MARIETTA, Ga. -- Gary Edward Whalen of Marietta died Thursday, July 25, 2013. He was 54.
Mr. Whalen was born Aug. 18, 1958, in Sharon.
He attended Catholic school there and graduated in 1976 from Kennedy Christian High School, Hermitage. He attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he received a degree in finance.
Gary and his wife Anita were married a week after his college graduation. When she graduated a year later, they moved to North Huntingdon, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh.
He started his career at Helms-Byrnes Trucking as a staff accountant. Shortly after, he studied for and passed a two-day certified public accountant exam.
In 1984, Gary and his wife took a job transfer to work for Ryder-PIE in Jacksonville, Fla. He left Ryder to work for Touche-Ross Public Accounting to get his public accounting hours for his CPA license.
After getting his license, he went to work at the Maxwell House plant for Kraft Foods in the accounting department. He eventually transferred to work at Kraft headquarters in 1990 in White Plains, N.Y.
Before the move to New York, Gary and Anita were blessed with the arrival of three children, Scott, in 1985; Brian, in 1988; and Amy, in 1990.
Between the arrivals of Scott and Brian, Gary went through chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Within a month of starting treatment, he was cancer free and celebrating the gift of life. This trial deepened Gary’s trust and faith in God.
In 1996, Gary took another transfer with Kraft and relocated to Marietta with his family. He had been working towards becoming a plant controller so accepting the position at the Breyers Yogurt plant in Atlanta was a fulfillment of hard work and God’s blessing on his life. Returning to the South and leaving behind snow shovels was an added bonus.
After the Breyers plant closed, he took the same position at the Nabisco plant downtown. In 2003, his 15+ years of work under Kraft Foods came to a close as he took a job with Columbian Chemicals just a few miles from his Marietta home. He truly loved working for Columbian and found a place where he enjoyed his relationships with a great company and great coworkers.
Gary did not have a lot of hobbies but he did enjoy gardening and keeping his yard looking nice. He loved growing flowers and plants from seed and nurturing things to grow. He also enjoyed taking time for a hike to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in nature. Together, with Anita, he also enjoyed feeding the birds and watching them through the picture window in their kitchen.
Even with an ideal work scenario, home was always where his heart truly was. He loved spending time with family.
Anyone who knew him also knows that his relationship with God and his faith in God were the most important things in his life. He found a personal relationship with Christ during his college years that he continued to nurture throughout his life. He was always grateful for the work of Christ on his behalf and strove to make that the focus of his devotion.
He loved to serve in the church in various capacities. He spent many years leading Crown Ministries classes and later Dave Ramsey classes because he had a passion to help others with their personal finances. He also in recent years served on his church’s leadership team, which he considered a great honor.
The light of Christ shone through in all he did. He was a faithful and wonderful husband and father. Many have said he epitomized the idea of a faithful servant.
Gary is survived by his wife, Anita Whalen; sons, “Scott” Robert Whalen and “Brian” William Whalen, both Atlanta; daughter, Amy W. Prince, wife of Max, Marietta; mother, Helen Ann Whalen, Sharpsville; brothers, Robert “Bob” Whalen, Monrovia, Md.; Richard Whalen, Hermitage; and Terrence Whalen, Sharon; and sister, Karen Kowalcyzk, Howell, Mich.
Gary Edward, 54, Marietta, Ga.
Service: Funeral services at 2 p.m. Sunday (7-28-13) in the chapel of MARIETTA FUNERAL HOME, 915 Piedmont Road, Marietta, GA 30066, with Aaron Anderson officiating. Online condolences may be expressed at www.mariettafuneralhome.org
Calling hours: Family will have a reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at The Brickyard, 129 Church St., Marietta.
Interment: Will follow at Kennesaw Memorial Park, Marietta.