Life Issues Institute Hosts Event in Memory of Late Pro-Life Pioneer Dr. Jack Willke

Dr. John C. WilkeLife Issues Institute President Bradley Mattes hosted a memorial reception to honor the life of pro-life pioneer Dr. John C. (Jack) Willke on Tuesday, July 21, in Washington, DC.

"Jack’s death left an enormous hole in my heart and I can’t tell you how good it was to fellowship with those who knew Jack and his monumental contribution to the pro-life movement," commented Mattes after the memorial reception. "Sharing cherished memories with one another helped me find closure as I’m sure it did for others who loved him and Barbara."

Dr. Willke went to be with the Lord on February 20 at age 89. He and his late wife, Barbara, are revered as the parents of the modern pro-life movement.

Beginning in the 1960s, the Willkes traveled the world to educate millions about the reality of abortion. Their influential first book, Handbook on Abortion, sold 1.5 million copies, and their materials have been translated into 32 languages. Through more than 40 years of pro-life activism, the couple drew thousands of workers to the movement.

"Jack was considered the father and grandfather of the pro-life movement," recalled Mattes.

Dr. Willke served 10 years as President of National Right to Life and in 1991 co-founded Life Issues Institute with Mattes to produce educational materials for the movement.

The memorial reception on Tuesday was sponsored by Life Issues Institute, Americans United for Life, 40 Days for Life, Caring to Love ministries, Sanctity of Life Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, Charlotte Lozier Institute, Susan B Anthony List, Family Research Council, Vitae Caring Foundation, Concerned Women for America, MDS Communications, and Natural Food Science.

Among those who attended were Dr. Linda Smith, Executive Vice President & COO of NRB; Joseph M. Scheidler, National Director of the Pro-Life Action League; Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); and Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President & CEO of Americans United for Life.

The reception was held at the offices of Americans United for Life.

By NRB Staff

Published: July 23, 2015

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