By Dave Andrusko
Terribly sad news to report. Mrs. Barbara Willke, a kind and generous woman who, along with her husband Jack, was one of the earliest pioneers of the pro-life movement, passed away on Sunday. Mrs. Willke, 90, died peacefully at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati after suffering a severe head injury due to a fall. Funeral arrangements are pending.
I knew Mrs. Willke primarily through her husband who was President of National Right to Life for ten years and is currently president of Life Issues Institute.
Life Issues Institute issued the following statement.
For over four decades, Barbara diligently worked alongside her husband, Dr. J.C. Willke, to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb. While the news of her passing is cause for grief, her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of the pro-life movement.
Barbara was instrumental in the founding of Cincinnati Right for Life. From its earliest days, she was a passionate advocate for life using public speaking, slide shows and newsletters to help educate the public to the violence of abortion and positive alternatives.
“Barbara was like a mother to me. She and Jack have been my inspiration and mentors for the 38 years I’ve been in the pro-life movement,” said Bradley Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute. “The impact she and Jack have had on the pro-life movement is immeasurable.”
The Willkes were inseparable as a couple and their many books and pamphlets and slide shows were in every sense of the term a joint product. Their materials have been translated into many languages but their first language was love.