Pro-Life Student Advocate Jon Scharfenberger Passes Away

National   Steven Ertelt   Oct 18, 2011   |   12:22PM    Washington, DC

Jon Scharfenberger, a staff member for Students for Life of America, passed away Tuesday morning from complications suffered after a tragic automobile accident that also claimed the lives of Kortney Blythe Gordon and her unborn baby Sophy.

Gordon, Scharfenberger and two pro-life students were driving back from the Students for Life of America Georgia conference when their vehicle was struck by another head on in a massive collision. The driver of the other vehicle was reportedly speeding and passing cars on a two-lane road. Gordon and her unborn child, Sophy, were immediately killed upon impact and Scharfenberger was in critical condition following the accident.

“The team at SFLA is beyond saddened by the news that Jon Scharfenberger, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator and Campus Support Coordinator for Students for Life of America, passed away this morning due to complications from injuries he sustained from the same car accident that claimed the life of SFLA leader Kortney Blythe Gordon and her pre-born daughter, Sophy, on October 8th,” SFLA said in a statement.

“Jon had many successes in his short time with us at SFLA, including establishing a pro-life campus group at Florida International University that was successful in saving the life of a pre-born baby, a mere one week after its creation,” SFLA said. “We continue to offer prayers of support for Jon’s family and friends and grieve during this incredibly difficult time for our organization and mission.”

“Because of your outpouring, the team at SFLA was able to pay Kortney and Sophy’s burial costs 100%. We encourage all of our supporters to donate to help pay for Jon’s burial costs as well.  All proceeds are tax-deductible and 100% of gifts received through this page or otherwise noted will be donated to the Scharfenberger family,” SFLA said. “All of our love and prayers to Jon, Kortney, Sophy, and the Scharfenberger, Blythe, and Gordon families.”

On Monday of last week, SFLA executive director Kristan Hawkins he was not doing well and she had flown to Georgia to be with Jon and his family.

After the accident, Gerard Nadal, the director of Medical Students for Life and a LifeNews blogger, kept the pro-life community informed of Jon’s condition. Yesterday, Nadal reported that Scharfenberger was facing significant medical difficulties.

“Late yesterday I received word that the physicians have induced a 72-hour coma in Jon. In the meantime, we wait, and hope, and pray,” he wrote Monday morning. Later in the day, he added, “Jon has spiked a fever of 108 degrees F, which can be lethal. Urgent prayers are needed as this battle has taken a terrible turn for him.”

Scharfenberger was the Campus Support Coordinator and Pregnant on Campus Coordinator for Students for Life of America and he traveled to college campuses working with pro-life groups to create and obtain tangible goals that impact both their campus and local community. He worked to provide a vision and plan to the over 600 campus pro-life groups across the nation by creating guides and projects that pro-life groups can use in order to provide timely and essential resources to students facing unplanned, crisis pregnancies.

A native of Warwick, New York, Jon graduated with a BA in Philosophy from Ave Maria University in the spring of 2011. He served as President of AMU Students for Life where he led many successful pro-life initiatives. In his years as President, he helped fundraise over $30,000 for the club and committed membership soared from 30 members to over 150 by his final year. In September, 2009 he organized a successful overnight prayer vigil to protest the opening of a new Planned Parenthood, which gained widespread media coverage.

He interned for SFLA in the summer of 2010 and also gained experience on Capitol Hill as an intern for Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS.) Jon joined SFLA in the summer of 2011 to continue to train and equip the next generation of pro-life leaders. Jon also interned at the National Right to Life Committee.