Gary Cangemi Died Saturday in Scranton: Cartoonist Created Congenial Umbert the Unborn

By Michael Ciccocioppo, Executive Director

Gary-Cangemi-Portrait-WEBThe pro-life movement in Pennsylvania and the nation suffered a great loss on Saturday, March 18, 2017 when Gary L. Cangemi died at the age of 62 in Scranton.

 Early in my tenure in 2002 as executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Pennsylvania affiliate of National Right to Life, I met Gary and we were immediately drawn to each other by our passion to end the killing of innocent babies in their mother’s wombs, and by our mutual Italian heritage!

Gary introduced me to the character he created in 2001, Umbert the Unborn. Umbert developed into a nationally syndicated comic strip, a parade float for our chapter in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvanians for Human Life Scranton Chapter, an annual workshop at the National Right to Life Convention, comic books and trading cards to name a few.

The first time I attended one of Gary’s workshops, I was struck by how he could use little Umbert and his preborn pals to both entertain the audience and to make them think about the reality of all preborn babies growing and developing as they awaited their transition to the world outside comfy womb life.  During his workshops, Gary would start with a blank sheet of paper.  Then he would elicit ideas from the audience until he developed a brand new four panel comic strip featuring Umbert that always made everyone laugh and think at the same time.

Gary was a determined activist for the pro-life movement and an important member of the Scranton Chapter.  He was a talented artist and writer who was generous to the Chapter in helping educate pro-lifers and the general public about working toward the day when abortion will be unthinkable in our state and the nation.

The board of directors, members, staff and volunteers of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation are deeply grateful for the life of Gary Cangemi and extend our most sincere sympathies to his loving wife, children, sisters and brothers.  He is deeply missed!

Those who wish to post a message on Gary’s Guest Book may do so until April 19, 2017.

To send a message of condolence to the Pennsylvanians for Human Life, Scranton Chapter, email them at

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