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May 12, 2023

Bangor hospitals see benefit from $18M bequest

3 people posing Courtesy / St. Joseph Healthcare From left, St. Joseph Healthcare President Mary Prybylo, John Webber’s nephew Steven Spetnagel and Northern Light Health President and CEO Timothy Dentry pose for a photo following a joint press conference announcing $9 million gifts made to each organizations on behalf of the late John Webber’s estate.
Prior to his death in 2022, Webber bequeathed substantial donations to health care organizations, as well as Husson University and the University of Maine.
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Distributions totaling $18 million have gone to two health care organizations in Bangor.

The estate of the late John M. Webber this week said it distributed $9 million to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, along with $9 million to St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation. 

An additional undisclosed distribution of several million dollars to both organizations is anticipated after the estate is settled.  

Eastern Maine Medical 

The gift is the largest in the history of Eastern Maine Medical Center. The money will be used to advance technology, enhance access and support patient outcomes.

John Webber, a native of Bangor and  longtime supporter of the community,  attended local schools before serving his country as a member of an elite division of the U.S. Marine Corps, according to a news release.

After a decorated military career, he returned home to attend the University of Maine, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art. Through the years, he supported many nonprofit organizations in the Bangor community. According to the release, he valued the high-quality, specialty care that EMMC provides to the region. 

“The support of people like Mr. Webber ensures hospitals are able to keep pace with innovation in the tools and technology needed to continue to deliver high-quality health care to our community,” said Tim Dentry, president and CEO of Northern Light Health and interim president of Eastern Maine Medical Center. 

Dentry said Webber’s intention for the gift was to benefit the future of health care for the Bangor community. 

“A gift of such magnitude has a tremendous effect on patient care, one that will be felt for generations,” Dentry said. “John’s father was lifelong friends with my father,” said Dr. Frank Bragg, a  retired Eastern Maine Medical Center physician. “This community was incredibly important to the entire Webber family, and I’m pleased to see John carry on his family’s legacy by supporting the future of health care for the Bangor community.” 

Webber’s nephew, Steven Spetnagel, said his uncle “believed in sharing his resources and that it is the ongoing role of citizens to ensure that their community remains vibrant for future generations.”

Webber’s gift carries on a legacy of philanthropic support by the family. His late parents, G. Peirce and Florence Webber, were longtime donors to EMMC. Their many campaign gifts accomplished significant goals. The Webber family name is prominently displayed on the Webber Buildings at the Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center's State Street campus.

St. Joseph

As a community hospital, St. Joseph Healthcare relies on the generosity of community members like Webber in order to continue to provide high-quality, patient-centered, care to all, said the organization’s president, Mary Prybylo.

For many years, Webber received health care at St. Joseph from David Koffman, MD.  

“I am grateful that he included St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation in his estate plans,” said Koffman. “His gift will profoundly impact our community for years to come.”

According to Prybylo, Webber’s bequest will support ongoing efforts at St. Joseph to provide patient-friendly health care services to the community through enhancements to its inpatient and surgical care facilities. 

“Mr. Webber’s gift represents a significant investment in the health and well-being of our patients, patient caregivers, our care delivery team members, and our community,” she said. “St. Joseph Healthcare is committed to providing patient-friendly health care, including care designed to meet the unique physical, social and emotional needs of aging adults.”

The gift is expected to help “transform our care environment for patients and staff in our inpatient and surgical care facilities through improved accessibility, comfort, technology and more,” she added.

After his death in 2022, Webber made substantial donations to health care organizations, as well as Husson University and the University of Maine.

“Through his will, John became one of the largest charitable contributors in our region’s recent history,” said Brad Coffey, St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation’s president. 

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