In Memoriam:  Pro-Life Pioneer Barbara Willke

Barbra and John WillkePro-life pioneer Barbara Willke, whose husband co-founded the Life Issues Institute, passed away peacefully this past Sunday after suffering a severe head injury due to a fall.

“Her passing will leave a great void in the lives and hearts of all those who knew her and in the Christian community,” remarked NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright.

For over four decades, Willke diligently worked alongside her husband, Dr. J.C. Willke, to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb. According to Life Issues Institute, she was instrumental in the founding of Cincinnati Right for Life, where she was a passionate advocate for life. Using public speaking, slide shows, and newsletters, Willke helped educate the public to the violence of abortion and positive alternatives from the earliest days of the pro-life movement.

“Barbara was like a mother to me,” commented Bradley Mattes, Life Issues Institute Executive Director and NRB Board Member. “She and Jack have been my inspiration and mentors for the 38 years I’ve been in the pro-life movement. The impact she and Jack have had on the pro-life movement is immeasurable.”

In an e-mail Tuesday, Mattes encouraged pro-life supporters to reach out to Dr. Willke via e-mail with a word of thanks for what he and his wife have sacrificially done over the years, and to include a few words of comfort and encouragement.

Appropriate information on how to send flowers or mail a card will be made available on the Life Issues Institute website at Details regarding the funeral will also be posted there.

“Please also pray that Life Issues Institute – under the continued leadership of Dr. Willke – will carry on the precious legacy begun by him and Barbara so many years ago,” Mattes concluded. “May we follow Barbara’s example of being faithful in running the race to the end.”

Published: April 18, 2013