John Thorne at an Aug 16, 2007 protest at Planned Parenthood in Aurora, IL
The pro-life community of northeastern Illinois has just lost one of its most devoted activists. John Thorne passed away quietly in his sleep in his home in Aurora, Illinois, on Wednesday, June 22.
I first met John at a community meeting held in April 2007 to organize in opposition to the rumored reopening of a notorious abortion clinic on the west side of Aurora. John had been one of the most devoted prayer warriors at that clinic, which had closed the previous fall.
John introduced himself after the meeting and showed me his cap, adorned with pro-life buttons, explaining that because he was so short—he styled himself “Little John”—it was easy for people to see the buttons. This was typical of John’s great devotion to the pro-life cause.
When events proved that instead of the old abortuary on the West side, it was a new Planned Parenthood abortion center that would be opening in Aurora, John became one of the most dedicated members of the pro-life opposition. It was he who first proposed and organized the wonderfully successful week-long series of Jericho Marches around Planned Parenthood’s block. Over 1,000 pro-lifers attended the finale march on September 15, 2007.
John spoke out against Planned Parenthood at numerous City Council meetings. He continued to speak at every meeting for months after Planned Parenthood opened, until prevented by his declining health.
My assistant Matt and I visited John once after his failing lungs had confined him to his bed. He was clearly suffering, but offered not a word of complaint. We reminisced about the fight to keep Planned Parenthood from opening, and John gave me the original Jericho March banner he had made, along with a prayer book that I’ve kept beside my desk ever since.
John was truly one of the most dedicated and effective activists I’ve ever had the privilege to know. He was always ready to serve the cause with faithfulness and humility, and his love for Our Lord was inspiring.
Visitation is today day, June 27, 2-8 p.m. at Daleiden Mortuary in Aurora, with a wake service at 7:00 p.m. The funeral is tomorrow, June 28, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Therese Church in Aurora.
You can find John’s complete obituary here.