February 15, 2017

Lutherans For Life mourns the death of our dear sister, Dr. Jean Garton. Dr. Garton became a leader in advocating respect and protection for every human being following the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. She served instrumentally in the formation of Lutherans For Life in 1978 and accepted the position of its first president.

She recently led an energetic presentation at our Lutherans For Life National Conference this past October based on the theme “Here We Stand” and there received the Dominus Vitae award in honor of her lifelong, Gospel-motivated labors to affirm God’s gift of life. Her acclaimed and influential book Who Broke the Baby? is entering its third edition of publication.

The entire nationwide Lutherans For Life community, even in our grief, gives enthusiastic thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for Jean’s faith, compassion, wit, courage, and work.

Dr. Jean Garton entered her Heavenly Father’s eternal glory on the morning of December 23, 2016, following a brief illness. Memorials may be made in her memory to:

  • the Dean Paul Garton Memorial Endowment Fund (which benefits married seminary students in need of financial assistance), Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105.

  • Friends in Christ Lutheran Church, 4305 Highway 5 N., Bryant, AR 72019.

  • Saline Memorial Hospice, 1 Medical Park Drive, Benton, AR 72015.

Photo: Dr. Jean Garton with LFL President Lynette Auch at the 2016 Lutherans For Life National Conference in Bloomington, Minnesota.

A few remembrances of Jean Garton …

“My tears tear at my heart, although I rejoice in her homecoming with God. She and I go back to 1980. Every time I think of her since then, the motivation and inspiration she has given me have helped me carry on. What a treasure God gave us through her consistent FOR life work I praise Him for Jean and her faithful stewardship to all things concerning the Gift of Life!” Jeanne Mackay, president of LFL of Kansas

“What an incredible ‘sister in Jesus.’ Working with her on the Lutherans For Life Board was truly a privilege and an honor Jean, thanks for all you have done to wake up a sleeping church and world! When you spoke, every word was significant. We’ll see you later when it is our turn to cross over into heaven.” Stanley M. Johnson, MD, Retired

“In the early 1970s, it seemed the whole ‘right thinking’ world was going for abortion. The ‘smart set’ dominated every editorial page, every faculty lounge, every source of culture formation. The major Protestant denominations were all out for abortion. And the evangelicals had not yet been mobilized against it. Onto this darkening scene, Jean Garton stepped boldly. Like an accomplished actress on a stage, she made her entrances with sureness and with grace. She brought her own flair, her own special elegance and eloquence. She lifted the light of truth as high and strong as Lady Liberty lifts her torch. Jean was unafraid to challenge the powers that be she brought a strong faith, a never-failing dignity, and her own unique feminine charm to every scene. Jean’s charisma was a gift of God to our pro-life efforts at a time when we desperately needed it … Jean emphasized the truly ecumenical nature of our movement. She seemed to know everyone and to have friends everywhere. Where she has gone before us, her friends will welcome her, and her Savior will prepare a place for all who love Him.” Bob Morrison, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Family Research Council

“Jean Garton was an inspiration to everyone who read her book Who Broke the Baby? and knew why she traveled far and wide with the message of life. Jean spoke for those who had no voice with the support of her husband, Rev. Chic Garton, and the courage given her by the Lord God who says, ‘I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save’ (Isaiah 46:4b).” Linda Bartlett

“It has been my privilege over the years to call Dr. Jean Garton my colleague, mentor, inspiration, and friend. But the epitaph that describes her best is ‘servant of the Lord of Life.’ Not only that, but we could add many adjectives to servant: tireless, faithful, courageous, stalwart, and more. I valued her advice and even her admonition a time or two. I delighted in her sense of humor. She always brought a touch of joy even when dealing with difficult topics. I mourn her death but join the whole company of heaven in rejoicing over her entrance there and her impending resurrection from the dead.” Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb, former executive director of Lutherans For Life

“Jean was inspirational, encouraging people to become involved in defending the unborn. One of her sayings that I remember best summed up her approach: ‘If you are going to do nothing, don’t do it here!’ During those formative years we struggled with questions such as, ‘How does LFL fit within the pro-life movement?’ She helped LFL focus on the need for education within our Lutheran church bodies. An icon within the pro-life movement, Jean is an example of how God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary tasks. We should all be grateful that Jean answered His call to participate in the formation of LFL many years ago.” Diane Schroeder, former president, treasurer, and board member of national Lutherans For Life; former president of LFL of Illinois; and former president of DuPage County LFL

“Dr. Jean Garton is one of the reasons I am pro-life today. As a young woman representative at a national convention, I had the opportunity to meet her and be inspired by her. My heart is so sad; I feel I lost a dear friend and mentor!” Lynette Auch, president of Lutherans For Life