James W. “Jim” Sedlak, 78, of Fredericksburg, Virginia passed away peacefully on Monday, January 10, 2022. He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Michaeleen; his adoring children and their spouses, Frank (Anne) of Cary, NC, Jeanette (Rocco) of Oxford, CT, and Terri Lynn (Jim) of Seymour, CT; his nine grandchildren who admired him, Ashley, Adriana, Alexandria (Abraham), Cassie, Gina, Angelo, Rocco Jr., Brittany, and Stephanie; and his sibling Ronald (Mary) of Lancaster, PA. He is predeceased by his parents Jacob and Catherine Sedlak.
Jim held a Bachelor of Science in physics from Manhattan College (Bronx, New York) and a Master of Science in industrial administration from Union College (Schenectady, NY). He was a Third Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 4034, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
In his professional career, Jim taught physics at Marymount High School in New York City. He worked 30 years for the IBM Corporation as a research physicist and as manager of its corporate new products release and control methodologies. While working for IBM, he published four invention disclosures, received seven company awards, ran numerous corporate-wide task forces, achieved the position of senior engineer, and was recognized as the corporate expert on the release and control of engineering changes. He retired from IBM in 1993 to devote a full-time effort to the pro-life cause. He was executive director of American Life League and a recognized expert on Planned Parenthood (PP).
In his life, Jim also served as president of a Parent Teachers Organization, was guest lecturer in a course on medical ethics at Mt. St. Mary’s College in Newburgh, New York, and from 1986 to 1992 was an annual guest lecturer in ethics courses at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He cofounded and was director of STOPP (Stop Planned Parenthood International) from 1986 to 1994. He founded and was president of STOPP from 1994 to 1998, when it merged into American Life League.
Jim joined the pro-life movement in 1980. His honors included the 1984 Dutchess County Right to Life’s Pro-Lifer of the Year Award, the 1987 Expectant Mother Care’s New York Pro-Life Champion Award, the 1987 Parent’s Roundtable’s Family Life Award, the 1988 American Life League’s Unsung Hero Award, and the 1993 Distinguished Service to Life Award from pro-lifers in Grand Haven.
In 1993, Jim was identified by Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) as one of the 15 “most active” fighters against PP sex education programs. In 1995, PPFA featured Jim in two segments of its anti-life film Unholy Alliance.
Jim was a featured speaker at numerous statewide pro-life conventions. He had presented workshops at national conventions run by American Life League, Concerned Women for America, Human Life International, and Coral Ridge Ministries. Outside the US, Jim had given pro-life talks in Canada, England, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, and Australia. He is listed in several editions of Who’s Who, including Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
In addition, Jim was a special one-hour guest on the Dr. Laura radio show. He also made TV appearances on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Mother Angelica’s EWTN worldwide network, the MTV Sex in the Nineties series, the 2007 HBO documentary Friends of God, and numerous local and regional TV shows. He had also appeared on numerous local and national radio talk programs, including The Bishop’s Hour, Truths That Transform, and Point of View. Jim provided commentary on breaking news stories for numerous radio shows and other media and hosted a weekly radio show on Radio Maria.
In Romans 12:6, we read: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” Jim Sedlak was given a unique gift, using his passion and devotion to the Blessed Mary to bring Jesus to the pro-life movement, especially to Planned Parenthood. He was tireless in campaigning for the right-to-life for all. He was a devoted father, loving husband, and caring grandfather. Jim cherished his family, his traditions, and the values he instilled in them. He imparted knowledge and wisdom to his family and passed on the “Sedlak Humor” gene which will continue for generations. His motivation was the phrase “Behold the Lord Jesus Christ, who tries so hard to get our attention.” Jim surely grabbed people’s attention and will continue to do so from his place in heaven. Anybody who knew Jim would say, “No one can fit his cowboy boots.”
The family will receive visitors on Sunday, January 16 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Covenant Funeral Service, 4801 Jefferson Davis (Patriot) Highway in Fredericksburg, VA.
A mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, January 17 at St. Mary Church, 1009 Stafford Ave in Fredericksburg, VA.
To continue Jim’s legacy of promoting pro-life and fighting Planned Parenthood, in lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider a donation to American Life League, P.O. Box 6170, Falmouth, VA 22403, or at https://www.all.org/give/.