Lannie Dean Webb was born on August 8, 1936 in the San Joaquin Valley town of Dinuba, California, "the Raisin Capitol of the world" as he often would say. He passed away in the Mojave Desert town of Lancaster, California, on Dec 26, 2010, of apparent heart failure. He was preceded in death by his parents, Irma May and Lannie Webb. He is survived by his brother, Donald D. Webb and his wife Karen of Chelan, Washington; their son Todd, his wife Michelle and their son Kaleb; and daughter Melissa along with many close friends and neighbors.
After earning a B.S. in Physics, Dean was briefly employed by McDonnell Douglas in Burbank. Shortly thereafter, he began a 36-year career with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at its Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards AFB, California, as a research engineer of aerodynamics, specializing in airspeed determination research. He spent much of his early career performing high-speed research on the hypersonic X-15 airplane; of note was his work on the "ball nose" airspeed sensor. He also authored many technical papers for NASA.
Throughout his adult life, he was an avid and passionate photographer. Always an experimenter, in his early work he was known for combining multiple photographs into a single image, and also for using infrared film and special filtering techniques. A naturalist, he specialized in photographing desert landscapes, in both color and in black and white. He was a featured artist in a number of art shows, and he was Chairman of the Photography section of the Antelope Valley Fair for 25 years. He made it a point to encourage and mentor many photographers, young and old.
Growing up in the Dinuba farmland country, Dean learned to love the land. His favorite childhood book was John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierras. After he retired from his civil service career, Dean devoted his energies to supporting regional California state parks and a number of local environmental causes. He considered it extremely important for individuals to live their lives responsibly and insure that they take proactive steps to protect the California landscape and environment. He became known for being instrumental and tireless when bringing recognition to issues and problems. The LA County board of Supervisors awarded him a Commendation for his efforts in 2001. He was a quiet leader and was deeply philosophical.
Dean Webb was respected by those who knew him for being a kind and caring person. His engaging sense of humor brought him many, many friends throughout his lifetime. This astonishing, unassuming man will be genuinely missed by all who knew him.