2013-02-21 / Obituaries

Francis C. Whalen

Francis C. Whalen, of Brewster, died February 11th surrounded by his loving family. He enjoyed a full and long life. He would have turned 87 next month.

Frank was born on March 28, 1926, in Caryville, Mass., the youngest of eight children. His family was exceedingly close, in part because Frank’s father died two weeks before he was born. Everyone worked together to keep his family going and his stories of picking wild blueberries to contribute to the family funds were enjoyable and inspiring. Frank often said that his favorite Christmas present was the used pair of ice skates he received from his sisters when he was ten.

Frank was a natural athlete and was elected to be the captain of both his high school baseball and basketball teams in Millis, Mass. Instead of finishing high school, he enlisted in the Army in his senior year. This young soldier celebrated his 19th birthday in a foxhole on the front lines of Europe in 1944. His unit spearheaded many battles, but Frank only shared pleasant memories of his army buddies and humorous stories of their adventures. When he returned home in 1945, his mother heard him whistling as he came down the street and knew Franny was home.

Frank worked as a driver at a local lumber yard when he first returned home from the war. One day he saw the pretty secretary and whistled at her legs. Helga went home that evening and told her father that she just met the man she was going to marry. Frank and Helga were married a short time later. They were “two peas in a pod,” as Helga has said, and they would have celebrated their 63rd anniversary this June.

Frank was one of the most likeable people on earth. He was charming, genuine, and always had a smile on his face. He naturally became a very successful sales representative for DuBois Chemicals, where he worked for over thirty years until his retirement.

Frank and Helga were blessed with three children that they delighted in raising. The family grew up in North Salem. Some of Frank’s fondest memories revolve around his years as a little league coach. The North Salem Bears went from a last place team to the champions of the league during this time. Frank was never stern, he taught his players through his supportive, encouraging manner (and Carvel ice cream). Over the years, his players would approach him and thank him for the kind role he played in their lives and the life lessons he shared.

Frank was a member of the St. Lawrence O’Toole Church, where he taught religious education for the first communion class.

Upon retirement, Frank easily transitioned from the business world to the golf course. He played many courses, and ultimately began working at Vails Grove Golf Course in North Salem, where he made many friends. He needed an extra large golf bag to hold all the golf clubs he purchased to give him that “extra edge”.

Frank Whalen never preached, never forced his ideas on anyone, and he never said “no.” He would gently suggest and guide you to the proper path. He always stressed that the most important thing in life was family. He wanted the family to celebrate together, support each other and spend time together. No doubt a lesson he learned early in life and one that served him well and will be passed on to the next generation.

Frank’s absence will be felt by his wife Helga; daughter, Laurie Jahnke of Round Rock, Tex.; son Stephen of Brewster; daughter Julie Troiano of Pawling; and their spouses Gary, Melissa and Bill. He will also be sadly missed by his six grandchildren and two great grand children, Leigh, Aaron, Sean, Joelle, Elyse, Luke, Nolan and Liam,; as well as numerous cherished nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Funeral services were held Saturday at St. Lawrence O’Toole in Brewster.

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