Two new hips and all, Ken Cobian walked from the annual Jan. 22 Prayer Service for Life at the Cathedral of St. Paul down to the March for Life rally at the Minnesota State Capitol.
I first spotted him with his gray and blue knitted cap pulled over his ears as he slowly but steadily made his way back up St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill, Prolife Across America poster in hand, at the end of the rally.
Cobian, retired from his job as a material scientist at Medtronics, stopped back in the Cathedral to warm up before heading home, which was where I caught up to him.
I asked the question I’ve been asking folks at this Jan. 22 event since the first one back in 1974, when snowflakes kept smearing the ink on the notes I was taking outside the federal building in Peoria, Illinois: “Why is it important for you to be here today?”
Cobian had a ready answer, just as people have had since 1974: “I’m very much opposed to abortion, ever since I saw my children born years ago. That turned the light on for me.”
A parishioner with his wife, Susan, of St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony, Cobian earned a chemistry degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and did graduate work at both the University of Minnesota and at UCLA. Like some in the science fields, at one point he had turned away from his faith, he admitted. “My wife brought me back,” he said. “She’s my rock.”
He was at the pro-life rally two years ago, too, he said, but last year he couldn’t make it because he was in the midst of having hip replacements on both sides. “I’m fine now,” he said. “It’s nothing compared to the sin of abortion.”
He grabbed his hat to leave. “I’ve got to get home and get cleaned up,” Cobian said. “We’ve got a pro-life Mass tonight at St. Charles.”