Schmit-Albin leaves strong pro-life legacy

For nearly 40 years, Julie Schmit-Albin was a voice for the defenseless, an advocate for the dignity of human life at all stages.

The longtime executive director of Nebraska Right to Life was known to be tenacious with lawmakers but also compassionate and prayerful in her work to transform hearts on abortion and other pro-life issues.

Her work has laid the groundwork for continued pro-life work in Nebraska, supporters have said.

Schmit-Albin died Aug. 22 at her Lincoln home after a long struggle with breast, then ovarian cancer. She was just a day away from her 64th birthday.

Funeral services were held Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Lincoln. Burial was at Calvary Cemetery in Lincoln.

“Obviously she’s been a huge asset to the pro-life movement in Nebraska,” said Marion Miner, associate director for pro-life and family at the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC), which represents the public policy interests of Nebraska’s three Catholic dioceses.

“We’re very sad that she’s gone, but we’re grateful for all she has done,” Miner said. “All of us are beneficiaries of all she built.”

A year ago the NCC honored Schmit-Albin with its Gospel of Life Award, lauding her for her for decades of pro-life leadership. She served as Nebraska Right to Life’s executive director for more than 30 years, organizing the annual Nebraska Walk for Life, a pro-life booth at the Nebraska State Fair, Pro-Life Legislative Day and the Nebraska Right to Life Political Action Committee Voter Guide.

“I’d venture to guess that nearly every Nebraska pro-life advocate, in the last 30 years, has been affected by Julie’s heroic efforts,” Tom Venzor, NCC’s executive director said in giving Schmit-Albin the award.

She was best known for her political advocacy, and as such, was “fearfully respected,” Venzor had said. Everyone knew that she meant business, “on behalf of the unborn child and her mother.”

Schmit-Albin remained the head of Nebraska Right to Life until her death. Her fight for children in the womb and other vulnerable people continued through her illness and while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Gov. Pete Ricketts, state senators and others praised Schmit-Albin for her dedication.

The governor had declared Aug. 13 as Julie Schmit-Albin Day in Nebraska. After her death, he issued a statement: “For several decades, Julie was a fierce and courageous champion of human dignity. Motivated by a heartfelt compassion for preborn babies, she effectively advocated for public policy that reflects Nebraskans’ pro-life values. As we mourn her loss, we also cherish her legacy. Inspired by her work, we’ll continue to build a culture that values and respects the lives of babies waiting to be born.”

Schmit-Albin was one of 10 children born to Irene and Loran Schmit, a former state senator. She grew up on a farm near Bellwood and studied journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating in 1979.

She and her husband, John Harmon Albin, raised four children and were members of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Lincoln.

Survivors include her father; husband; children John Squire of Boston; Molly of Chicago; Rachel of Minneapolis; Annie of Lincoln; step-daughter Tanya Fox-Albin of Lincoln; siblings Marcia Schmit of Mesa, Arizona, Steve Schmit of David City, Mary Schmit of Chandler, Arizona, John Schmit of McKinney, Texas, Michele Schmit of Bellwood, Susan Schmit of of Tacoma, Washington, Jean Hopwood of Orlando, Florida, Lorin Dunlop of Lake Oswego, Oregon, and Michael Schmit of Mesa, Arizona; and one grandchild, John Seigo of Boston.

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