Patricia Whelan

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Patricia “Pat” Welsh Whelan, 94, of Belleville, IL, passed away peacefully Sunday, January 8, 2023, at The Benedictine Living Community at the Shrine, Belleville, IL.

A native of Brownsville Texas, Pat was a long-time resident of Belleville and member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church. One of seven children raised in Shreveport LA, Pat led a life of devotion to the Heavenly Father and Mother, remaining strong in her Catholic faith throughout her life. She attended St. Mary’s Dominican College in New Orleans LA. It was here she met the love of her life, husband Paul Whelan. Pat and Paul began a long and joyful life filled with faith, family, and friends. Pat graduated from the Aquinas Institute of Theology, Saint Lous University earning a Certificate in Corporate Ministry May 1990.  Pat was Director of Religious Education and ran the RCIA program at Queen of Peace and was on the Board of Directors for Catholic Social Services. She was a Eucharistic minister, a member of the Queen of Peace quilter’s club, PEO and Serra Club.  Pat was a supportive military wife to her husband Paul, raising her twelve children in ten different assignments during Paul’s military service. Pat was basically responsible for over 300 years of military services (we all know it is the spouse, mother, grandmother who sacrifices most). She was once dubbed, “Mother of Patriots-the ultimate Blue Star Mother”. Upon her husband’s retirement from military service, the family moved to an additional three locations as Paul pursued his academic profession. Beloved by her children, Pat raised her family to be devout in their Catholic faith, beginning with her first child born in 1950 to her twelfth child born in 1975. While Pat was known to let everyone know all ten of her boys were Angels, her pride was her two lovely daughters, born 21years apart. Pat was the most prolific athlete in the family as demonstrated on the ski slopes of Colorado and the German Alps, tackling the black diamond slopes with ease.  Her “hole-in-one”, unmatched by any of her children or grandchildren, has become legendary which resulted in the creation of the “Skipper-Cup”, a family challenge golf tournament that bears her nickname and has her as the inaugural champion. Pat moved into her living community at the National Shrine April 2014 quickly becoming the “Mayor” of the grounds and held that title until her passing.

To her grandchildren, Grandma Skipper was the model of what a woman, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother should be. She held her place as the family matriarch with dignity, affection, compassion, and the utmost understanding and tolerance. She had the ultimate patience for her many young descendants, but she was firm and steady in keeping the inevitable rowdiness under control. All of us remain forever awestruck by her lifelong composure and good humor through the multitudes of children and homes and friends and commitments that ceaselessly demanded her time and attention—and always lovingly received it. How?  How did she do it? We know and pray that she has now found her eternal peace.

Pat was preceded in death by her loving husband, Dr. Paul Whelan; son, Daniel Whelan of Columbia IL; her parents, John Robert and Marcella Welsh (Daddy-Pop and Grandma Cookie); two sisters, Sr. Marietta Welsh MSC, and Frances Welsh Hellinghausen; and two brothers, Fr. John Robert Welsh S.J. and The Honorable Charles Ernest Welsh (Uncle Dusty).

She is survived by her two sisters, Shirley Cashore of Willis, TX and Kathleen Schwartz of Montgomery, TX; eleven of her twelve children, Stephen (Patricia) of Gaithersburg, MD, Honorable Timothy (Sylvia Ferry) of Wheaton, IL, Mike of St. Louis, MO, Monnica (Col Richard) O’Connor of Norfolk, VA, Kevin (Cindy) of Seneca, SC, Thomas (Christine) of Grants, NM,  Patrick (Bryant) of Fairhope, AL, Dr. Gregory (Sandy) of Peoria, AZ, Maj Gen Marty (Susan) of Alexandria, VA, Lt Col Matthew (Terry) of St. Augustine, FL, Moira (Jason McNamara) of Washington DC and daughter-in -law, Laura of Columbia, IL.  Mom will be missed by her grandchildren, Brian (Lygia), Alison (Matt), Cassie (Dan), Ryan (Inna), Christopher (Catherine), Michael, Kathleen, Donan (Lisa), Maureen (Taylor), Roderic (Ashley), Brian (Jennifer), Nicole, Brendan (Stacy), Tessa (Peter), Luke, Conner (Lauren), Ellie, John Paul, Jonathan (Sierra), Elizabeth (Neil), Emily (Mike), Meg (Adam), David, Alexander, Cullan (Shelby), Sally, Jackson, Mike (Kat), Dan (Tori), Jake, Rachel (Alton), Caitlin (Adam), Sean (Skye), Ian (Taylor), Catie (Phil), Nick (Taylour), Mary (John), Jane, Finn, Declan and Neve, and her thirty-nine great-grandchildren.

