Former surf and tennis pro, the hippie philosopher dies surrounded by art
Gar Webb, the hippie, philosopher, surfer, tennis pro, artist and wandering poet, died last week at his Cocoa Beach home.
The 69-year-old died surrounded by his art after a short battle with MDS, a type of blood cancer. Webb was well known in the Cocoa Beach community as much for his ability to tell a story as for his evocative surreal paintings.
Before that he was known as a tennis pro and a professional surfer. But above all, he was a seeker of truth.
In July, just four months after being diagnosed, he spoke openly to FLORIDA TODAY about his death, saying he had no regrets, no secrets, no guilt and looked forward to the next part of his journey.
Gar’s incredible life, along with his refreshing outlook on life and death, struck a chord with readers. The story topped 86,000 pageviews as readers across the state were drawn to its honesty and frankness.
Sharing his story, Webb said his only concern towards the end was that his art was put to good use. Gar said he wanted to go to the beach so he could die in the sunlight. But it turns out that he died in his house / gallery, choosing to be there to sort out the final details regarding his work.
A close friend who is a local lawyer said Gar’s large collection of artwork is being held until a combined celebration of life and a silent auction can take place in early October. . The City of Cocoa Beach, the National Kidney Foundation, and the American Cancer Society will receive artwork and / or auction proceeds.
“No man I’m not scared. I’ve lived a good life,” Gar said.in July. “My life has been a fantastic story. I have no reason to feel sorry for myself.”
Fantasy is perhaps an understatement. Growing up in South Florida, Gar took tennis lessons from Chris Evert’s father. Years later, while trying to make a living as a professional surfer in Hawaii, Gar decided to try professional tennis and he competed for several years.
He has played in 100 professional matches and over 50 tournaments and has traveled all over the world. After his playing career ended, Gar taught tennis to thousands of children. He has run tennis programs for counties and cities and has organized camps for up to 800 children at a time.
During this time, he continued to work on his art, which included paintings and surf sculptures which he called “surferamics”.
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He also continued to seek the meaning of life, voraciously read philosophy books and make human connections, like his friend Adrea Wells, who said Gar always gives wholeheartedly with what she has. described as “unfiltered love”.
“Gar helped me explain things in a way I could understand, relate and see miracle babies every day,” she said. “His soul will live forever.”
He’s even left a mark on people he’s never met in person. A love of art and the same genre of music resulted in a Facebook friendship between Gar and Rich Hernandez from California.
“I guess we were on the same page, and I love that he gave so much in life, helping kids learn to play the tennis and surf that he was so proud of. ‘Said it was the Aloha spirit, I love it, “Hernandez said. “I have yet to find another person so kind and peaceful.”
Sara Stern stumbled upon Gar’s art studio several months ago and they immediately struck up a friendship that touched her deeply.
“He has lived fully, alive and loving all over the world, from Europe to Hawaii and back to his favorite place on earth, Florida,” said Stern. “He was a wandering philosopher. I will miss our daily conversations on the phone and in person. Better to have known him.”
“He was the first person I knew who wasn’t afraid to die,” she continued. “He died surrounded by the art he loved so much.”
Gar was a prolific texter who loved to stay in touch with his friends old and new. He always wrote in capitals and always ended his texts the same way:
“ALOHA & PURA VIDA.”
Aloha, the Hawaiian greeting, literally means “the breath of life”. Pura Vida, the unofficial motto of Costa Rica, means the pure life or the simple life.
What a perfect signature for a man who has lived his life to the fullest and without regrets.
Aloha and Pura Vida, Gar.
For more information on Gar Webb’s art, send an email to [email protected]
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