Helen “Dibby” Webber


Helen “Dibby” Webber died peacefully on Dec. 20 at the age of 98 at Seaport Village, where she received gentle and respectful care. Helen was the daughter of Howard Barton and Helen Flood Barton. Her childhood was spent in Cleveland and she attended Radcliffe College, where she met George “Bill” Webber. They were married on Aug. 27, 1943. Upon graduation from college, Helen joined the WAVES.

When World War II ended, Helen and Bill moved to New York City and lived at Union Theological Seminary, where Bill was a student. Helen received an MA degree in English literature from Columbia in 1949. In 1952, Helen and Bill bought a summer home in Sorrento and spent a portion of every summer there until Bill’s death in 2010. In the spring of 1957, Helen and Bill moved their family to East Harlem and became members of the group ministry of the East Harlem Protestant Parish. Within a year, Helen had founded the East Harlem Tutorial Program, which thrives to this day. From 1973-1986, Helen served as the first female executive director of the Health and Welfare Division of the Board of Homeland Ministries at the National Office of the United Church of Christ.

At the age of 93, Helen moved to Sorrento to live with her daughter Peggy and husband, Al. Helen will be remembered for her great love of music, books, sailing, rowing and island picnics, for her commitment to the education of the children of East Harlem and for her efforts to make this country and this world a fairer, more just place.

She is survived by her five children and their husbands and wives, 11 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.