Timothy F. Whelan

June 9, 2023
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     Timothy Francis Whelan, most recently of Watertown, MA having relocated with his wife, Barbara Biancone, from Harrisburg, PA in August 2022, died at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Klarman Building Cardiac ICU on June 9, 2023 following complications from a heart attack he suffered on May 26, 2023. His death was a sudden and unexpected loss, as Tim was perfectly healthy, and prided himself on only taking an occasional Tylenol. 

       Tim was born in Washington, DC on May 10, 1952, the oldest child of Wallace F. Whelan and Alice K. Whelan, both of whom predeceased him. His memory, sense of humor, and love for community will live on through his wife, Barbara Biancone of Watertown, MA, his son, Noah Whelan of Mechanicsburg, PA and daughter by marriage, Sara Keary, and her husband, Christopher Keary, and their children, Tim’s dearest grandchildren, Samuel and Alice Keary of Watertown, MA.

      Though he is known as The Grump by his grandchildren and their friends, he was someone who dedicated his personal and professional life to the service of others, ensuring their most basic needs of food and shelter were secure. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in History from Frostburg State University and his Masters in Social Work at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. His career was one of tireless passion for equity, justice, creativity, and compassion. He chased  disasters through the American Red Cross, served as the Eastern Region Coordinator for Second Harvest National  Food Bank Network from 1982-1987, was the Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank from 1989-1998, was the Executive Director of the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art from 1998-2001, was the Vice President of Community Impact at the United Way of the Capital Region from 2001-2016, and retired from his position as Executive Director of the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, where he worked from 2016-2020. In addition to his career in nonprofit management, Tim also  taught macro social work  for many years at Shippensburg University and Temple University, Harrisburg Campus, in their Schools of Social Work. 

        Tim enjoyed life through being with family and close friends, walking, hiking, cooking, feeding people, eating  (always sneaking) other people’s food, music, birding and bird/owl banding, soccer, the mountains, the stars,  the ocean, gathering shells and rocks, reading, naps, gardening, and traveling, especially to visit his large and loving extended family in Italy. His hallmark tradition was to always send handwritten thank you notes and was known to stick a four leaf clover in every now and then. He believed in the power of people coming together, organizing around a cause, and showing that gratitude is an action, not simply a word. 

     Many family members who are also devastated by Tim’s abrupt departure from this life include his brother, Willam J. Whelan and his wife, Debra Whelan of Silver Spring, MD; sister, Patrice M. Whelan and her husband, Tim Durkin of Knoxville, MD;  sister, Mary W. Chew and her husband, William Chew of Union Bridge, MD; and sister, Christine W. Kindschuh and her husband, Jeff Kindschuh of Hanover, PA. Tim also leaves behind many beloved nieces and nephews: Dwight Chew and his wife, Jenna Sneed; Russell Chew and his wife, Katie Nuckols; Allison Chew; Sarah Kindschuh and her fiancé, Michael Brown, Molly Kindschuh, Emma Kindschuh, Kimberly Durkin Camacho, and Kelly Lynn and her husband, Josh Lynn. 

      As usual, Tim made fast friends in his new home of Watertown and became active in affordable housing and zoning issues facing residents of the city. He made connections with people with whom he could align his values and advocate for people who are among the most marginalized when it comes to basic housing rights. He would frequently return home from City Council meetings near midnight; once an organizer, always an organizer. 

       Among his famous quotes include, “Greetings,” “Good Luck,” and “Peace Out.” He’s taught many elementary school children how to hold up the peace sign, say “Peace” then give a backwards thumb sign and say “Out.” We are encouraging them to continue doing this to keep his spirit thriving in our lives. So, to you, Tim, we honor you when we say “Good Luck” in the  reality you now inhabit, and “Peace Out”.

     In honor of his love of potluck meals, we will be hosting a potluck Gathering for Grump on Sunday, July 16th from 12 PM-3 PM at the Ancient Orders of the Hibernians, 151 Watertown Street, Watertown, MA 02472. Please bring a dish that has some significance to you, your family, and friends to share. He would love to hear the origin stories of the food and would appreciate the love you put into making it. 


In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider donating to the following places in honor of Tim:    

University of Maryland School of Social Work, Baltimore, MD

Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, Harrisburg, PA

United Way of the Capital Region, Enola, PA

Ned Smith Center of Nature and Art, Millersburg, PA

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