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Cletus John Whelan

Cletus John Whelan, 92, of Columbia, Illinois, left this world for his next journey surrounded by family on October 29, 2023. He is survived by four children; Michael (Janice) Whelan, James (Vicki) Whelan, Jan (Bill) Walsh and Gene (Pam) Whelan. He leaves behind thirteen grandchildren, Shannon (Ted) Haney, Julie (Phil) Klazynski, Carrie (Tony) Egizi, Andy (Cheryl) Whelan, Matt Whelan, Lori Higgins (Bryan), Liz Ramey, Byron (Katie) Walsh, Jared (Sarah) Walsh, Dylan (Sarah)Walsh, Madison Whelan, Savanna (fiancé Anthony DeVore) Whelan and Sam Whelan.  He is also survived by 20 great grandchildren; his brothers, Allen and Gerald; a sister, Nancy Kruse; and sister-in-laws, Mable Whelan, Dorothy Heizer, and Marie Heizer.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years: Patricia Ann (Heizer); parents, Albert and Anna (Dieckmann-Jaenke) Whelan; his granddaughter, Erin K. Whelan; a grandson, Jack Whelan; four siblings, Arnold, Eileen Kelley Jr., Leroy, and Mildred (Dehne); brother-in-laws,: Walter Kelley Jr., and Oliver Dehne; and sister-in-laws, Freeda and Roslie. 

A true River Man, Cletus held many jobs throughout his 92 yrs, rising through the ranks to become a leader in the construction industry. He retired as President of Tower Rock Stone, Ste. Genevieve, Mo. and Vice President of Luhr Brothers Construction Company Columbia, IL. Cletus was known for his congenial personality.  He greeted everyone he met with a handshake and a warm smile. He was a proud member of Immaculate Conception Parish, Columbia, Illinois and the Operating Engineers Local 520 for over 60 years. 

Family meant everything to Cletus.  He loved to travel, dance, fish, and play cards with his family and friends. Some of his favorite times were boating with the grand kids and great grandchildren on the Lake of the Ozarks. He will be fondly remembered by all who knew him. 

Online condolences may be expressed at

Memorials can be sent to the Immaculate Conception Church Fund or Gibault High School.

Visitation was on Friday November 3, 2023 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm and on Saturday November 4, 2023 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am at the funeral home.

A mass of Christian burial began at 11:00 am at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Columbia, IL., with Msgr. Carl Scherrer oficiating. Burial was in Immaculate Conception Cemetery Columbia, IL.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Braun Family Funeral Home, Columbia, IL.