By Carol Tobias, President
Geline Williams is a lady of intelligence, beauty, charm, and class. She is, overall, an incredible woman. And for 48 years, she has used her quiet dignity to shape and lead the right-to-life movement in ways unknown to many.
In 1967, Geline and her husband, Alex, began the first pro-life group in the nation—the Virginia Society for Human Life. In 1968, she and other pro-life leaders from around the country helped form and grow the National Right to Life Committee. In 1981, she became National Right to Life’s chairman of the board. This spring, after 34 years in that position, Geline retired as chairman, although she remains on the National Right to Life Board as the director from Virginia.
On Thursday, August 27, the Catholic churches in Richmond, Virginia, lead by St. Mary’s and St. Bridget’s parishes, used the occasion of Geline’s retirement as National Right to Life Board chairman to honor her for her tireless work in the right-to-life movement. The Mass and reception in her honor made for a beautiful evening befitting a beautiful lady.
The service began with a long procession of priests and deacons, led by the Knights of Columbus color guard. Beautiful music was provided by a small orchestra and the choirs from the host churches. At the end of Mass, Father Michael Renninger and Monsignor William Carr escorted Geline to the hall for an astonishing reception. The entire event was a sincere display of affection, love, and respect for who Geline is and all that she has accomplished.
The program for the evening noted that Geline has been active in civic affairs and served on many boards and commissions including the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, and Christian Children’s Fund (now Child Fund International).
She was elected to the Richmond City Council in 1984, and served as Mayor from 1988-1990 – one of only two women to have held that office. She was founding chair of the board of directors of the national Combined Sewer Overflow Partnership and was appointed by Virginia Governor George Allen to serve on the Virginia Commission on Local Government.
Geline served as president of the Richmond Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and is on the board of the McMahon Parater Foundation, which is dedicated to the support and enhancement of diocesan schools.
Geline has received many honors and awards, including receiving the Benemerenti Medal from Pope John Paul II, the highest honor given by the Catholic Church to a lay person, and has met with three U.S. Presidents.
It was an honor to join pro-life leaders from National Right to Life and Virginia, leaders in the Richmond Catholic community, former Congressman Tom Bliley, and several hundred friends and family to recognize the innumerable contributions made to this country by one remarkable woman.