In Memoriam: Dr. John Willke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 21, 2015 (Cincinnati, OH): The pro-life movement worldwide mourns the loss of Dr. John Willke, who slipped quietly from this earth Friday evening, February 20, 2015, just two months short of his 90th birthday. His beloved wife, Barbara, preceded him in death April 2013–a soul mate he missed deeply.
“Dr. Willke was the leading statesman addressing the second civil rights struggle of our nation,” said Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. “He met with presidents and popes and crossed the globe, but his passion was always to ensure the right to life for helpless unborn children and other vulnerable people.”
Dr. Willke was a physician, author, lecturer, TV and radio personality, and expert in human sexuality. Until recently, he served as president of the national Life Issues Institute, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served for ten years as president of the U.S. National Right to Life Committee, and helped found the International Right to Life Federation.
His daily 5-minute radio program was carried on almost 400 radio stations for 18 years. His one-minute comments, Life Jewels, were broadcast in English and Spanish on over 1,000 stations reaching the U.S., Australia, South Africa, and Brazil.
Dr. and Mrs. Willke co-authored Abortion, Questions and Answers: Why Can’t We Love Them Both; Handbook on Abortion; Abortion and Slavery, History Repeats; Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia, Past & Present; plus six other books on human sexuality, videos, brochures, and more. Their works have been translated in over 30 languages worldwide.
Just last month, Dr. and Mrs. Willke’s autobiography Abortion and the Pro-Life Movement: An Inside Viewwas released, chronicling the life of this legendary couple. They were devoted to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and in all things strengthened by their strong Catholic faith.
Amidst these many efforts, Dr. and Mrs. Willke also founded Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati in the early 1970s and shared chairmanship for several years. They also founded the state organization, Ohio Right to Life, in Cincinnati at that time, then moved it to Columbus a few years later.
“Dr. Willke was a true giant in the pro-life movement, yet always warm, always humble, a mentor and a friend,” said Jack Hart, President, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. “We can never replace him. We can only do our best to carry on his legacy, and redouble our efforts to create the culture of life that he worked so hard and so well to bring about.”