August 14, 2012 – The National Pro-Life Center on Capitol Hill mourns the death of of Miss Nellie Gray, constitutional attorney and foundress of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Father Paul C.B. Schenck, NPLC’s founding director and chair, said: “Nellie Gray lived her life well, she was devoted to the most vulnerable members of her human community, to justice and right. She remains an inspirational leader, a woman willing to stand against the currents regardless of the cost. As a champion of the right to life, human dignity and the common good, she almost single-handedly sustained the longest enduring public protest in American history, the March for Life. May God receive her now and may He bless her work to the end that all human life is respected and protected.”
Nellie said that others helped her organize the first March for Life in 1974, but they needed somewhere to gather, so she opened up her apartment for the cause. Little did she know back in 1973 that the March for Life would become America’s largest longstanding series of marches on Washington - little did she expect it would take so long to overturn the Supreme Court’s devastating rulings.
In 2011, when WND interviewed Nellie, she said: “Why do we come out to Washington officialdom to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court declaring that our innocent pre-born brothers and sisters are not persons and some people could intentionally kill them with impunity in America? Because the killing of one innocent person is the killing of too many. But over the last 38 years, America has suffered the intentional killing of more than 50 million pre-born children.”
Nellie Gray, Pro-Life Hero – 1926-2012
Nellie Gray, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, passed away over the weekend at the age of 86. Nellie was a native of Big Spring, Texas. She served in World War II in the Women’s Army Corps. Nellie’s education included an undergraduate business degree, a master degree in economics, and ultimately a law degree. Nellie worked for almost 30 years for the U.S. Government in the Departments of State and Labor.
After retiring from her federal career, Nellie played a key role in founding the March for Life, the peaceful pro-life demonstration held every year on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Roe v. Wade. She soon emerged as the leader of the annual event and as an outspoken, eloquent advocate for the most vulnerable members of our society, the pre-born.
In addition to her heroic work for the March for Life, Nellie will be most remembered for her passionate stance that every life, born and pre-born, aged and young, must be cherished and protected: No exception! No compromise!
Until the very last moment of her life, Nellie pressed for unity in the pro-life movement. She firmly believed that not a single pre-born life should be sacrificed for any reason, and urged all pro-life organizations to adopt the March for Life’s signature statement, the Life Principles, as the guiding light for all participants in the noble cause to which she devoted her life.
Nellie has been a giant in the pro-life movement. As we approach the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we will continue to honor Nellie’s memory by doing everything possible to protect every pre-born human person and to end the scourge of abortion in the United States.
The portrait of Nellie Gray comes from the March for Life Education and Defense Fund.