Martha McPhee, the president of the Animal Humane Society, died on Feb. 6 at her home in Minneapolis, Minn. She was 51.
A graduate of Yale University (Conn.), Mrs. McPhee received her law degree from Harvard Law School (Mass.) in 1981 before moving to Minneapolis to work as an associate for the Dorsey & Whitney law firm.
From 2000 until 2003, Mrs. McPhee served as Chief Operating Officer of Minnesota Public Radio before taking two years off from work to serve as a volunteer on numerous local charitable organizations and to travel.
After becoming president of the AHS in 2005, Mrs. McPhee orchestrated the merger of three local area humane societies to form one of the five largest organizations of animal care, protection and outreach in the country, serving more than 35,000 animals annually. She was named CEO of the newly merged humane society in January 2007.
Mrs. McPhee’s vision for the new organization was formed during a 2005 trip to Beaumont, Texas, where she led a 10-person delegation that helped rescue animals and find them homes in the aftermath of hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
“Martha had many passions in her life, and most important to her were her children, travel and what she called the ‘human-animal bond,’ ” said her husband, John Taft. “She pursued each to the fullest with intelligence, conviction, focus, loyalty and elegance.”
She is survived by her husband; children Mary Taft-McPhee, Brooklyn, N.Y., Lauren Taft-McPhee, Seattle, Wash., and Colin Taft-McPhee, Minneapolis, Minn.; mother, Mary Kay McPhee, Kansas City, Mo.; brother Mark McPhee, Kansas City; and four nephews and three nieces.
Memorial donations may be made to the Animal Humane Society. Animal Humane Society, 845 Meadow Lane, North Golden Valley, MN 55422.