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Published: Sunday, 6/17/2001

Retired TPS educator was teacher, principal

ADDISON, Mich. - Peter F. Whalen IV, who was a teacher and principal in Toledo Public Schools for 32 years, died Friday in the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.

He was 64 and had been hospitalized with pneumonia since May 25, his wife, Wilma, said. His immune system was weakened by drugs he had taken since receiving a liver transplant about 12 years ago.

After his transplant, he gave at least 100 speeches to community groups and school children on the importance of organ donation, his wife said.

Mr. Whalen taught science and physical education and coached basketball at Point Place Junior High School in the 1960s.

He then became a principal at Heatherdowns, Garfield, and Whittier elementary schools.

At one elementary, he was the first principal to allow women teachers to wear pants to work - and they were quite grateful, his wife said.

β€œHe really enjoyed being there with the kids,” said Bob Clark, a school improvement leader for Woodward and Waite high schools who once taught under Mr. Whalen. β€œI think he had lots of opportunities to go to central administration, but he wanted to stay in a building with kids.”

Mr. Whalen retired after receiving the liver transplant, fearing children's illnesses.

He and his wife moved to Devils Lake, just east of Addison, Mich.

He graduated from Whitmer High School in 1954. There he met the former Wilma Delph, a 1955 graduate who would become his wife.

He started college at the University of Toledo and graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1959 as a science education major.

He received his master's degree in education administration in the 1960s from the University of Toledo.

Surviving are his wife, Wilma; sons, Peter and Tim; daughter, Sue McGrath; mother, Barbara Whalen; sister, Pam Honn, and six grandchildren.

The body will be in the Brown Van Hemert Funeral Home, Addison, after 6 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Mary's on the Lake Catholic Church, Manitou Beach.

The family suggests tributes to the Devil's Lake Preservation League or to the church.

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