Son of Harold Shoemaker Webster and Grace Edel Gourley, Mr. Webster was born in Abington, PA, on May 12, 1933, and spent most of his childhood in Jenkintown, PA. He moved to West Dover in 1995, then neighboring Marlboro in 2002 after living in various communities in Massachusetts. He graduated from Gettysburg College in 1955 and served in the US Army in Germany from 1956 to 1958, starting a lifelong love affair with swimming by earning a medal in the Armed Forces Olympics. In 1960 he began a career working for consulting-publishing companies, eventually founding and running Datek Information Services in 1977. He also worked for several nonprofits including International Independence Institute and the Quaker retreat center on Pendle Hill, eventually founding the nonprofit Jubilee Center in 1988, promoting experiential worship.
Mr. Webster authored and published the following books; “Savoring One River,” the “Sufi Order of the West,” “Print Unchained a Saga of Invention and Enterprise,” “The Community Land Trust” (co-authored with Robert Swann), and “Transformational Joy.” He also helped publish “Eight Rabbits” (biography of George Humphreys), “Susan Webster poems” (a collection of poetry by his first wife), and “Songs From the Hills of Vermont” (collected by Edith Barnes Sturgis).
Mr. Webster was passionate and tireless in the pursuit of positive social change. From civil rights and tax resistance work in the 1960s, through counter-recruiting in high schools during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Webster never gave up hope that the world could be a more just and healthy place if only enough people worked to make it so. A bright-eyed seeker, Mr. Webster was a Quaker, a sufi, and a deep believer in the power of a spiritual life to build community, provoke healthy questioning, and offer glimpses of transcendence. Never shy to ask a question, express an opinion or whirl like a dervish, he was respected, admired, and cherished by all who knew him.
Mr. Webster was predeceased by his first wife, Susan Griggs, and his brother, David Webster. A loving father, grandfather, partner, and friend, Mr. Webster is survived by his sons, Mark, John and Chris; his step-children, Mike and Megan O’Donnell; his grandchildren, Rebecca, Haddie, and Ely; and by his partner, Edie Mas; her children, Alex and Carl; and her grandchildren, Sonja, Ronan, Mariella, and Nico.
A memorial service will be held at the Putney Friends Meeting House Saturday, September 21 at 3 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Putney Friends Meeting (PO Box 381, Putney, VT 05346), or CAN (Citizen’s Awareness Network, PO Box 83, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370).