March for Life founder passes away

Last night came sad news that the 88-year-old founder of the March for Life, Nellie Gray, had passed away. has a more detailed bio, but in brief, from Wikipedia:

Nellie J. Gray (1924-2012) was an American pro-life activist, who founded the annual March for Life in 1974, following the Supreme Court ruling, Roe v Wade, which decriminalized abortion the previous year.

A native of Texas and a Roman Catholic convert, Gray enlisted June 27, 1944 at Camp Bennett, Texas, and served as a corporal in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. She later earned a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s in economics.

She was an employee of the federal government for almost three decades, at the Departments of State and Labor. After attending Georgetown University Law School, she became a practicing lawyer. After Roe v Wade, she retired from her professional life and became a pro-life activist, beginning with the March for Life.

That first March saw 20,000 attend. Participation has grown every year to several hundred thousand, many to most young. And Nellie has attended every one.

Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, wrote in an email:

A pro-life giant has died today.  With Nellie Gray’s passing I am prompted to think about the self-less warriors who when they were in their 40s or 50’s jumped into the cause of life when Roe v. Wade was handed down and dedicated their remaining years – decades of dedication – to ending the slaughter of the unborn.

Nellie is in those ranks of the first leaders who showed the rest of us the way.

I last saw Nellie in Washington, D.C., in July, looking as spry as ever. Her death comes as a shock.

Nellie was an important figure in our movement. We can thank her for helping inspire two generations to pro-life youth, for launching an annual touchstone for our movement, and for providing a yearly reminder to the world of the devastating Roe v. Wade decision. Nellie will be missed.

[Photo of Nellie at the 2010 March for Life via Renata Photography]

14 thoughts on “March for Life founder passes away”

  1. May her righeous acts precede her. May she be numbered with Shiphrah and Puah and Esther and Deborah and Mary, the mother of our LORD. May the will of GOD continue to prosper the fruit of the labor of her hands and her heart.

    May her children perpetually rise up and call her blessed.

    She who gives to he poor, lends to the LORD and HE will repay her kindness with an everlasting blessing that flows from generation to generation, now and forever more.

    The LORD honors those who honor HIM.


  2. I had the honor of standing with her on that March for Life platform for many years with my “I regret my abortion” sign.  I looked at her and thought…there I am.  She never married and fought this battle even through she didn’t always want to.  Me single and not really wanting to hold that sign or even speak out after a few years of doing it…but you do, not for me but for the TRUTH, not for me but for the others who need to see they too can stand tall and speak out about what abortion has done to them. 

    Thank you Nellie for your “YES”…you did good faithful servant of God.  I am willing to bet a sainthood is in the works at this very moment.


  3. Ann marie~ I was thinking the same thing yesterday;  that dear lady in her red coat. She was a saint amongst us!
    I also thought it ironic about the coinciding passing of Helen Gurley Brown. Both were feminists and trailblazers of their time. One was an architect of the culture of death, that led many a women down the wrong path to hell. Nellie, was the polar opposite of Gloria, an unselfish woman who gave her whole life to the cause of LIFE. How many young people were inspired by Nellie, hundreds of thousands? nellie helped to expose the evil of the lies and deceptions of the 60’s and 70’s spun by Gloria. Nellie never compromised her convictions of the natural truths. Gloria helped lead the masses to the sexual revolution, that led to the millions of unintended pregnancies. Nellie saw the the wisdom of giving us (post abortive women) a platform to tell the truth about abortion and how it hurt us, which  has helped to expose that abortion is not safe, simple or a solution. We can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that Nellie was recieved in heaven by a chorus of voices welcoming her, those precious aborted souls that had no voice here on earth.  I think this quote say it best by Congressman Henry Hyde…

    “When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God – and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world – and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, ‘Spare him because he loved us,’ – and God will look at you and say not, ‘Did you succeed?’ but ‘Did you try?’

    Nellie gave her every waking breath to fight the good fight; well done good and faithful servant. We will miss you dearly on that platform, but we know that the heavens rejoiced, as they welcomed you home.
    As for Gloria, I pray she had a deathbed conversion….


  4. @muriel: It was HELEN Gurley Brown, not Gloria Steinem. The 2 of them did not agree on many things.

    Does anyone know if Nellie Gray was named after the song “Darling Nelly Gray”? 


  5. Whoah, can’t believe I mixed them up, except that whenever i think of radical feminists, Gloria comes to mind. They were different (Helen and Gloria) but alike in that they were/are not true feminists. Sorry for the typo…


  6. muriel says:
    August 16, 2012 at 10:20 am
    Whoah, can’t believe I mixed them up, except that whenever i think of radical feminists, Gloria comes to mind. They were different (Helen and Gloria) but alike in that they were/are not true feminists. Sorry for the typo…

    (Denise) Gloria Steinem disliked Helen Gurley Brown and Cosmopolitan. Steinem thinks there’s too much emphasis on pleasing men and on fashion and make-up.  


  7. Denise, They were alike in their beliefs on womens reproductive rights, contraception and abortion. Those are the building blocks, that built a culture of death and reduced women to objects for man’s pleasure. Sadly, the women’s movement that they were both part of, has done little for women IMHO. As we raise our daughters, we have to fight the culture that wants to turn our little girls into sex objects with the fashion, makeup etc.
    Nellie fought for the respect and dignity of every woman, born and preborn.


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