RIP, local pro-life hero Chuck Pelletier January 18, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, contraception, Dallas Diocese, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, manhood, mortification, sanctity, Society, true leadership, Virtue.
You’ve probably never heard of Chuck Pelletier if you live outside the DFW area, but he was almost solely responsible for starting up the pro-life effort in the Diocese of Fort Worth. A Vietnam war hero who was severely injured (and paralyzed) after being shot down while piloting his AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter in combat, he did not let his painful physical condition keep him from an active life of service to others. Mr. Pelletier died late last week at the age of 72.
A nice eulogy from the FW diocesan newspaper, the North Texas Catholic:
Clutching his ever-present rosary, Capt. Charles J. (Chuck) Pelletier II, a tireless advocate for the unborn and decorated Vietnam War hero, died Jan. 14 surrounded by loving family and friends. He was 72.
A Mass of Christian Burial is planned for 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 22 in St. Patrick Cathedral — 1206 Throckmorton Street in downtown Fort Worth. A Rosary service will be held Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. also at St. Patrick Cathedral.
A native of Michigan and graduate of Notre Dame University, Pelletier and his wife, Pat, opened Mother and Unborn Baby Care of North Texas in June 1984. Their dedication to the crisis pregnancy center, along with the work of volunteers and donors, is credited with saving more than 9,000 lives.
For more than three decades, Pelletier led the Good Friday Vigil for Life outside local abortion centers. He and his wife also organized a diocese-wide Mass for Babies Who Died Before Baptism every October.
Several days a week, the Pelletiers and other volunteers braved ice storms, heat waves, and rain to pray outside abortion centers and offer assistance and support to women arriving for abortions…….
….People have been born, baptized, and discovered their faith thanks to the Pelletiers…….
…..Michael Demma, director of the Diocesan Respect Life Office, said Chuck Pelletier was someone people in the pro-life movement looked up to for years.
“Chuck was in the trenches before most of us knew there were trenches,” he said, referring to hard-fought legislative and personal battles to end abortion. “He was a great leader and great motivator. The love just flowed out of him for the babies and their moms.”……
…….Angela Gill met Chuck Pelletier when she was 19 years old and began volunteering at the Mother and Unborn Baby Care Center. She remembers his professionalism and concern that any interaction with troubled, pregnant mothers was done correctly.
“He knew we were dealing with people’s lives and women’s souls,” the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishioner recalls. [Souls……that’s what it’s really about. Yes lives are infinitely important, but what good is it if a man gain the whole world and lose his soul? The souls that fall into hell over abortion is something that is sometimes forgotten in the mainstream, if you will, pro-life effort] “He came from a military background, and we had to do everything by the book. There was no improvising. One wrong word could mean life or death.”
Gill, now the mother of six boys, says her mentor shared his devout faith and offered advice on how to be an effective counselor. He also helped her deal with infertility issues during the early years of her marriage by urging her to follow the Creighton Model for natural family planning.
“He would introduce me by saying, ‘this is Angela. I’m the one who helped get her pregnant,’ just to see me blush,” the young mother says. “He was there for me during my formative years. If I ever had a question or felt discouraged, I would call him.”
Before moving to Fort Worth in the early 1970s, Pelletier served in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot serving two tours in Vietnam. He sustained a severe spinal cord injury when his Cobra helicopter was shot down on Nov. 1, 1970 during a rescue mission. The crash left him partially paralyzed, and he was forced to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. His valor was recognized with a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Combat Infantry Badge. [He and his wife also got to “enjoy” insults and hostility from leftists in Michigan in the waning days of Vietnam, which prompted their move to Texas, as this article on Pelletier from 2013 (also well worth reading) relates]
Before becoming involved in pro-life advocacy, Pelletier worked as a political consultant and served in the campaign of former Texas State Representative Mike Millsap.
Pelletier and his wife, Mary Patricia (Pat), were married 46 years and are parishioners at St. Patrick Cathedral. They raised five children, Lisa, Jennifer, Charlie, Jimmy, and John and have 14 grandchildren.
A life well lived. An inspiration to many. A man who made a difference. I have to wonder whether his willing offering up of his sufferings made him such an effective pro-life warrior, able to get so many saves. The world would be a far better place with a lot more men like that around, which is to say, good Catholic men.
Requiescat in pace, Capt. Pelletier. Please pray for the repose of his soul.