Thomas Phelan


Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2007

Juneau resident Thomas Bernard Patrick Phelan, "Tom" or "Uncle Tom" to many, died early April 4, 2007, in the home of his son, Martin Phelan, in Juneau. He was 82.

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He was born Oct. 28, 1924, in Montevideo, Minn., to Edward M. Phelan and Inez L. Grant. He then moved to Benton Harbor, Mich., where he and his family were life members of the St. John's Parish and Catholic School.

He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving in Japan and Korea as a member of the 2nd Division, 24th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army. He was a member of the American Legion, Post 0225. After leaving the service, he moved to Oregon, then settled in Seattle to raise his family. He returned to Benton Harbor in his retirement years.

He enjoyed fishing (especially salmon fishing in Alaska), playing cards and singing Irish songs with his extended family, especially in North Carolina.

He is survived by his son, Martin Phelan and his partner, Bronze Ickes; daughters, Kathleen Jones and her husband, Gareth; Judith Baxter and her husband Jack Streets, and Cheryl Whitten and her husband, Michael; two grandchildren, Todd Batson and Brandon Wigfield; one great-grandchild, Zachary Batson; brother, Edward Phelan, of Benton Harbor; and sister, Anne Arntz, of St. Joseph, Mich.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Ethel (Wayt, Baxter); son, Jack Baxter; sisters, Catherine (McDonald, Cappocia) and Bernice Phelan; and brother, Don Phelan.

He was cremated. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, at St. John's Catholic Church, in Benton Harbor, officiated by Fr. William "Bill" Jacobs. Interment at Calvary Cemetery to follow and luncheon in the church basement of St. John's Catholic Church.

A remembrance gathering was held on April 7 in the home of his daughter, Kathleen Jones, in Juneau.

Memorial Contributions may be made to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau, 419 Sixth St., Juneau, AK 99801-1072.

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