WASHINGTON, D.C., August 20, 2012, ( – It seems that no one person could fill Nellie Gray’s shoes and so the March for Life that she led for many years has elected two new leaders in the wake of her death last Monday.

Jeanne Monahan and Patrick Kelly have just been elected to oversee the March for Life into its 40th year.

The pro-life movement reeled last week when Nellie Gray, who founded the March for Life Education and Defense Fund in 1973 and guided the annual event for 39 years, died suddenly last Monday at the age of 86. The board’s vote was taken the next day, August 14.

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Monahan is the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Center and worked in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Among her intellectual achievements, she earned a master’s degree from the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. 

Kelly was a captain in the Navy’s JAG Corps reserves before serving as Vice President for Public Policy for the Knights of Columbus.

They will attempt to fill the marching shoes of a figure considered a patroness of the unborn. Gray always reminded her participants to defend the innocent with “no exceptions, no compromise.” 

The 40th March for Life will be held on January 25, 2013.