Estelle M. “Honey” (McDermott) Whalen passed away peacefully on Holy Thursday, April 14, 2022 at home surrounded by her family at the age of 91.
Estelle was born on September 5th, 1930 in Newburgh, to John J. and Margaret M. (Haley) McDermott. She attended St. Patrick’s Grammar School and graduated from Mount St. Mary’s Academy. As a lifelong resident of the area, she treasured growing up in Newburgh with her five siblings and raising a family of ten children in New Windsor.
On June 12, 1954, she married the late George “Bud” Whalen, with whom she shared 61 loving and happy years. Estelle retired as a Supervisor from the New York Bell Telephone Company to devote her life as a wife, homemaker, and mother. Family, faith, friends (and food) were essential to Estelle’s being. Anyone who knew her children knew that she was a star in their eyes, and that meant the world to her. She relished being the central figure and matriarch in their lives. She was the proud recipient of the New York State Elks Association Mother of the Year award in 1985.
Estelle was passionate about making the world a better place—giving to those in most need (which included prayers)—and deeply believed in leaving everything a little better than it was found. She was unapologetically herself, a truth seeker and truth teller, and never shied away from stating her opinion or using her voice to advocate for the voiceless and the unborn.
Between raising her children, spending countless game nights with her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and traveling the world with her husband in her later years, Estelle spent a significant amount of time serving on various committees in the community. She was a member of Orange County Right to Life (past president), La Leche League of Orange County (chapter co-founder), Rockland County Catholic Coalition, Great American Families of America, Catholic Daughters of America, St. Joseph’s School New Windsor PTA, St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s Churches (parishioner, eucharistic minister, and lector), Mount St. Mary’s Academy Alumni Association (officer), Alpha Beta Zeta, Girl Scouts (troop leader), American Legion J.P. Galloway Post #152 Drum and Bugle Corps (charter member), Catholic Charities of Orange County, and was involved with the Marriage Encounter and Cursillos Retreats.
Survivors include her children, George (Gaetana) Whalen, Greg (Beth) Whalen, Margie (Mike) Skelly, Mary Ann (Jack) Burns, Tom (Tricia) Whalen, Theresa (Dan) Munson, Joe (Cristen) Whalen, Regina (John) Galante, Kathleen (Rick) Hovey, Chris (Gina) Whalen, Liz (Kurt) Bremmer; 35 grandchildren; 7 great grandchildren; brother, Ken McDermott; sister-in-law, Bernadette Dennis; and many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
She was predeceased by her siblings, Marty Harding, Bud McDermott, Dolly McDonald, and Donald McDermott; in-laws, Joan McDermott, Marie and Ed Brosnan, Peggy and Frank McKinstrie, Kathleen and Bob Chesser, Dewey Dennis, and Joan and Dick Clark; and many loving family members and friends.
The Whalen Family would like to extend their deep gratitude for the great care and compassion by the nurses and staff of Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Estelle’s name may be made to Orange County Right to Life, P.O. Box 51, Washingtonville, NY 10992 (where she was involved in helping to “save the babies”); or Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties, 800 Stony Brook Ct., Newburgh, NY 12550 (hospiceoforange.com/donate).