Lil Tony legacy

Coach Anthony Webster holds up a photo of his son, Lil’ Tony, that he keeps in his office. Lil’ Tony passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 16, 2019, but his family has worked hard to preserve his legacy, such as through a scholarship made in his honor which is already helping regional students.

BLUEFIELD — In the year since the passing of “Anthony Alexander Webster III,” known as “Lil Tony,” his family has been working hard to carry on their son’s legacy. Webster was a Bluefield High School football player who died unexpectedly on Jan. 16, 2019. 

Webster, the son of area youth coach Anthony A. Webster Jr., played football for the Beavers. He was a junior in the Bluefield High School Class of 2020 and played full back on the 2017 Bluefield High School State Championship football team. He was becoming an accomplished powerlifter. Besides his activities at school, he was also an active member of the Mount Zion Baptist and the John Stewart United Methodist Church.

His loved ones founded a scholarship fund, through the Community Foundation of the Virginias, in his name. This fund has benefited four aspiring college students in just one year.

“We actually have a scholarship set up in his honor, ‘The Lil Tony Foundation,’ which already has given out scholarships to athletes and individuals who meet the criteria that he set for any kid in Mercer County,” Webster Sr. said. “We are just trying to do everything we can to keep his legacy going because he is one that will never be forgotten. It is not just about athletics, but Tony carried a 3.5 GPA, so that is a standard. It is a really good scholarship to honor him. We started out with $500, but now we are able to give two $1,000 scholarships out to kids in Mercer County that deserve it for their college education.”

“We have already given out four scholarships,” Webster Sr. said. “It is unreal how they will call and tell me that they have gotten a donation in from someone. Hopefully, it will continue long after I am gone from here also.”

Webster Sr. said that helping others to honor his son’s legacy gives him inspiration.

“It is things like that that keep us going each day,” Webster said. “Knowing that we are doing something to help another student get their education and continue what they want to do to be constructive in society.”

On January 26, 2019, Gov. Jim Justice declared January 7 as “Lil” Tony Webster Interscholastic Memorial Day in West Virginia.

“I give honor to Governor Justice for recognizing my son,” Webster Sr. said. “He knew my son from coaching, but he just knew that the special person, this young man, not just to Bluefield but the state of West Virginia.”

There is no doubt that Lil Tony had an impact on his community. His father said that not a day goes by that someone does not call him to let him know they were thinking about him.

“It makes you feel good as a parent, me and my wife and my whole family, the feel that our son of 17 years got the recognition that he really deserves,” Webster Sr. said.

Lil Tony had a tattoo that read, “Humbled and Blessed.” His father said those are the two words that describe his late son best.

“He had a tattoo that said ‘humbled and blessed,’ and everyone recognizes that as Lil Tony. He got those tattoos about three or four years ago but humbled and blessed really describes what my son was,” Webster Sr. said. “I have the tattoo now and I have necklaces that I give out at games. Those two words describe Lil Tony, humbled, and blessed.”

— Contact Emily Rice at erice@bdtonline.com

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