Tom Webber, who served as executive director for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota for nearly 30 years, died Thursday, the organiztion said. He was 71.
Webber joined Planned Parenthood in 1971 and during his tenure it opened dozens of clinics in the area. During many of those years, Planned Parenthood faced strong opposition to its abortion services and endured periods of violence, including a firebombing of the Highland Park clinic in 1977. Webber was attacked and injured in his office in 1989.
He retired in 2000.
Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of PPMNS, said in a statement:
Upon his arrival as Executive Director in the 1970s, Tom grew this affiliate from two small metro clinics into a two-state system of desperately needed reproductive health care for women. Because of his pioneering work and clear-headed vision, Planned Parenthood was able to reach many women who would otherwise not have received the reproductive health care they needed. During the course of his leadership over a million women received care at Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood said it is establishing a fund in Webber’s honor, to “ensure that the advocacy Tom demonstrated and made possible for so many others during his life will continue for generations to follow.” Gifts can be directed to the Thomas Webber Advocacy Fund for Women, 671 Vandalia Street, Suite 323, St. Paul, MN 55114.