The indomitable Eugene Whelan: 1924 – 2013.

In the land around Windsor, Ontario there are giants. They have included leaders and liberals. The most unusual was Eugene Whelan.

Gene was a most uncommon example of the common man. He was a farmer who left an extra large footprint in the halls of Canada’s Parliament. He set a standard during 22 years as a Member of Parliament that few can match. There was much applause when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau recognized that Gene was the ideal Minister of Agriculture for Canada.

He never had much to say but when he spoke, you paid attention. He never worried too much about syntax or tense. His words were plain and easy to understand. He spoke up for the farmer and you learned much by listening. If you thought you knew a damn thing about marketing of farm products, you could always learn more from Gene.

He never minced words but you had to listen carefully because he never spoke loudly or worried too much about clear or proper pronunciation. His sentences were short. He used simple words. They were effective words. Sometimes they might not have been politically correct but you knew there was nothing mean spirited about him.

Those who knew Gene well shared much laughter with him over the years. His droll and quiet humour was a special pleasure. He enjoyed it most when the laugh could be on him.

You had to know him well to tell him what you thought of his stupid green Stetson but you could sure find the big guy in a crowd. And where he ever acquired a taste for crème de menthe, we never had the nerve to ask.

It was good to know Gene Whelan. He will be remembered.


Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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