Michael Whalen

Born: Sun., Nov. 26, 1950
Died: Tue., May 28, 2013


4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Mon., Jun. 03, 2013
Location: Mitchell Funeral Home

Prayer Service

7:00 PM Mon., Jun. 03, 2013
Location: Mitchell Funeral Home

Graveside Service

12:00 PM Wed., Jun. 05, 2013
Location: Brookside Cemetery

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Michael A. Whalen of Easthampton died May 28 in Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton. He was born in Northampton on Nov 26, 1950 the son of the late James and Pauline Schumikowski Whalen, both of Easthampton. Michael attended local schools in Easthampton and graduated from Easthampton High School. He also graduated from the University of MA with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He later receive his Master Degree in Science  from the University of MA,. Michael worked for the United States Department of Agriculture for 26 years as its Regional Executive Director for the Berkshire Pioneer Research Conservation and Development of Western MA retiring in 2006. Michael was an communicant of St Patrick Church in South Hadley. Michael during the course of his professional career wrote and published over 15 publications including the Southampton’s Rural Lands Management program. He was also active in many forest and land management associations, including being a former administrator advisor for the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts. His honors and awards include the Superior Performance Award from the United States Department of Agriculture, natural resources conservation services.  Mr. Whalen prepared and administrated over 100 grants throughout Western Mass, involving Forestry and Land Management. In his retirement Michael was an accomplished musician , artist and writer.
Michael is survived by his loving wife Rhonda Jean (Ferris) Whalen, one step son Michael Longey of CT two step daughters Paula Wroblinski of CT and Mirium Cubbon of L.I. NY 4 grandchildren. He also leaves behind four immediate cousins Brian Fink and his wife Karen, Chad Fink and wife Diane, Debra McMullen, husband Michael and Carl Libucha. He was predeceased by his first wife Diane Whalen and a step son Talon Christopher Longey. 
The Prayer Service will be Monday June 3 at 7pm in the Mitchell Funeral Home, 
15 Park Street, Easthampton, MA. Visiting hours will be Monday June 3 from 4-7pm in the  Funeral Home. Burial will be in Brookside Cemetery, Easthampton, MA on Wednesday June 5,  at 12 noon .
Gifts in Michael’s memory may be given to the
 American Cancer Society 59 Bobala Rd # 2, Holyoke  or the American Heart Association.20 Speen St Framingham Ma 01701

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   Posted Fri June 07, 2013
Today, May 28th, 2013 we say goodbye to Michael Whalen. We say goodbye for today but not for eternity.

In writing this tribute to his life, I already know that Michael, being a private and somewhat humble man would argue these words, but never the less, in spite of this, you should know some things about the life of this generous and compassionate man.

Michael was a very special person. Those individuals who were fortunate enough to know him had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy his incredible sense of humor and caring heart. He was a man you could turn to for help, who could fix most anything and make it like new. If he said he would be there for you, you could easily be confident that he would be there. Though Mike was known to suddenly speak his mind without hesitation, whatever his opinion was, whether you agreed with him or not, he wouldn’t leave you guessing how he felt.

Truly, you could find no better friend.

Mike enjoyed helping people. An intelligent and creative man, if there was a way to do the impossible, he would find it. He loved to cook and wasn’t afraid to pull out a gourmet recipe and enjoyed a good card game with friends while serving up a meal. You would often find him under the hood of his 1983 Pontiac Toronado, working away at restoring it and proud that after all these years he’s kept it running so well. Every year, the safety inspectors at motor vehicles would tease him, deliberately waiting before handing him his “ pass” sticker. They would smile knowing Mike would make sure the car was running well before bringing it in. He was fun to be with and a man of good character.

