Peter J. Whelan, 77, beloved husband of Susan (“Frankie”) and father of Kia and Peter F., died peacefully surrounded by his family on May 13, 2021.
He grew up in Rye, N.Y., and after graduating from Iona Prep School went on to College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
Following service in the Marine Corps, he worked at McCann Erickson as an account supervisor for Coca-Cola, and at Time Inc. as Marketing Executive for Sports Illustrated, People, and Discover magazines.
In 1987, he left the corporate world and founded The Whelan Company, a building construction company in Rye. He was an active community member, serving as a board member of the Rye Historical Society and a Junior Warden at Christ’s Church. He was also a proud member of American Yacht Club.
In 2003, the Whelans moved to South Dartmouth, Mass., where Peter and Frankie built a home. Belted Galloway cattle were added to the property to complete their dream. In South Dartmouth, Mr. Whelan was a valued member of the community, volunteering at SEMAP (South Eastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership) and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Perhaps his favorite activity the last ten years was being a docent at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
Peter Whelan will be remembered for his kindness, love of family and friends, and amazing, hilarious sense of humor. He never had a harsh word for anyone and had legions of admirers.
In addition to Frankie, his wife of 44 years, his daughter, Kia Veltkamp (Brad) of Rock Hill, S.C., and his son, Peter Whelan (Neely) of Boston, he is survived by his beautiful grandchildren Kaitlyn, Jack, and Mabel; and his brother Brendan.
The family is grateful to have had such a kind and loving man in their lives and to have countless memories to sustain them through these difficult days.
Donations in Peter Whelan’s memory may be made to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740 (www.whalingmuseum.org).
Funeral plans are being arranged by the Wilson Chapel in New Bedford, Mass. (www.wilsonchapel.net). A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for June 11 in South Dartmouth.