HomeoldMrs. Barbara Willke, R.I.P.

Mrs. Barbara Willke, R.I.P.

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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.

It’s with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to Mrs. Barbara Willke, whose passing leaves a profound void in the realm of pro-life advocacy. Mrs. Willke, a staunch defender of the sanctity of life, dedicated her life’s work to championing the rights of the unborn and promoting a culture of life.

As a co-founder of the Right to Life movement alongside her husband, Dr. John C. Willke, Barbara played a pivotal role in shaping the discourse surrounding abortion in the United States. Together, they tirelessly advocated for legislation that protected the rights of the unborn and provided support for expectant mothers facing challenging circumstances.

Mrs. Willke’s unwavering commitment to the pro-life cause was evident in her tireless efforts to educate the public about the realities of abortion and to empower individuals to become advocates for life. Her compassionate demeanor, coupled with her steadfast resolve, made her a beloved figure within the pro-life community and beyond.

Throughout her life, Barbara Willke touched the lives of countless individuals, leaving an indelible mark on the movement to protect the unborn. Her legacy serves as a beacon of hope for future generations of pro-life advocates, inspiring us to continue the fight for the rights of the most vulnerable members of society.

As we mourn the loss of Mrs. Barbara Willke, let us also celebrate her remarkable life and legacy. May her passion for life, her unwavering conviction, and her dedication to the cause of life serve as an enduring inspiration to us all. And may we honor her memory by continuing the work she so passionately pursued—to build a world where every life is valued, cherished, and protected.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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