By Brad Segall

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A leading voice for military families — not only in the Philadelphia region but around the country — has been silenced with the death of Janet Manion in Bucks County.

On its web site, the Travis Manion Foundation released a statement that its founder and chairman, Janet Manion, lost her battle with cancer Tuesday night at the age of 58.

She started the nonprofit organization not long after her son Travis, a US Marine, was killed in the line of duty in Iraq nearly five years ago.

Her mission, she said, was honoring the fallen by challenging the living.

“Janet had an amazing capacity for caring about others and focusing on the needs of our veterans and their families — it’s a tremendous loss,” said Pennsylvania lieutenant governor Jim Cawley, a close family friend.

“She was really passionate and feisty, and certainly was very instrumental in carrying on the memory of her son, Travis,” said Bucks County commissioner Charley Martin, who worked closely with her on veterans’ issues.

Under Manion’s leadership, the foundation grew quickly, providing a voice for American troops, veterans, and military families.

The organization’s “9/11 Heroes Run” started in Doylestown a couple of years ago, and last year was held in 37 cities around the world.

A viewing is scheduled for Friday night. Funeral services will be held Saturday.

Read the recent KYW Regional Affairs Council report, “Coming Home: Are We Ready?