Marcia Whelan

Obituary of Marcia Whelan

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Marcia Whelan, age 82, on May 14 at The Mount Community Care Centre in Charlottetown, PEI. Mom was born in Abram Village on September 25, 1941 to the late Mark and Mary-Anne (Bernard) Arsenault. The family moved to Summerside when she was young and that was her home for more than 75 years. As the eldest of seven children, she enjoyed growing up in a close, fun-loving family, and playing the role of big sister.


Mom strove for excellence in everything she did. She received the Governor General’s Academic Medal in high school in 1959, and graduated from St. Dunstan’s University in 1963 with a Bachelor of  Science (magna cum laude), one of five women in a class of thirty. She decided on a career in education, and started at the South Shore Regional Catholic High School in Montreal. That same year, Mom met a dashing young military man from England, stationed at CFB Summerside. Mom and Dad were married on July 1, 1964, and immediately started a family. 


After short postings in Cold Lake AB and Moosonee ON, the family settled back down in PEI in 1971. Mom spent most of her career at Greenfield Elementary School in St. Eleanors, as a core French teacher and later as Vice Principal. She retired from teaching in 1998. She always cherished the many wonderful memories of the students, staff and teachers at Greenfield Elementary.


Mom was an avid golfer, bowler and softball short-stop. She was a member of the Summerside Golf Club for years and served as President of the Ladies Division. She represented PEI at the national 5-pin bowling championships. She was also an active volunteer in the community, including with the Lionettes, Kinettes, Catholic Women’s League, Zonta, and later with the Jubilee Theatre and TOPS. She was a regular at local seniors facilities helping to organize card parties. In 1996, she received the Charles H Llewellyn Service Person of the Year Award for her volunteerism.


Mom’s love of theatre started in university. Throughout her life, she acted in many theatre productions and even directed a few, including with the Summerside Performing Arts Group. One of her last performances was at the age of 70 in our cousin Alice Bernard’s Pélagie et Henriette. Her “Mad Mother From Miscouche” stand-up comedy act regularly entertained her colleagues at teachers conventions, with monologues about teaching, life and aging. Her creativity was also clearly visible in her garden and in her many paintings. 


Mom was so proud of her Acadian heritage, and we have wonderful memories of the many events and festivals we attended as a family in la Région Évangéline.


Mom was predeceased by her parents Mark and Mary-Anne (Bernard) Arsenault, her husband, Michael Whelan, and her brother Dennis.  Mom is mourned by her sons Scott (Carolyn Sullivan) and Bill (Michelle Cottreau); special daughter Waree Sunlee; sisters Carol Arsenault (Donnie), Judy McMillan (Dave), Donna Rogerson (Linton), Noella Gaudet (Wayne), brother Reggie Arsenault and special sister Rosie Morrison (Bob); grandchildren Greg, Ashley, Hayley, Laura, Christie; special grandchildren Madeleine, Romeo and Zachary; great-grandchildren Sierra, Skye and Millie. She will be missed by her many nieces, nephews, cousins and by her dear cousins Louise Arsenault and Hilda Lindstrom (Les). Marcia will also be missed by her many friends and teacher colleagues, and her lifelong friends Betty Pickering, Elizabeth Noonan and Paula Sehring with whom she spent many adventurous holidays.


We will miss Mom’s infectious smile and laugh. Mom and Dad are now reunited and, we suspect, doing the jive.


The family would like to thank all the staff at the Mount who provided great care for Mom in a wonderful environment.


Resting at the East Prince Funeral Home, 245 Pope Road in Summerside.


Visiting hours will be held at the East Prince Funeral Home on Thursday evening from 5:00-7:00 pm. Funeral mass will take place at St. Paul’s Church, Summerside on Friday, May 17 at 10:00 am, followed by a reception at the Parish Hall.


Donations in Marcia’s memory can be made to the St. Paul’s Parish Fund.

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