John Francis “Jack” Whalen, 89, died May 17. There was a funeral Mass on May 24 at his parish, St Pius X in Portland, and his graveside service was at Mount Calvary Cemetery.
Mr. Whalen was born in Curlew, Iowa Dec. 25, 1927. He was the fourth of six boys born to Vincent and Genevieve Whalen. He spent his childhood in Florence, Minnesota, spending several summers working on nearby farms to help support his family during the Depression. As with many of his generation, he lied about his age to join the Marines so that he could serve our country during WWII. After the war, he met his future wife, Grace Johnson, whom he married April 3, 1948. Jack and Grace lovingly raised seven children.
He started working for the Great Northern railroad after the war, beginning a long and successful career until his retirement in 1982. His work provided him and his family opportunities to call several places home: Struble, Iowa; Yankton, South Dakota; Sioux City, Iowa; and eventually Portland. Upon retirement, the Whalens became snowbirds and bought a winter home in Mesa, Arizona. They embraced their retirement years, with Mr. Whalen continuing his passion for tennis, soaking up the sun, dancing, and spending time with friends. They would return to Oregon to enjoy mild summers and spend time with family.
He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend to all who knew him. He had a sharp sense of humor, and brightened every occasion with his presence. He was a positive influence and was dedicated to his family. He and his wife made the perfect team. He will missed, and fondly remembered.
Mr. Whalen is survived by his wife, Grace; his children, Cathy Walsh, Rich Whalen, Steve Whalen, Barb Reilly, Ginger Whalen, John Whalen, Jim Whalen; and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mr. Whalen was preceded in death by his parents, Vincent and Genevieve, and his brothers William, Richard, Ed, Morris, and Howard.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in John’s name to The ALS Association Oregon and SW Washington Chapter: www.alsa-or.org, 800-681-9851 ext 103, email@example.com, 700 NE Multnomah St, Suite 210, Portland, Oregon 97232. Mr. Whalen’s son, Rich, was recently diagnosed with ALS.