Colorado 9/11 Activist Loses Fight with Stomach Cancer

Bob McFarland, physician and activist, dies
By Ryan Morgan
Thursday, November 27, 2008

bob-mcfarlandMcFarland moved to Boulder with his wife, Zoe, and daughter Laura in 1961. Their son, Bruce, was born that same year. In 1970, McFarland set up the People’s Clinic to help poor, transient youths get good medical care.

Doctors weren’t exactly clamoring to take those patients at the time, Zoe McFarland said Tuesday. But she said her husband didn’t hesitate to reach out and take over the job.

“Most people shy away from causing a hassle for themselves, but he never shied away from that,” she said. “He took care of a lot of people in his practice and didn’t charge them. He took care of hippies when other people wouldn’t.”

The People’s Clinic was just one of McFarland’s causes. He also helped run the Boulder Valley Clinic. After a child-abuse death in the early 1980s, he started the Parenting Place in the early 1980s to educate new parents to prevent child abuse. This year, he helped raise thousands of dollars to open up a similar facility in Boulder’s sister city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

He served as a physician at the Boulder County Jail, providing cheap care to inmates.

McFarland embraced sometimes-controversial causes. He helped start a facility to provide abortions, in 1973. He ran a methadone clinic to help people addicted to drugs. Late in his life, he joined groups whose members argued that the U.S. government had a role in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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