Theresa Whelan, former Suffolk Surrogate and Family Court judge, dies at 60

Theresa Whelan, former Suffolk Surrogate and Family Court judge, dies at 60

Theresa Whelan, a previous Suffolk County Loved ones Courtroom judge and afterwards the county’s surrogate, acknowledged for presiding in excess of conditions involving rough spouse and children issues with compassion, died past 7 days at age 60.

Whelan, of Wading River, died of mind most cancers very last Monday at East Stop Hospice in Westhampton Beach, mentioned her spouse, Thomas Whelan, a state Supreme Courtroom justice in Suffolk.

Theresa Whelan became a Household Court judge in 2008 and was the court’s supervising judge from 2016 to 2018. She heard generally baby abuse and neglect instances and presided over the Household Treatment Courtroom, a application intended to enable unite family members afflicted by liquor and drug use.

Andrew Crecca, district administrative decide of Suffolk County, stated Relatives Court docket judges deal with “heartbreaks and complicated spouse and children situations” and Whelan designed it “a extremely caring courtroom.”

“It’s crucial, as a Family Court docket choose, that you might be not just administering the regulation but that you are executing so with compassion and treatment for the young children and the family members that come before you,” he claimed. “I consider she just definitely embodied that.”

Whelan became the Suffolk County surrogate in 2019, pursuing a difficult-fought election in which backlash about a cross-endorsement offer for the post led to a contentious race. The surrogate oversees estate cases, trusts and guardianships for minors or these not lawfully competent. In June, she resigned from the judgeship because of to the health issues, considerably less than 4 yrs into her 10-calendar year time period.

“She unquestionably has remaining her mark on Suffolk County judiciary and almost certainly countless households and people today who’ve absent in advance of her,” said Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer, who first fulfilled Whelan when they were adolescents performing in political campaigns.

Whelan was born on Jan. 21, 1962, in Queens and her loved ones later on moved to North Babylon in advance of settling in Sayville, her spouse and children stated.

Whelan arrived from a well known Democratic relatives. Her mom, Joan Bryant, is a previous Suffolk deputy elections commissioner and was a key fundraiser for the late celebration chair Dominic Baranello. Whelan met her husband at a political fundraiser.

In the courtroom, attorneys who experienced cases around which Whelan presided said she was watchful and deliberate in her decision-earning and compassionate towards litigants.

“I would see people coming in that have been drug addicts [who] had missing their kids, sometimes a single, two, 3 instances for the reason that they would relapse,” claimed Lynn Poster-Zimmerman, a Huntington relatives legislation legal professional who realized Whelan for 25 many years.

“No make a difference what individuals went by means of, she didn’t judge them,” Poster-Zimmerman mentioned. “She also wasn’t just one to give children back to an individual who couldn’t deal with them. But she seriously tried to understand what individuals were being going by way of.”

Off the bench, Whelan was lively in experienced organizations and mentored other people. She was a member of the Suffolk County Bar Affiliation and a previous president of the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Affiliation.

In the summer season of 2019, LaToya James, a Hauppauge spouse and children regulation and legal defense attorney, said she bought a call from Whelan inquiring her to contemplate taking Surrogate’s Courtroom mediation instruction. She said Whelan also reached out to the Amistad Extensive Island Black Bar Association so they could distribute the data to its membership.

“The bench, just at massive, has lost a great particular person,” James stated.

Whelan acquired a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in policy examination and public management, the two from Stony Brook College. She earned her law diploma from Albany Regulation School in 1988. Ahead of she was elected a judge, Whelan was a legislation clerk for several condition Supreme Courtroom justices in Nassau and Suffolk counties for more than 17 yrs.

In addition to her partner, Theresa Whelan is survived by her son, Joseph Whelan of Middle Moriches her daughter, Erin Meyers of Ridge her mother, Joan Bryant of each Sarasota, Florida, and Sayville brothers Jack Bryant of Bay Shore and Christopher Bryant of Sayville sisters Vaughn Bogucki of Florida and Victoria Xmas of Northport and a granddaughter, Andrea Meyers of Ridge. Whelan was predeceased by her father, John Bryant.

A funeral support was held Monday early morning at Wading River Congregational Church in Wading River.