Dee Becker’s heart broke in 1969 when her home state of Delaware legalized abortion. She made a promise to God that she wouldn’t rest until the unborn were once again safe in their mothers’ womb, and she never broke that promise.
We met Dee in January 1994 when we first attended the March for Life as representatives of Priests for Life. Father Frank Pavone had become national director in 1993 and although Janet Morana was a volunteer at that time, she was the backbone of the organization long before becoming executive director 2000.
By then Dee had been the vice president of the March for Life for decades, working alongside its president, Nellie Gray, to organize in the nation’s capital an annual peaceful and prayerful protest of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand throughout pregnancy.
Like Nellie, Dee believed if she could raise awareness of the issue Americans would rise up against abortion. Once she understood that was not the case, she never gave in to despair and she never gave up the fight.
Dolores Rheinwalt Becker, 93, went home to God on April 13, 2020. The family asked Fr. Frank to celebrate her funeral mass, but because of the China virus, plans got delayed longer and longer. Now, a memorial service will take place Saturday, Aug, 14, in Wilmington, Delaware, with Priests for Life Associate Director Father Denis Wilde, OSA, concelebrating mass.
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Father Frank will celebrate an online mass for Dee on Monday, Aug. 16, at
10 a.m. ET. It can be seen at EndAbortion.tv and all the streaming platforms linked from there.
Dee and her husband of 65 years, Dick Becker – a World War II veteran she met on a trolley – were the parents of seven children but somehow Dee found time to serve on the founding committee of Holy Child Church, to found Delaware Right to Life and the Delaware Pro-Life Coalition, and to be an integral part of organizing the annual March for Life in Washington, including running its essay contest for many years.
An enthusiastic supporter of Priests for Life, Dee arranged for us to speak at many events in Maryland and Delaware, and often hosted us at her home. Among our most treasured memories are the many experiences we shared with Dee and Dick.
Dee introduced us to Father John Klevence in Ocean City, Maryland. Father Frank and other priests from our organization would lead parish weekends at his parish, which was great for us because people from all over came to vacation at Ocean City. It helped us get the word out about our ministry and enlist new soldiers in the war against abortion. Dee and Fr. Klevence even arranged for us to conduct a Face the Truth tour there at the Ocean City boardwalk, showing the vacationers the reality of abortion.
When Janet founded the Silent No More Awareness Campaign with Georgette Forney, president of Anglicans for Life, Dee immediately recognized how valuable the voices of women who had abortions would be to the pro-life movement. Beginning in 2004, when the campaign was still new, she invited several women to stand on stage at the March for Life Rally, holding signs that said “I Regret My Abortion.” The March also invited the women to be in the vanguard of the procession, ensuring our group reached the Supreme Court, where each year since, women and men of the campaign have talked about the damaging impact abortion has had on their lives, and how they found healing after undergoing that terrible tragedy.
Dee loved the Catholic Church, going to mass and receiving communion daily. She and her husband were knighted by Pope John Paul II into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and a portrait of them wearing the uniform of the order was given a place of prominence in their home.
She loved all of God’s people but she had a special place in her heart for the least of these, the children in the womb. Some called her the grandmother of the pro-life movement, and she certainly was that. We were fortunate to be able to call her our friend and will draw inspiration from her life for years to come.