Pat requested that in lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Comunita Cenacolo America (Community) Jacksonville, FL, Marianites of Holy Cross, Covington LA or Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province, St. Louis MO, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church or another charity of your choice. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation: Friends may visit the family 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, January 16, 2023, George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.

Funeral: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held promptly at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Belleville, IL, with Fr. Matthew Elie officiating.

Burial: Will be held at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.


15 Comments on Patricia Whelan

Jim Murphy and Family Curraghgorm Mitchelstown said : Guest Report Feb 01, 2023 at 1:54 AM

Our deepest condolences to all the family at the passing of such a pillar in the family, our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  • Mitchelstown
  • Cork
Bobbie & Ralph Scaramella said : Guest Report Jan 27, 2023 at 4:17 PM

Greg, I never met your mom but I have had the pleasure of meeting many of your brothers (Mike, Kevin, Thom) and hearing stories of your family. What an amazing mom and person she was! May she rest in peace (sounds like she's probably up there re-organizing/leading something!) My condolences to you and all your family. Bobbie & Ralph

  • Peoria
  • AZ
Kevin and Molly McGinnis (Biegler) said : Guest Report Jan 18, 2023 at 2:18 PM

It goes without saying your 'mom' seemed to be everyone's mom. May the memory of her love and the fine example she set in how lived life bring all of you comfort in this time of loss. We are all better for having known her and the world is poorer in her absence. Much love, Kevin and Molly

  • Mound
  • MN
Jessie Rowland said : Guest Report Jan 17, 2023 at 6:58 PM

What a life she led! Lovely to read her story. Thinking of you and your family, Mike.

  • St. Louis
  • MO
Marcos Romero said : Guest Report Jan 17, 2023 at 9:59 AM

What a joyful life. My condolences to Brian and his family.

  • New York
  • NY
Helen Lawson said : Guest Report Jan 16, 2023 at 9:39 AM

My prayers and love to all of you at this special time of remembrance. Your Mom was the most out-going, loving and kind person anyone could call friend. May you all have many cherished memories. God's Peace

  • Joliet
  • IL
Elaine & Jerry Armstrong said : Guest Report Jan 15, 2023 at 2:00 PM

Pat was so special to our family that we named our boat after her, “Mint Julep“. She was such a true Southern Belle! We will miss her dearly. May she enjoy her heavenly reunion with Paul and Danny.

  • Joliet
  • Il
Ron Cari Feigen said : Guest Report Jan 15, 2023 at 9:38 AM

Greg&Sandy, What an incredible story and life she lead. A role model for us all. So sorry for your loss, Ron & Cari

  • Scottsdale
  • AZ
Paul Brown said : Guest Report Jan 14, 2023 at 1:06 PM

Mike, Our prayers are with you and your family during these difficult times. Sincerely, Paul & Janise Paul Brown & Dr. Janise Denton

  • Quincy
  • Illinois
Mary Gowers and joann hallmark said : Guest Report Jan 13, 2023 at 9:58 AM

We are both so sorry for your loss now that she is in heaven with our lord. She will be cared for forever

  • Palmyra
  • IN
Christina Liber said : Guest Report Jan 13, 2023 at 5:41 AM

A wonderful lady, always lit up the room. She will be dearly missed! Very special lady, my condolences to the family.

  • Palos Hills
  • IL
sandra s, spirtas said : Guest Report Jan 12, 2023 at 7:37 PM

I stood next to Pat at senior aerobics class for years and she was a "hoot". I still quote her to this day!

  • belleville il 62223
  • Il
Mary Ann Hellinghausen said : Guest Report Jan 12, 2023 at 10:35 AM

Bill, one of her many nephews, has very fond memories of Aunt Pat. As does her brother-in-law Paul Hellinghausen. We know she, Frances, Charles, Fr. Jack and Sister Marietta are enjoying a heavenly reunion! I met Aunt Pat a few times and remember her beautiful laughter and friendliness. Praying for the repose of her soul and peace and comfort for all of you 💜

  • Houston
  • TX
Teresa Santee said : Guest Report Jan 12, 2023 at 10:34 AM

What an amazing woman, my sincere condolences go out to you and the entire extended family. A strong and determined woman is the glue that cements the goals for upcoming generations. Hopefully the memories you share together will ease the pain of losing your guiding beacon. Our thoughts and blessings are with you during these upcoming days. Best, Jay & Teresa Santee

  • Colorado Springs
  • Colorado
Catherine D Kreher said : Guest Report Jan 11, 2023 at 3:28 PM

Your Mom was a real gem. I have so many wonderful memories of her over the past 35 years. Just one example--she brought home-made pot roast and a peach pie for my father and me after my aunt died. That's how special she was. My deepest sympathy to all the family, Catherine Kreher

  • Belleville
  • Illinois

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