After a lengthy battle with cancer, Lidwien Grafe, 81, died June 13 at Providence Care Hospital in Kingston.
I first met Lidwien in 1971 when we attended an organizational meeting to discuss the killing of unborn children following the passing of the Omnibus Bill in 1969 and Kingston General Hospital readying to begin to commit abortions in 1971.
Dr. Francis McElligott, a pathologist at Hotel Dieu and Queen’s University was a speaker to our group and he said ending abortion in Canada would take 50 years. I leaned over to the lady next to me (Lidwien) and said, “I have babies and I’m here for five years at the most.” The good doctor was correct. Here we are now, 47 years later, with our grandchildren and no end in sight. Lidwien was always there over those years, a friend and a loyal active pro-lifer in Vita, the first activist group we formed and then with Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) in Kingston, when it formed in 1979. I will miss her very much.
We had some amazing times during our pro-life adventures. We both joined the board of governors of Kingston General Hospital in order to speak against abortion. At one board meeting, when they refused to deal with the babies being aborted there, we held up life-size abortion photo signs, at each side of the podium, causing the chairman to demand that we remove them, which we refused to do. He then shut down the meeting, leaving the staff at the hotel scrambling with a banquet, which was not to be ready for another hour. One of the pro-abortion activists who was also a governor, said the signs were disgusting. We agreed, yes, abortion is disgusting: “that’s why we are here.” They turned out the lights and we were left standing in the dark.
Our regular CLC Kingston to Toronto train trips to picket at Morgentaler’s abortuary on Harbord Street along with Mary Deryaw, Joan Jackson and Phyllis Stokes were also eventful occasions. We would laugh and use the three hours up and the three hours back to visit. The train conductor would ask if we were going to shut Morgentaler down that day and we were sure we would.
At every Campaign Life Coalition picket and event in Kingston for 47 years, at every meeting for CLC, and every opportunity to fundraise and with personal donations, Lidwien and her husband Gunther were always there.
She had been courageously fighting cancer for many years, but when Jim Hughes came to speak at the CLC Kingston Meeting on April 24, 2018, Lidwien and Gunther were there.
Lidwien was born in Holland during the war and was one of 17 children.
She leaves behind Gunther, her husband for 57 years. She was mother of Fred, Gerhard, Andrew, and the late Lisa Ermel. She also had 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.