Dr. Jack Willke, who was often considered the father of the modern-day pro-life movement, has passed away.
A medical doctor by trade, Willke, along with his late wife Barbara, crisscrossed the nation in the 1960s and 1970s teaching people about the fight for life and helping set up some of the first state and local Right to Life groups combating abortion before and after the infamous Roe v. Wade decision.
Willke is the past president of National Right to Life, and was president of the Life Issues Institute and president emeritus, International Right to Life Federation.
With Barbara, Dr. Willke co-authored twelve books on human sexuality and abortion. Together they created audio and visual materials that were proven to be basic teaching tools throughout the world. Their materials have been translated into 30 languages on all five continents. They frequently appeared on radio and TV shows and have spoken in 64 different countries.
Brad Mattes, of Life Issues Institute and a longtime close friend of Dr. Willke, said, “It breaks my heart to tell you that our beloved Jack Willke died this afternoon and is now reunited with his wife in heaven.”
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“We are deeply saddened to report that Dr. Jack Willke, president of Life Issues Institute, passed away unexpectedly at his home on Friday, February 20. Dr. Willke and his wife Barbara, who proceeded him in death, were considered the parents of the pro-life movement. Their educational materials have been responsible for educating millions on abortion and were translated into 32 languages,” he said.
Mattes added: “Words can’t possibly express how sad we feel. Jack was almost 90 and we new the time was approaching when he’d join his dear Barbara in heaven, but it’s hard to say goodbye. Jack has been my mentor and colleague for over 23 years and was a second father to me.”
Life Issues Institute is dedicated to continuing the pro-life legacy begun by the Willkes that dates back to the sixties. Dr. Willke often expressed that he didn’t expect to see the reversal of abortion in his lifetime. His dream of ending the brutality of abortion will ultimately be realized by those he and Barbara brought into the movement and trained.
Mattes said, “I can only imagine the greeting Jack received in heaven. Millions of babies who he tirelessly worked to saved, joyfully welcoming him home.”
Dr. Willke was instrumental in creating what is now the modern-day Right to Life movement and there is no telling how many people how been saved from abortions because of his direct efforts and the efforts of thousands and thousands of people who got involved in the pro-life movement because of his tireless efforts. He was the rudder for the pro-life ship for so long and his wisdom and moral clarity will be greatly missed.