Farm Animals 05

James Charles Whelan

March 24, 1942 ~ February 7, 2024 (age 81) 81 Years Old
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James Whelan Obituary

James Charles Whelan
March 24, 1942 - February 7, 2024 

James Charles Whelan, 81, Trail Creek, Indiana, passed away on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 10:01 a.m., in his home.

A gathering celebrating his life will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, February 17, 2024 at D.A.V., Danny Bruce Chapter 23, 2401 Ohio St., Michigan City, Indiana. The Ott/Haverstock Funeral Chapel, Michigan City, Indiana is handling arrangements.    

James was born on March 24, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, to Mary Helene Vessles. In January of 1943, he was adopted by Charles and Clarissa (Eckstien) Whelan of Jasper, Indiana.

On November 2, 1996, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, he married Nancy (Augustine) Whelan, who survives in Trail Creek, Indiana.

Also surviving are his son, Charles "Chuck" Whelan of Michigan City, Indiana; natural sister, Alice Marlene Johnston of Tennessee; four grandchildren, Nichole (Josh) Hamby, Andrea (Adam) Schmaltz, Richard (Sheena) Shock, and Thomas Whelan; seven great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his natural mother; adopted parents; adopted sister, Jane Wright; and daughter-in-law, Monica Whelan.

James honorably served his country in the United States Marines, enlisting on June 6, 1960 and under honorable conditions, discharged on June 5, 1964. During his service, he was stationed in Okinawa and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Prior to his service, James attended St. Meinrad Seminary, Indiana, in 1957. It was James' mother's wish that we would lead the path to priesthood. Instead, he returned to public school and graduated in 1960 from Jasper High School. 

James previously married in 1964 to Catherine Daggs of Jasper, Indiana. Together, Catherine and James had one son, Charles. Their marriage union ended in 1989. On November 2, 1996, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, he married his current beloved wife, Nancy (Augustine) Whelan. They purchased and established Promised Land Farm in Thorntown, Indiana, where they kept their residence, raised livestock and trained sheep dogs and oxen. Jim and his oxen were attractions at the State Fair Pioneer Village and were part of other fairs, festivals, and parades around the state. He enjoyed sharing and demonstrating the role of oxen in the history of our country. Jim and Nancy sold farm fresh pastured turkeys they raised on their farm to families who would come to the farm to pick up their Thanksgiving meal.

He was a 3rd degree member of Knights of Columbus Queen of All Saints Council 12951, Michigan City, member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, and was very active in the local Lions Club International, American Legion, and Trail Creek Park Board. James was member of the Porter County and Boone County Democratic Party, where he served as county chairman. Democratic member of the county election board, being elected Democratic precinct committee person for Jefferson Township and elected six times to the Democratic state convention. In Porter county, he held local and regional offices for the Jaycees. James received the highest award, Jaycee International Senator, that the organization ever bestowed.

James served as President and Vice President for the Thorntown Lions Club, and member to the South Haven Indiana Post 502 American Legion, the ACLU, Midwest Ox Drovers Association, the National Rifle Association, and the Retired Indiana Public Employees Association.

James formerly attended Indiana University South Bend at the age of 52 and took classes at Indiana University Gary. He graduated the same year his son did from the University of Evansville with a Criminal Justice degree. James was employed by J&L Steel in East Chicago for fifteen years and by the Indiana Department of Corrections for eighteen years until retirement in 2001. He was a member of AFSCME, a state employees' union, where he served on the first negotiating committee for a state labor contract. James was elected as president of local 3146 of that organization and served in that capacity until retirement. 

He enjoyed hunting and shooting sports all of his adult life. Through all his experiences, education, and loyal memberships, the most important key to his life was family. James deeply loved his family and greatly enjoyed the time spent with them. He will be forever missed.

Contributions may be made to Knights of Columbus Queen of All Saints Council 12951, 606 S. Woodland Ave., Michigan City, Indiana 46360.

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Gathering of Family and Friends
February 17, 2024

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
DAV Chapter #23
2301 Ohio St.
Michigan City, IN 46360


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