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Staff Photo by Ben Benton/Chattanooga Times Free Press - May 1, 2012 - MUG - Marion County Highway Superintendent Neil Webb says the renovation and expansion project at the Old Highway 28 bridge over the Little Sequatchie River is on schedule.

Marion County Road Superintendent Neil Webb died suddenly Monday evening, county leaders said Tuesday.

Webb, 61, died from an apparent heart attack at Parkridge West Hospital in Jasper, said Marion County Mayor David Jackson. Webb had served as the county's roads chief since 2010.

"It was a great loss for our community," Jackson said.

"Neil was a great person and he was great to work with. He cared about his men and he cared about his job. He kept the office operating as efficiently as he could," Jackson said. "He was a good man."

A longtime friend of Webb's announced the news to county Democrats.

"It is my sad duty to inform you of the passing of Neil Webb, Marion County's Road Superintendent," Marion County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Lewis wrote in an email Tuesday. "Neil has been my friend for many years and he has served the people of Marion County well as a longtime employee of the Marion County Highway Department and for many years as superintendent."

Webb was seeking re-election, and Lewis said he still plans to vote for Webb "to honor his service to our county and our friendship."

Administrator of Elections Gary Reames said Webb's name will remain on the August ballot against Republican challenger James "Jim" Hawk.

Webb was appointed to the road superintendent post when it was vacated in 2010 by John Graham.

Graham became county mayor, replacing the late David Kirk.

Hawk previously challenged Webb in the 2012 race for road superintendent.

Reames said Webb could still win the August election but the result of that outcome would be a vacancy.

In the event of a vacancy, the County Commission becomes responsible for filling the seat, Jackson said Tuesday.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@times freepress.com or on Twitter at BenBenton or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ben.benton1 or 423-757-6569.

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