Nellie Gray, president of March for Life, passed away over the weekend. She was 88.
Gray was a native of Big Spring, Texas. She served in World War II in the Women’s Army Corps. Her education included an undergraduate business degree, a master’s degree in economics, and ultimately a law degree from Georgetown Law Center.
Gray worked for more than 20 years for the U.S. government in the Departments of State and Labor. After retiring from her federal career, she played a key role in founding the March for Life in 1974, the peaceful pro-life demonstration against abortion held every year on the anniversary of 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 preborn.
In addition to her work for March for Life, Gray will be most remembered for her passionate stance that every life, born and preborn, aged and young, must be cherished and protected.
Until the very last moment of her life, Gray pressed for unity in the pro-life movement. She firmly believed that not a single preborn 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.
Judie Brown, president of American Life League, called Gray a shining light in her life from the first moment she heard her speak at the 1976 March for Life.
“The subjects of her talk were human personhood and her hero at the time, Sen. Jesse Helms, who led the fight for a personhood amendment to the Constitution from 1975 until his departure from the Senate,” Brown says.
“Nellie never wavered from principle and set a standard for every one of us in pro-life leadership. We will miss her, but we thank her for showing us the way to true, meaningful victory for every human being, born and preborn.”