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1917 John 2020

John P. Wheelihan

October 17, 1917 — November 1, 2020

John P. Wheelihan 103 of Ellendale, ND died November 1, 2020 at Prince of Peace Care Center, Ellendale, ND. A Masonic Graveside Service with Military Honors will be 1pm Friday, May 7, 2021 at Ellendale City Cemetery. Arrangements by Hoven Funeral Chapel, Ellendale. Scroll down to view the video tribute. John Patrick Wheelihan, age 103 of Ellendale, died peacefully of natural causes on November 1, 2020. Preceded in death by his parents, William and Maude Wheelihan, sister Nan W. Halstead, wife of 49 years Clara Wheelihan, son James William. Survived by sons, John Patrick II and David Michael (Kim) Wheelihan and grandchildren. John was born on the family farm on October 17, 1917. He attended grade school in a one room Elden Township country school house ½ mile north of the family farm where his mother, Maude was the teacher. John graduated Ellendale High School in 1935 and graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1940 with a BS in business commerce. In 1940 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps., now U.S. Air Force. His basic flying training began at Randolph Field in San Antonio, TX. Graduation was at Brooks Field, San Antonio, TX on September 16, 1941. Following basic flight training John was selected to attend the prestigious General’s Staff and Command School at Fort Leavenworth, KS. After ranking in the top 25% of the class he was ordered to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to attend General Henry H. (“Hap”) Arnolds Air Force Staff school where he received advanced training in scientific studies and testing procedures. After finishing his stint at Wright-Patterson he was sent to the United States Air Force School of Applied Tactics near Orlando, Florida for tactical training. Additional training followed in Boston, New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. While attending classes at the Pentagon, John first met his future wife, Clara M. Develing of Washington, D.C. John spent the war years stationed first on Ascension Island in 1942. He was then stationed at various times in Morocco, Northern Africa and Italy from where he flew missions to Cairo, Egypt, Paltova, Russia, Tehran, Iran. He returned to the U.S. in July of 1945. John married Clara M. Develing on September 30, 1950. They had three sons, John P. II, James William (deceased) and David Wheelihan. John continued farming throughout his life. In addition to farming he served as postmaster in Ellendale for 16 years, developed and ran Wheelihan Realty specializing in farm and ranch land as well as residential properties for over 40 years. John continued his love of aviation as a Director on the North Dakota State Aeronautics Commission and 8 years as a Director on the International Northwest Aviation Council. He continued his father’s involvement in the North Dakota Farmers Union Oil Cooperative and served on the Elden Townships board for many years. He served as a Director on the Southeast Water Users Association. John spent 23 years plus years as a board member and strong advocate for Ellendale OPERA and the Ellendale Historical Society. John was recognized for his community involvement with a star on the Ellendale Main Street Walk of Fame.
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