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Pro-Life

Judy Gorman dedicated her life to saving lives

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Judy Gorman, director of the Office of Pro-Life Activities, marches at the March for Life in Washington D.C. January 22, 2002. Photo by Patrick McPartland

Judy Gorman will be remembered for her unyielding dedication to the unborn and the pro-life movement. While in her mid 50s, the mother of three went from taking care of her own children to speaking up for the 1.4 million unborn who were aborted that year. Gorman passed away April 9, at the age of 86.

Gorman served as director of Pro-Life Activities for the Diocese of Buffalo for 15 years before retiring in 2006. In this role, she supported the ongoing gatherings and educational programs, as well as initiating new ventures in the diocese. She would also relate the national and local issues to the public while making them understandable.

“Judy Gorman was really a pioneer, transitioning quickly from stay-at-home mom to full-time diocesan director of Pro-Life Activities,” said Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of Pro-Life Activities for the New York State Catholic Conference. “She faced the challenges head-on, and spearheaded some very beneficial pro-life programs in both a professional and personable manner. I am blessed God placed her in my path.”

Her faith and her love of children intertwined to form the roots of who Judy Gorman was. She and her husband, Bill, adopted and raised three children. When the kids came home from St. Margaret’s School in Buffalo, Judy was there with lunch waiting for them.

“She was just always there for us,” her daughter Elaine Xenos said.

A devout Catholic, Gorman made sure the family attend Mass every Sunday, even while on vacation.

“We never missed. It didn’t matter where we were. If we were on vacation somewhere, she’d look up the church in the hotel directory and we went to church if it was Sunday,” said Xenos.

In 1991, those roots blossomed into a ministry close to her heart as Gorman took on the role of director of the Office of Pro-Life Activities from its founder, Marian Barth.

“We knew this was her calling in life; to protect babies,” Xenos reflected.

Her dedication to the cause saw no limits, even if attending the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., meant missing her husband’s birthday.

After retiring in 2006, she remained a fixture at the march, as well as local protests against abortion, and encouraging others at the annual Pro-Vita Awards ceremony.

Cheryl Calire, the current director of Pro-Life Activities, recalled that endless generosity that Judy had.

“What I loved about Judy is, the first week that I started working here in the office, she came to the Catholic Center, introduced herself to me and said, ‘Cheryl, I just want you to know, anything that you want, anything that you need, I would be happy to assist and help you.’ She was beyond gracious and willing to share any of her knowledge or expertise.”

It was Judy’s idea to start the St. Gianna Molla Pregnancy Outreach Center. Originally conceived as the St. Gianna Molla Room to be located at the St. Vincent de Paul Center, the concept grew to become a five-location ministry that serves the needs of families by providing material, emotional and spiritual support. A sixth location will open soon.

“She was the brains behind the whole idea,” Calire said.

Judy, who lost her husband four years ago, is survived by her three children Elaine Xenos, Kathleen Bechtel and William H. Gorman III, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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