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Fred Phelps
Fred Phelps 10-29-2002.jpg
Phelps in October 2002
Fred Waldron Phelps

(1929-11-13)November 13, 1929
Died March 19, 2014(2014-03-19) (aged 84)
Occupation Pastor, lawyer
Organization Westboro Baptist Church
Margie Marie Simms (m. 1952)
Children 13, including
Shirley Phelps-Roper and
Nathan Phelps
Relatives Megan Phelps-Roper (granddaughter)

Fred Waldron Phelps Sr. (November 13, 1929 – March 19, 2014) was an American pastor, civil rights activist and disbarred lawyer. He was born in Meridian, Mississippi. He is best known for heading the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), an independent Baptist church based in Topeka, Kansas. He was often called "the most hated man in America".

Early life

On September 3, 1935, when Phelps was five years old, his mother died of esophageal cancer. After the death of their mother, Phelps and his younger sister were raised by their great-aunt Irene Jordan in Meridian. In 1950, Jordan died in a car accident. On December 25, 1944, Phelps' father married Olive Briggs, and Phelps and his sister were raised by their father and stepmother in Meridian.

Legal career

Phelps earned a law degree from Washburn University in 1964. He started the Phelps Chartered law firm. In 1989 Phelps' legal career ended.

Political views

Phelps was a member of the Democratic Party.


Phelps died from congestive heart failure on the morning of March 19, 2014 in Topeka, Kansas. He was 84 years old.

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