Obituary: Whalen M.D., John T. “Jack”
WHALEN M.D., John T. “Jack” Born January 9, 1918 in Walkerville, Montana, passed away peacefully in Spokane on January 31, 2014. A Montanan in spirit, Jack grew up in Butte and also on family ranches outside of Butte and near Ronan, Montana during summers, where riding horses and hard work was a way of life. He graduated from Carroll College in Helena, MT in 1939, and went on to earn his medical degree at the St. Louis University School of Medicine in November, 1943. That same month, he was appointed an assistant surgeon, lieutenant junior grade, in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Navy, via the Navy’s V12 program through which he financed his medical school education. Upon completion of his wartime internship in medicine and surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco in October 1944, he began active service in the Navy, with a posting as a medical officer on the troop transport ship U.S.S. Sanborn. The Sanborn deployed to the South Pacific theatre, and Jack took part in several military campaigns including the Battle of Iwo Jima and the landing of the 4th Marine Division there on February 19, 1945. After V-J Day, Jack helped repatriate 1400 Japanese service members to their homes in Japan and Okinawa; he was honorably discharged from the Navy in June, 1946. Following the war, Jack completed an obstetrics residency at Western Montana Clinic in Missoula, and provided medical and surgical care in private practices from 1947 to 1967 in Columbia Falls, Havre, Whitefish, and Bozeman. He and Mary Francis Gray, a Montana State College home extension agent, met in Havre in 1950 and were wed in Fort Benton that fall. Jack and Mary’s partnership in private medical practice and community service, was interrupted briefly when Jack and family were recalled by the U.S. Navy to medical service at the Tongue Point Naval Station in Astoria, Oregon from 1952-53. In 1967 Jack “retired” from the late night house calls and myriad demands of private medical practice, and began anew as associate medical director for Western Electric Company in Oklahoma City and also with Woodward Governor Company in Fort Collins, CO. From 1970-1983 - he served as a staff physician for the Veteran’s Administration at VA hospitals in Montana and Oregon, as clinical director of medicine for Alaska at the VA Regional Office in Juneau, and chief of outpatient care at the VA Medical Center in Spokane. Jack was a loving father and grandfather, who took his family on legendary driving excursions. He read widely, and enjoyed opportunities to travel throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He was a friend to dogs, and an accomplished horseman. Throughout his life he maintained a passion for raising and training fine horses. He is survived by Mary, his wife and partner of 63 years; sons and daughters-in-law, John Jr. and Lisa (Martin) - Spokane, Jason and Gael (Deviny) - Lakewood, Doug and Jenny (Ramsay) - Issaquah; six grandchildren, including Tom (and Kelsey), Olivia, Cameron, Clare, and Alison Whalen, and Kate Larrabee; and two children from an early marriage, Steven McLeod, western Washington, and Nancy (McLeod) Larson, Minnesota. He was preceded in death by a daughter Mary (Whalen) Larrabee, and a son Michael McLeod. A small, private service for family and friends is planned for March.