"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.Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life in a response to her death said, "Nellie Gray and the March for Life had a most profound effect on my life." In 1976, when he was a senior in high school, Father Pavone went to the March for Life with his mother and grandmother. Although he had been quietly considering the priesthood before that, the March cemented both his vocation and his passion for pro-life issues. "Every year since 1974, Nellie Gray has mobilized a diverse and energetic army for life," said Father Pavone, who has attended every march since his first one. "Her own commitment to the cause never wavered. She was a tireless warrior for the unborn and her motto was 'no exceptions.'"
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 (WAC) 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.
Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, called Nellie Gray "the Joan of Arc of the Gospel of life".
Bryan Kemper, founder of Stand True Ministry and director of Youth Outreach for Priests for Life, said: "My heart is broken by the loss of Nellie Gray, a true pro-life hero and role model. At the same time I celebrate that Nellie is with our Lord who she loved so dearly. I have had the honor of working with Nellie for years and every time I March in DC in January, I know she will be watching over us and praying for us. Nellie Gray, I will miss you dearly."
Former presidential candidate and president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, Gary Bauer responded with sorrow the passing of Nellie Gray, "the visionary founder of the March for Life who understood the importance of marking the tragic anniversary of Roe v. Wade by gathering hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans together to mourn those we've lost. I send my condolences to the family of Nellie Gray, who served as a clarion call for a pro-life America that valued all its citizens, born and unborn. In sometimes daunting January weather, Nellie stood firm and brought hundreds of thousands together for the hope of restored civil rights protections for the unborn and for the protection of women and girls who are also victims of abortion. She will be greatly missed, but she set an example for us all to follow of determination and conviction for a pro-life America."
Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: While serving in the military, our hands were tied in protesting even the killing of the unborn. Immediately after retiring, my wife and I openly became activist for life. I will never forget that while battling the lies and deceit of the hatred from Hell itself for mankind, kneeling with with my wife at March for Life rallies in Washington, D.C. and praying for repentance for those advocating the taking of life and for the life of the innocent unborn which were being slaughtered. I am thankful for Nellie Gray founding the March for Life. In her memory, I joined others on twitter to mention her passing with the following tweet: @arra "My condolences to the friends & family of Nellie Gray - founder of March for Life - a true hero in the #prolife fight". May we all continue her struggle to protect life.
Tags: Nellie Gray, dead, Aug 14, 2012, Right to Life, founder, pro-life anti-abortion To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the Greater Fitchburg For Life. Thanks!