J. Daniel Martin Phelan
September 7, 1938- June 15, 2013
An old proverb says: "When you are born, you cry and the world rejoices. Live your life in such a way that when you die the world cries, while you rejoice." Dan's world is weeping now. He died suddenly on June 15th at his beloved summer home in Mountain View, rejoicing in the company of his extended family on the eve of Father's Day.
Dan, dadly, Danny, Uncle Dan, Grandpa -he was, to us, the sweetest man on the planet-a wit, a rascal, a man most wise and forever loveable. What came through, always, was his large heart and unwavering instinct for kindness.
Dan played many roles, all of them with gusto. He was married to Frances (Charette) for forty-seven years, living that adventure with abiding loyalty, love and good cheer. He was a father. That was his proudest role, watching his three children Martin (Stephanie Myles), Charles (Anne Saris) and Mary Jeanne (Glenn Harrison) grow to maturity and success within the orbit of his love. He was a grandfather to William and Riley Harrison. That was the happiest role of his senior days.
Daniel was the devoted son of William and Gladys Phelan, and the pater familias to four sisters: Patricia (John Storer-Folt), Mary (Louis Visentin), Kathleen (John Doyle), and Veronica (Mark Munroe). He was also the majordomo of the family compound in the Adirondacks where so much of his contentment was lived.
Dan was a friend to many, from his dear old luncheon buddies to the endless stream of pals his children brought home; from nieces and nephews to countless cousins; from neighbours, to the thousands of families he helped during a forty-seven year career in the practice of family law.
Dan lived his professional life with integrity and vision. He believed that "common sense and a bit of humour go a long way to providing solutions that might not otherwise be apparent." Best of all, throughout his career he was that rare breed -a lawyer who hated to send out bills. Payment often came in peculiar ways over the years: It might be a bottle of scotch, or the promise of prayers, or leather goods, or even, once, a basket of zucchini.
Dan was a man for whom status meant little and humanity everything. We loved the humanity in him: his music, his irreverent jokes, his fellowship, his capacity for joy. How we will miss him.
Funeral services were held at St. Ignatius of Loyola, 4455, West Broadway, Montréal, on Friday, June 28, at 11 a.m. The family received condolences at Collins Clarke Funeral Home, 5610 Sherbrooke west, on Wednesday June 26, from 6-9, and Thursday June 27, from 2-5 & 6-9. Donations to St. Mary's Hospital Foundation would be appreciated in lieu of flowers.