, people brought rubber duckies, which Webb kept all over her house and front porch. They set duckies up in the aisle of the funeral service, which was standing-room only at First Presbyterian Church of Dunedin. Rev. David Shelor said he hadn’t seen a funeral that busy in a long time.
“I think she just represented so much of what Dunedin is at its best — lively and joyous and fun and welcoming and just a little bit different,” Shelor said.
Most Dunedin residents saw Webb as soon as they got to town. She was hard to miss. On Anne Bokenberg's first day in Dunedin, she was sitting on her porch when Webb insisted Bokenberg looked bored and should come for a ride on the golf cart.
They drove around for about half an hour, at some point grabbing two children who asked Webb for a spin.
“She was a maverick,” Bokenberg said. “She did pretty much whatever she wanted to.”
Webb participated in every parade Dunedin had, from Halloween to Mardi Gras. Miller remembers one Christmas parade, she and Webb, her friend of 19 years, brought candy canes to give out to people on the sides.
Webb would stick the cane out, just out of arm’s reach, then quickly pull it back and pop it into her mouth. Then she’d offer it up again, laughing. Miller said everybody got a kick out of it, and it’s one of the memories she thinks of now.
“We should all have the joy of life that Freddie had,” she said.
Contact Romy Ellenbogen at email@example.com . Follow @Romyellenbogen.