Amherst Magazine
Dave Huber

DAVE HUBER (1936-1995)

After Amherst, where he was vice-president of Psi U, Dave Huber set out on a career path that, at first, seemed a predictable association with the family business. He received a master of forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry. From 1961 to 1972 he was a vice president of the J.M. Huber Corporation in charge of its timber and minerals division, whose Portland, Maine, office he established in 1964. He was a director of the corporation from 1961 until his death in 1995.

But then his priorities changed. His widow, Sherry, reflects, “Among all the good things about Dave, the one that may especially resonate with his classmates was his dedication to public service. In 1972 he resigned [from the family company]. He successfully ran for a seat in the Maine House of Representatives and during his first term sponsored and guided to enactment the Family Planning Services Act.

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“This statute ‘directed the state of Maine to make the very wisest of public health investments by appropriating state funds to support the delivery of family planning services to low-income women and teenagers,’ says George Hill, current Executive Director of the Family Planning Association of Maine. To this day, Maine continues to provide financial support to family planning services to a greater degree than the federal government's contribution.

“Following a two-year term in the Maine House, David ran for and was elected to the Maine Senate in 1974 and shortly thereafter became senate chair of the Appropriations Committee. He served in this capacity through 1982 and continued to champion reproductive health and freedom while doing the thankless work of trying fairly to appropriate too little money among too many legitimate needs.”

In 1994, a year before Dave died, the FamilyPlanning Association of Maine, of which he was a co-founder in 1989, established the David and Sherry Huber Award. The announcement included the statement "David and Sherry Huber's names,actions and achievements are inextricably linked to the notion that all women have the right to control the number of children they have and that all children have the right to be loved and wanted. It is for this reason that the Board of Directors of the Family Planning Association of Maine gratefully acknowledges the Hubers' many achievements by creating the David and Sherry Huber Award for Outstanding Contributions To Family Planning and Reproductive Health.”

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Circa 1973, taken at Gundall Island off Vinalhaven,
Maine, where the family has a summer house since
1963 – (l. to r.) Megan, Dave, Jen, Hilary, Sherry,
Nate, Luke

Among recipients of the award was Mt. Desert Island Regional High School (MDI) in 1994 on behalf of 30  students who formed the Student AIDS Committee. Due to their efforts, MDI became the first school in Maine to adopt a condom availability plan.

The citation went on to commend the students for performing skits for their classmates to teach about abstinence and condom use, working with 8th graders on postponing sexual involvement and developing a video addressing issues of self-esteem and personal responsibility. Other award winners, all of whom have championed family planning and reproductive freedom, have included Senator Olympia J. Snowe (1998) and  Mary J. Herman, wife of Governor Angus King (2002).

Sherry remembers, “David had a great sense of humor to go with his defense of reproductive freedom. One of  the remarks he is remembered for is ‘If you don't like abortion you better like family planning.’ Once when I  had to give a speech to a bunch of conservative Republicans he gave me the line: ‘Family planning isn't a communist plot or big brother in the bedroom. It's girl, boy, girl, boy, girl....’ Of course that was drawn from  our own family experience.”

David Goss Huber died of cancer Feb. 13, 1995.

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Dave’s wife, Sherry (l.), talks about Dave’s “great
sense of humor to go with his defense of reproductive
freedom.” Her sense of humor isn’t so bad
either, witness her T-shirt. The shirt reads "A Century
of Women on Top." (Taken about 1975.)
Taken on the porch of the Red Camp at David's family's
camp at Hay Pond, east of Baxter State Park in
northern Maine, early ‘70s – (l. to r.) Megan, Hilary,
Sherry, Dave, Luke, Jen, Nate
 

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