Leroy F. “Bud” Whelan
Published 9:42 am Monday, May 11, 2015
Sept. 19, 1933 — Aug. 9, 2014
Leroy F. “Bud” Whelan went to be with his Lord on Jan. 24, 2015, after being in an automobile accident on Jan. 19. Bud was the son of Leslie E Whelan and Laura Belle Thompson Whelan, born on April 2, 1927, in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
He led a very full, interesting and productive life. As a small boy he earned money by shining shoes and selling newspapers. As an early teen he drove a truck for Camp Madron, a boys and girls camp in Baroda, was a lifeguard and worked on the railroad. In his early teens Bud met Joan Cup, they were first friends, later sweet harts, and eventually husband and wife for 65 years.
Joan was the daughter of Joseph Cupp and Anna Burke, was born on Dec. 6, 1927, in Benton Harbor, Michigan and passed into Heaven on Sept. 8, 2011, at home with Bud at her side. Joan graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1945, was a Bell Telephone switch board operator during her last year of high school and after she graduated. She was artistic, a great cook, liked to read and write. She loved her Lord and family above all else, especially her “Budo.” Joan was a true helpmate and partner.
When Bud was seventeen and in his last year of high school he joined the navy to fight in World War II. He missed his graduation from Benton Harbor High School but completed graduation credit by taking gunner school in the Navy. Bud was stationed on the USS Wasp as Seaman 1st Class and received a Presidential Unit Citation for being among the seaman involve with shooting down the last Japanese plane of the war. During the time Bud was in the Navy he and Joan maintained a long distance relationship as evidenced by over 400 love letters found. After the war Bud and Joan were married. He was then recalled to fight in the Korean conflict.
Bud and Joan married on Aug. 23, 1946, in Saint Joseph at Sait Peter Evangelical Church. They had two sons Micheal Allen Whelan of Traverse City and Leroy F “Buzz” Whelan of Hartford. During his lifetime Bud was President of John G Yerington Concrete Company and Vice President of other related construction companies. He was Director of Ireland and Lester Company Inc, Michigan Concrete Paving Association, Michigan Road Builders Association and Watervliet Bank. Bud was also a 32nd Degree Mason. After John G. Yerington Concrete, Whelan Construction was started in 1983. During their lifetime they were active in different area Churches, Saint Peters United Church of Christ and Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.
Bud and Joan’s retirement started after Whelan Construction. His one regret was that he should have retired before age and health became an issue. Their retirement years were spent traveling in their various motorhomes to the Eastern, Southern and Western states. They eventually bought a home in Green Valley Arizona and built their “little cabin in the woods” in Luther, Michigan.
Joan was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008. Bud was a willing and loving caregiver during that time until her passing in 2011. In the years following until his death he kept himself busy with yard work during all the seasons, feeding his birds and cooking meals for his doggie companion “Missy”. He especially looked forward to his Thursday lunch meetings with his long time friends. Christmas was our last family get together, more family showed up than was expected. God must have had a hand in that.
Bud and Joan were loved and respected by all. They were totally devoted to each other and will be missed by family and friends alike. Bud is survived by his two sons Mike (Diane), Buzz (Nancy), six grand children and eight great grand children.
A Memorial service will be held in honor of Bud’s life at 11 a.m. on May 16, 2015, at Timberline Inn, 33141 School Street (Indian Lake) Dowagiac, Michigan. There will be a luncheon to follow. Memorials may be given to the charity of your choice. Thank you in advance for your memorials and thank you to those that donated to the Dowagiac Library in Joan’s name. Bud and Joan will be interred at the Fort Custer National Cemetery later this year.
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