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Robert James Whelan

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Robert James Whelan

October 8, 1924 – April 26, 2021


Robert James (Bob) Whelan of Boerne, Texas, died on Monday, April 26, 2021, after a brief illness. He was surrounded by his loving family, friends and his caring wife of 70 years, Jane Cavanaugh Whelan. Bob was 96 years old.

Robert J. Whelan was born on October 8, 1924, in Trenton, New Jersey, to Helen and Aloysius “Lou” Whelan. Bob and his five siblings, Jane, Junior, Eileen, Jack and Ann, grew up in Washington Crossing on the Delaware River. Bob loved retelling stories of his childhood sports of tennis and soccer and his many friendships. 

Bob, or also affectionately known as “R.J.,” graduated from Pennington Prep School in 1942 and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps where he served with distinction in the Pacific Theatre in World War II, being honorably discharged on December 14, 1945. Bob graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor in science degree and then moving back home attended Seton Hall University where he obtained his masters of arts degree. Bob fondly remembered playing college basketball at Iowa as a standout player and “set shot” athlete. 

But it was at Seton Hall where Bob met the love of his life, Jane Patricia Cavanaugh, and they were married on March 4, 1951. The newlyweds moved then to San Francisco where Bob had started his career as a newly minted FBI agent, his most prized career move. Bob served faithfully in the FBI in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York as a special agent of the FBI (1950-59). Bob and Jane moved back to New Jersey where all three Whelan children were born. It was during this time that Bob entered the private sector as the co-founder and senior executive of Whelan Manufacturing Company, specializing in construction projects in the United States and Europe. 

But Bob always was drawn to and remained active in the service, security and investigative fields. Bob or “R.J.” served as director of security for the World Football and the World Hockey leagues. He was a security advisor to the NFL (New York Giants Football Club) and NBA (New Jersey Nets). In the state of New Jersey, he was a commissioner for both the Economic Development Council and the Legalized Games of Chance. He was a member of the Security Advisory Committee of the Presidential Inaugural Commission for Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush. 

We all fondly remember meeting both H.W. and G.W. Bush at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas, all due to R.J.'s influence.

After retirement, Bob and Jane moved to Boerne, Texas, in 1996 where they lived an active lifestyle with new friends all the while loving the Texas experience. He continued his work in the security field and was director of security for Don Strange Inc.

Bob is survived by his wife, Jane, and their loving children, Michael R. Whelan of New York (wife Josephine “Dodie” Gumaer), Joan Whelan Angulo of Chicago (husband Jaime Angulo, grandchildren Katie and Jackie) and Patricia Whelan Schenck of Albuquerque (husband Robert Schenck, grandchildren, Lillian, Augustus, Helen, George, and Marian). The family would like to thank Bob’s wonderful caregivers over the past several years and final months. We would especially like to thank Brandon Cobb, RN, Drs. Bradley Kayser and John Galan, as well as the many Home Instead caregivers. Our sincerest gratitude for all you did for Bob Whelan and the Whelan fFamily. Thank you.

Funeral services will be held at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Boerne, Texas, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, with a reception to follow. All are invited to attend and celebrate Bob's full and wonderful life. Interment of ashes with military honors will be held at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, later that day at 1:45 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of the staff of Holt & Holt Funeral Home of Boerne. To share words of comfort with the family, please visit