Michael was raised by his loving mother and very supportive grandparents, whom he cherished. He was a devoted son who always tried to be there for his mother in her times of need. You would often find him at her house painting the fence or mowing the lawn; even repairing the roof. Mike could build a house from top to bottom if needed. He had worked part time as a carpenter subcontractor in his younger days. . Mike held a degree in architectural design and during his thirty plus years at the USDA and Pioneer Valley, Resource, Conservation and Development his skills were utilized in creating the plans for a watershed housing that still exists today.

Though Michael had many interests and skills to work from.He knew early on in his life what he wanted to do. He loved forestry and preservation of the land. Driven by this passion he managed to pay his way through college by taking on positions as teacher’s assistant, working after his classes on weekdays and working as a musician on weekends.

Michael loved music of all kinds, but especially jazz. He learned to play saxophone throughout high school and later, guitar. He performed as a musician and vocalist in several bands for a variety of venues in the local areas and in surrounding states. He once described the effort it took to carry his heavy saxophone and books to and from school every day. But he was determined, even as a child. Mike wasn’t one to give up on his pursuits, no matter how difficult, or on his friends.

If you had a chance to view the memorial stand at his; wake you would have already viewed the many accomplishments Michael achieved throughout his life. The devotion Mike continuously held for the welfare of our struggling farmers, the local and surrounding businesses within the Pioneer Valley is clearly evident in all of his many awards. His love for the towns and its people did not just end with his retirement. Mike remained a constant available recourse for the Pioneer Valley long after he; working on a volunteer basis; always willing to assist in the growth of these communities.

Michael had a need to be in several places at once. His life was not an easy one. As an extremely devoted and caring husband and son he endured a great deal of sorrow when losing his mother in 2002 and then to lose his wife in 2003 after a long and painful battle with cancer. Still, he stayed positive about his life and held on to his faith, that God had a purpose for all things.

In 2011, Michael happily married his partner and soul mate for life, Rhonda. They had been inseparable for several years as friends and remained just as inseparable as husband and wife. They shared and did everything together as one. As they would say, “One heart, inside us two.” They were as two halves of the same person. Throughout all laughter and tears, this husband and his wife remained, very much, a genuine loving couple.

They say you know a person’s true character by the way they act in times of hardship. When Rhonda’s son died in 2009 Michael was the kind of man that would create laughter where there was unspeakable pain, give reassurance when there was doubt, strength where there was weakness. He defended against cruelty and was a protector against harm. Patient beyond description, he never gave up and never let go till the end. He loved his step children as if they were, forever and always, his own.

Michael was all the good things to be found of the best of loving husbands, a caring father, trusted companion and a reliable friend.

Today we have lost a kind and generous soul. Michael will be sorely missed by his family, especially his wife Rhonda, but the memory of his love will be remembered, always. May he rest in peace.

   Posted Mon June 10, 2013
I wish that we had gotten to spend more time together. Being so far from family is never easy. But even with the distance, I took comfort in knowing that my mother had you by her side. You helped her through many hard times.. even when I'm sure they were also extremely difficult for you. You stayed strong for her and I never got to thank you for that. She is different because of you. She was always a very strong woman, but I believe that you made her stronger and it's because of that strength I know that she will be okay. I know that you loved her, as she loved you. I know that you loved us kids like we were your own and I want to also thank you for everything you have done for me personally.
One of the most heart breaking things about losing those we love too soon, are all the the things that were left unsaid. If I've learned anything in my life through these hard times, it's the fact that life is unfair and things can suddenly happen that often change everything, so we should cherish those important to us and make every moment count.
You were a good man, and even though you are gone, your memory will live on through those you loved, those who's lives you touched with your warmth and kindness.

With all my love, Rest In Peace Mike. You are gone, but will never be forgotten.

Rhonda Whalen
   Posted Wed September 04, 2013
Dear Husband; I miss you so very much. It's been three months since you left and there isn't a day that I don't think of you. I hope the world knows how precious you were. For me, I wait to be with you when the good Lord takes me home. I'll love you forever. Wait for me... Your Sweetheart

   Posted Thu March 20, 2014
IM so so sorry for your lost !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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