John J. Whalen
Chairman of the Board
McDermott Foundation / Haymarket Center
John J. Whalen, 84, chairman of the board of the Haymarket Center and a successful ink business executive, died Monday, January 20, 2014 of natural causes at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood.
Mr. Whalen had been hospitalized for several days battling various ailments. Born July 3, 1929 in the Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, he was a Westchester resident at the time of his death.
Mr. Whalen served on the McDermott Foundation board from 1983 to his passing, making him the longest-serving director of the foundation parent of Haymarket Center.
Haymarket Center is a nationally-recognized independent, not-for-profit treatment center in substance abuse and dependency, troubled pregnancies and job training, founded by legendary Chicago cleric Monsignor Ignatius D. McDermott.
“My dad put his whole heart and soul into Haymarket, and he virtually lived Haymarket's mission right up to the last minutes of his life. His roommate in the hospital was struggling with his efforts in recovery, my dad quite literally spent the very last hour of his life trying to help this man,” Julia Whalen-Musil, Mr. Whalen’s daughter, said.
Originally, Mr. Whalen joined to assist Haymarket simply to help find a new home.
“We were going to be as homeless as the men and women we serve,” Haymarket president Ray Soucek said.
“But Jack came through. While we had been told to vacate, Jack led the identification, purchase and renovation of the current headquarters building at 120 North Sangamon Street. Jack looked after its maintenance needs ever since.
“In this way alone, countless thousands owe their treatment and its benefits to Jack Whalen. He touched that many lives directly. And through them, thousands more,” Soucek said.
“I can't tell you how many people have told me, "Your father saved my life," Julia Whalen-Musil said.
Mr. Whalen and his wife, Betty, purchased the Kerley Ink Company from the Kerley family in 1968. Soon thereafter they developed a new ink that made the firm a great success.
He served as co-president, with Betty, of the company, and as an active member and eventually president of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers.
In the 2002 book, “Father Mac, The Life and Times of Ignatius D. McDermott,” Mr. Whalen disclosed his own post-Korean War battles with alcohol, though he said, “I didn’t think liquor was my problem.”
But Mr. Whalen joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1957. Soon thereafter, he started helping homeless Skid Row residents get to flop houses.
Mr. Whalen’s sister recommended that he meet the iconoclastic Fr. McDermott, who was ministering to the same flock. It took years for the two to get together, but once they did they were nearly inseparable in their service to others on Chicago’s near west side.
“Jack Whalen was a forceful leader in turbulent times,” said Dr. Dan Lustig, Haymarket Center clinical services vice president.
“Until last year, 2013, Jack Whalen would devote his Saturdays to Haymarket. He would arrive ready to help – and thereby inspired the staff, and our clients.”
“Since Jack learned Haymarket from its founder, Father Mac, he kept Father’s attitudes very much alive and kicking in each of our board meetings. The two of them are now reunited. We know they are watching,” Soucek said.
Hursen Funeral Home of Hillside – Westchester is handling arrangements:
Visitation: Friday, January 24th
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Hursen Funeral Home
4001 Roosevelt Road
Hillside-Westchester, IL 60162
Services: Saturday, January 25th
Viewing: 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Haymarket Center – Chapel
932 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Mass: 11:00 am
Haymarket Center – Chapel
McDermott / Haymarket Board Vice Chair, Lee Daniels, 630-363-7070
Haymarket President, Ray Soucek, 312 307-9700
Haymarket Clinical V.P., Dr. Dan Lustig, (312) 226-7984 ext. 488
Mr. Whalen is survived by his wife, Betty K. Whalen, his son John (Jack), daughter, Julia Whalen-Musil, son - in - law Donald Musil, sisters Mary V. Whalen and Joanne Whalen D. C., brother, Robert Whalen, grandchildren Christine Whalen, John Whalen, Anne Kramer (Robert) Zachary Musil (Marie), Whitney Musil, and James Musil, great grandchildren, Parker Musil, and Benjamin Kramer, as well as son Jack’s former spouse, Lynda.
He was preceded in death by his father James Anthony Whalen, his mother Virginia Greening Whalen, his brothers James Whalen, and Frank Whalen.