John W. “Jack” Whalen, age 79 of Darlington, passed away Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at Mineral Point Care Center in Mineral Point,. He was born Sept. 6, 1936, in Marinette, the son of Francis and Katherine (Kordula) Whalen. Jack graduated from Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, Ill., in 1955 and later attended College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. He grew up in Mineral Point before committing to the U.S. Marine Corps from 1957-1963. Upon his return, he sold life insurance for Prudential in Chicago, Ill., and later moved to Darlington to join his father who owned and operated the McConnell-Whalen Agency in Darlington, where he sold insurance and real estate for many years.
Jack is survived by his two sons: Thomas Whalen of Oregon, and Mark (Tina) Whalen of Waunakee; four grandchildren: Delaney and Ava Whalen, and Jake and Brady Whalen; one brother: Michael Whalen of Cocoa Beach, Fla.; and a very special friend: Therese Hess of Mineral Point. He was preceded in death by his parents.
An avid storyteller with a fun-loving, outgoing personality, Jack had the unique ability to build an instant connection with anyone he met. Those fortunate enough to talk with Jack, even for a moment, would never forget him. He was one in a million and lived each and every day to the fullest, setting off on adventures all over the country. He enjoyed trips to Indian reservations in the Dakotas, but above all, he loved riding his horses throughout the United States, including the Rocky Mountains and countless national and state forests. Jack raised Morgan horses for more than 30 years and was a member of the Wisconsin Morgan Horse Association and Lafayette County Shamrock Club, as well as a charter member of the Darlington Saddle Club. At age 60, Jack’s passion changed from horses to horse power – a BMW motorcycle, which also took him on travels far and wide, including Mexico. He enjoyed sharing his adventures with friends over a Jameson Irish Whiskey or two and his favorite day was St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration of the Irish heritage he was so proud of.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 104 E. Harriet St., a branch of Our Lady of Fatima Parish with Rev. John Bosco Pudhota officiating. Military rites were accorded by Bates-O-Brien-Howe-Wiegel-Roelli American Legion Post #214 of Darlington. A visitation was held Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, from 3:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. at the church, where “Family Remembrances” were shared at 5:40 p.m.
The Erickson Funeral Home in Darlington is serving the family. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.ericksonfuneralhome.com.
For those who prefer, a memorial fund has been established in Jack’s name.