Autism Center benefactor passes away at 91

Just weeks before Joplin remembered those who were lost on May 22, 2011, one of the individuals who donated millions of dollars to rebuild it has died. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.

The Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism in Joplin, MO

Virginia Leffen and her husband Bill Leffen were one of the 1,000 of families who lost their home in the EF-5 tornado that tore a path through Joplin on that fateful day. Five months later, the Leffens would make a 3 million dollar contribution to Freeman Health System to help construct what we know as the Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism after the original Ozark Center for Autism facility was destroyed.

The donation allowed the center to have space for all autism services in a single location, including its diagnostic center and classrooms. The Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism has served 700 individuals since 2015 when the new facility was opened. Freeman President Paula Baker said, “Virginia was truly a compassionate and loving woman who will be long remembered and deeply missed.” Bill Leffen passed away in 2016. Virginia Leffen died Sunday at the age of 91. For KRPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro in Webb City

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