Controversial Westboro pastor dies

Phelps

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, died late Wednesday, a daughter of Phelps confirmed this morning.

Reached by phone in Topeka, Shirley Phelps-Roper confirmed her father had died at Midland Care Hospice.

Phelps had been in hospice care with an unknown illness. Church spokesman Steve Drain said Feb. 14 to a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter that Phelps was “healthy.”

On Sunday, he said anyone who said Fred Phelps Sr. was in poor health was not well informed.

According to son Nate Phelps, who was ousted from the group 37 years ago, Phelps Sr. was excommunicated in August 2013 from the church he founded for advocating more kindness toward its members.

The WBC is best known for anti-gay protests and picketing soldiers’ funerals.

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