NEW KENSINGTON, Pa — Surrounded by family, Mary Heurich Whitaker, 86, wife of the late Robert E. Whitaker Sr., founder of Whitaker House publishing and Anchor Distributors, passed away quietly early this morning.

Whitaker Corporation President Robert E. “Bob” Whitaker Jr. said his mother’s quiet strength and faithful prayers served as the perfect complement to his innovative and highly motivated father.

“It was my father who articulated the mission to spread the gospel worldwide through books and materials. But that mission was first realized with the prayers and support of my mother,” he said. “Her strength and love has been an inspiration and example to multiple generations.”

John Whitaker, vice president of Anchor Distributors, echoes his brother’s sentiments.

“My mother’s steadfast faith and love for my father and us six kids served as the bedrock of our home. She was loved by many and will be sorely missed.”

When her husband of 62 years passed away in 2012 Mary Whitaker would tell those attending the memorial service that their mission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ through books began by simply answering God’s call.

“God changed Bob’s life through Christian books and after that, his excitement about Jesus was contagious,” she said. “Pretty soon we were following God’s leading into Christian publishing. We wanted the world to know about the real, living power of a God who saves and transforms the lives of any and all who ask Him.”

Mary is survived by six children,  26 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Visitation will take place Friday July 21, 4-8pm at Jobe Funeral Home, 445 Beatty Rd, Monroeville, PA 15146 and Saturday July 22 at Monroeville Assembly of God,  9-11am with a service immediately following. Monroeville Assembly of God is located at 4561 Old William Penn Hwy, Monroeville, PA 15146.

Family owned and operated, Whitaker Corporation was founded in 1970. Its two divisions include Whitaker House which publishes Christian books and materials, and Anchor Distributors, a worldwide distributor of thousands of books, Bibles, and products produced by hundreds of companies.