John Patrick Stanton, 86, anti-abortion activist

John P. Stanton
John P. Stanton
Posted: February 06, 2014

John Patrick Stanton, 86, of Jenkintown, a leader in the anti-abortion movement in the Philadelphia area for more than four decades, died Friday, Jan. 31, of heart failure at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Until the week he died, Mr. Stanton worked on issues concerning the unborn and mothers with unplanned pregnancies. He founded the Pro-Life Coalition of Southeast Pennsylvania and later established a statewide organization, the Pro-Life Federation.

Mr. Stanton was a cofounder of the Pro-Life Educational Foundation, and simultaneously served as treasurer for the Pennsylvania branch of the National Right to Life Committee.

For 10 years ending in 2007, Mr. Stanton served as acting director of the Pro-Life Union of Southeast Pennsylvania.

Rain or shine, he prayed and demonstrated outside abortion clinics in the Philadelphia area three times a week for 30 years. His activities resulted in arrests, lawsuits, and a three-month incarceration in the 1990s, his family said in a tribute.

Mr. Stanton, the son of Irish immigrants, was born in Jenkintown and lived there all his life.

He was a member of Immaculate Conception Parish, where he had been baptized. He graduated from Northeast Catholic High School in 1945. That year, he enlisted in the Navy and went by ship to the Philippines and Japan, where he served at the end of World War II.

After an honorable discharge, Mr. Stanton earned a bachelor's degree from La Salle College in 1950. He met Harriet Marie Althouse, a kindergarten teacher. The two were married in October 1950.

Mr. Stanton's vocation was business management. In the early 1950s, he worked at Philadelphia's Brown Instruments, a division of Honeywell Corp., before moving to B & F Instruments in Cornwells Heights. For most of his career, he worked for Sherman Car Wash Inc. of Palmyra, which makes car-wash equipment.

He retired in 1990, "but really, he turned all his energy to his pro-life work," said his son Patrick.

 Surviving, besides his wife and son, are sons, Joseph, Kevin, Brendan, Dennis, Francis, Cletus, and Anthony; daughters Rosaleen, Maria, and Mary; 46 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews. A son, Andrew, died in 1963.

A wake will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, followed by a 10 a.m. Funeral Mass, at Immaculate Conception Church, 602 West Ave., Jenkintown. Interment is private.

Donations may be made to Pro-Life Union, 88 Pennsylvania Ave., Oreland, Pa. 19075.


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