Theresa Whelan Obituary. Death – The passing of our former president, the Honorable Theresa Whelan, took place on December 26, 2022, and we wish to express our deepest condolences to Theresa’s family and friends at this difficult time. Judge Whelan is survived by her devoted husband, the Honorable Thomas F. Whelan, as well as her two grown children, Erin and Joe, and a granddaughter named Andrea who is absolutely stunning. Judge Whelan, who was an accomplished jurist, loving wife and mother, and served as president of the Suffolk County Women’s Bar from 2002 until 2003, passed away recently.
She was a fierce advocate and supporter of our organization, and she will be truly missed by all of those whose lives she touched during her time as president. The election of Judge Whelan to the position of Judge of the Surrogate’s Court of Suffolk County took place in 2018, and she served in that capacity up until the time of her retirement in June 2022. After being elected to the Suffolk County Family Court in 2007, where she presided over the majority of cases involving child abuse and neglect, Judge Whelan was promoted to the position of Supervising Judge of that court in 2016 and served in that capacity until 2019.
As a judge, Judge Whelan was a trailblazer. He was responsible for the implementation of a successful alternative dispute resolution program in the Surrogate’s Court, as well as the reform of the Family Court to better accommodate the needs of parties and litigants. These reforms included the Remote Access Domestic Violence Program and the Safe Baby Program, both of which helped to reduce the stress and impact on infants and toddlers who were taken from their birth parents. and made it more likely that the country would be reunited.
In 1988, Judge Whelan began her professional life in the legal field working as an Assistant Attorney for Suffolk County. She began her career in the judicial system in 1990 by working as a law clerk for three Supreme Court Justices: the Honorable Eli Wager (Nassau County), the Honorable Mary M. Werner, and the Honorable William B. Rebolini. Her first position was with the Honorable Eli Wager (Nassau County). She worked in nearly every department of the Supreme Court during her seventeen years there, including matrimonial matters, civil litigation, guardianship, tax certiorari, and condemnation cases, to name a few.
The State University of New York at Stony Brook awarded Judge Whelan a Bachelor of Arts degree in English; the Albany Law School conferred upon him a Master of Science degree in Policy Analysis and Public Management; and the Albany Law School conferred upon him a Juris Doctor degree. Judge Whelan was an engaged member of the local bar community and has received numerous accolades for her work in the legal community. Judge Whelan was an active member of the New York State Bar Association as well as the Suffolk County Bar Association in addition to being a member of our organization.
Judge Whelan was presented with the prestigious Marilyn R. Menge Award by the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York in 2022. This award was given to her in recognition of her significant and valuable contributions to both our chapter and the state association. In addition, she is a former recipient of the President’s Award given out by the Suffolk County Bar Association. She was a frequent lecturer for both of these organizations, in addition to a number of other regional and specialized bar associations.
Judge Whelan was not only highly accomplished in the field of law, but she was also an avid outdoorswoman who enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities including hiking with her husband, running, biking, and kayaking at the beach. Her zest for life was contagious and motivating, and she served as a positive example for a large number of aspiring young female lawyers. She had a deep and abiding love for her family.
Judge Whelan Her relationship with her extended family was something she treasured, and her children shone as the brightest stars in her life. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, and colleague in addition to all of those other roles. She had an impact on the lives of a great number of people. She will be greatly missed, and our memories of her will never, ever fade away.
Sincere condolences and prayers are sent to the Whelan family during this difficult time. On Saturday, December 31st, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, the wake will be held at the Alexander Rothwell Funeral Home, which is located in Wading River at 6447 NY-25A, Wading River, New York 11792. Sunday, January 1 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
On Monday, the service will take place at 10:00 am at the Wading River Congregational Church located at 2057 North Country Rd, Wading River, New York 11792.
On behalf of the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association, I am Heidi Levine-Sorkin, the organization’s President.