Co-founder of Shelburne Farms dies in swimming accident

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 11:41 PM EDT
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SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) - The Shelburne Farms community is mourning the loss of one of their own. Seventy-four-year-old Marshall C. Webb, who lives on the property, drowned on Thursday afternoon.

Shelburne Police say Webb died trying to keep his grandkids safe. He was swimming off a boat with his 8-year-old granddaughter and 10-year-old grandson when bad weather hit. Webb was getting them into the boat when he went under.

“The storm here, particularly out there -- they had heavy winds that contributed to waves,” said Shelburne Patrol Officer Matt Denis.

Webb, along with his siblings, co-founded Shelburne Farms as an educational organization in 1972. More recently, he served as its carbon drawdown coordinator.

In a statement, the organization calls him a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend.

“Right now, we’re speculating he may have had some sort of medical event,” Denis said.

The 911 call was placed by Webb’s wife after her grandkids swam to shore to get help. Along with Shelburne Police, the Coast Guard and Vermont State Police assisted with the hour-long search.

“We’re not certain where the incident took place, but the body was recovered about 250 feet off shore,” Denis said. Police say no drugs, alcohol, or foul-play were involved. “It was just a grandfather out, enjoying the day with his grandchildren.”

Webb’s family did request an autopsy.

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