Robert Joseph Whelan, retired tavern owner

August 5, 2014
Robert Joseph Whelan

Robert Joseph Whelan, 87, of Lewes, passed away Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, at his home after a long battle with cancer. He was born June 10, 1927, in Philadelphia, Pa., son of the late Robert J. and Loretta (Donahue) Whelan.

Mr. Whelan was a graduate of South Catholic High School in Philadelphia. From 1944-46, he proudly served in the U.S. Navy. For his military duty, Mr. Whelan was awarded the Pacific Theater and American Theater ribbons.

Mr. Whelan was an entrepreneur who owned and operated many different taverns throughout his life, beginning with Ponderosa, Frontier and Ponderosa Marina in Ridley Park, Pa. He would later expand his business to Twin Oaks, Pa., and successfully operated the Holy Mackerel and Club Francis. Mr. Whelan relocated to the Delaware area in 1986, where he would operate an additional Holy Mackerel tavern in Lewes.

Mr. Whelan was a lifetime member of American Legion Post 28 in Oak Orchard, a former member of Mason Dixon VFW Post 7234 in Ocean View, and the Pennsylvania Tavern Association. He was an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan and also enjoyed fishing and ballroom dancing.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Whelan was preceded in death by his brother, Thomas Whelan and his wife Virginia. He is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Marguerite Dee (Langdon) Whelan; two children: Mark of Elkton, Md. and Deni Robinson and her husband Joel of Lewes; six grandchildren: Lisa, Matt, Dillon, Cole, Isabella and Vaughn; and many nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to extend deepest gratitude to the staff of Tunnel Cancer Center and Delaware Hospice. A special thank you to Dr. Kenneth Sunnergren and Dr. Daniel Fisher and also thank you to his two caregivers, Dillon Hensey and Chelsie Puckett.

Memorial Service with military honors will be held Friday, Aug. 8, at 11 Aa.m. at Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, 16961 Kings Highway, Lewes,  where friends may call beginning at 10 a.m. Interment will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Whelan's memory to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.

Please visit Mr. Whelan's Life Memorial Webpage and sign his online guestbook at