Joseph Edward Whalen

Born: Sun., Mar. 8, 1936
Died: Thu., Mar. 7, 2019

Memorial Mass

11:00 AM Sat., Mar. 16, 2019

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Joseph Edward Whalen, of Brandon Vermont, died Thursday, March 7th, at the Rutland Regional Medical Center; he left this world one day before his 83rd birthday.

It is difficult to describe our father and grandfather because he was not just one person. JoJo was complex - a constant surprise and very often a mystery to those who loved him. He was a romantic and a dreamer, a bookish intellect, a military veteran, and life-long democrat. Also, and importantly, he held a deep faith and was a member of the Catholic church. And while he lived a quiet life in a small Vermont town, he had the soul of an artist and adventurer. He was happy here, but he dreamed, at times, of roaming the world. He fantasized about living in SoHo or The Haight, but he really loved sitting by his fire, reading Shakespeare. He considered buying a Porsche and touring the country, but in the end was content to spend Sunday afternoons with the New York Times. He wrote poetry, learned salsa dancing, just this winter tried yoga, and also spent many days at the coffee shop, and many evenings at the Center Street Bar (as he imagined Hemingway would have done) discussing the latest town gossip. He loved football and Fitzgerald, golf and Glenn Miller, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, and the New York Yankees.  

Jojo was an educator his entire working life. He began his career in Sudbury, teaching grades K-12 in a one-room schoolhouse. Later, he taught English, theater, and (believe it or not) driver’s ed, in high school. Once retired from public school, he taught for many years at several local colleges. He did work as a principal and a dean, but was most happy in the classroom, prancing about, arms waving, voice rising to fever pitch, sharing with his students his love of literature, poetry, and film.  

Joe will be missed, and the world will be less interesting now that he is gone. Those who have come to pay their respects can’t help sharing their favorite stories of our father. Often the tales are funny, or zany, or absurd - because Jojo could be all those things. But also people talk about his kindness, his generosity, and how he took a genuine interest in them and in their lives.  One sentence, from all the stories, sums up why Joe was loved by so many. When asked by the priest to share his favorite story of Joe, Patrick, his son, couldn’t choose. He said instead, “I never, in my entire life, heard my father say an unkind word about anyone.”  

There is no better epitaph.

A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, March 16, 2019, at 11 AM, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Brandon. The Rev. Maurice Moreau, pastor will be the celebrant.

Following the mass, the family will receive friends, at the Lilac Inn, for a time of remembrance.

A private graveside committal service and burial will take place, at a later date, in the family lot, at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Brandon.

Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be made, in his memory to; St. Mary’s Church Restoration Fund, 38 Carver Street, Brandon, or to The Brandon Free Public Library, 2 Franklin Street, Brandon, VT 05733.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Miller & Ketcham Funeral Home in Brandon.






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Bonnie L. Miller Johnson
   Posted Mon March 11, 2019
My deep condolences to the family of Joe. Yes a great man in his faith and kindness in "sometimes" just a comment to them. I always remember for the years I played for Mass at St. Agnes , or other past times at St. Mary's. He "always" took a moment if seeing me on way out to say," Bonnie, so enjoyed your organist and voice this am at the mass. So glad you kept up your talent.' Very good at basketball in high school too. !

Robert Beauregard
   Posted Thu March 14, 2019
With greatest of sympathy. Will miss Joe at morning coffee and at the golf course.

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