KILLALOE – The former fire chief of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards, who served almost three decades on the department, has passed on.
Jim Whelan passed away at St. Francis Memorial Hospital after a battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.
Jim was raised in Killaloe. After graduating from high school, he worked towards his mechanic’s license. He first met his future father-in-law, Garnet Kranz, in Foymount, where Jim was hired on as a engineer.
Garnet’s daughter Wanda met Jim in Killaloe, when he would come to fill the Kranz family cistern with water.
“Dad’s father, John Whelan, had a 500-gallon tank which he put on the back of his pick-ups, used for filling cisterns and swimming pools,” Jim’s daughter Julie Whelan explained. “All the Whelan brothers and sisters would help fill the cisterns of Killaloe in the winter.”
Jim and Wanda were married at the 1st Baptist church in Killaloe on August 18, 1972. A few years later came the children, Chris on April 15, 1977, Andy on November 2, 1982 and Julie on October 10, 1984.
Jim started a small trucking and excavating business, but due to an accident, he was left searching for a career change.
He joined his father-in-law at G. Kranz Insurance and Real Estate in Killaloe. Jim was licensed in both insurance and real estate sales.
Jim joined the Killaloe fire department in 1982 and became fire chief in 1986. He kept that title through amalgamation and up until he retired from the department on February 25, 2011.
Two years ago, Jim gave up his broker’s license.
“Jim hasn’t been feeling good for a while,” Garnet Kranz explained.
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