Beatrice “Trix” (Wolstenholme) Whalen of New Bedford, passed away Sunday October 5, 2008 at The Oaks, following an illness. She was 88 years old and the widow of William H. Whalen III.
Born in Withington, Manchester, England, she was the daughter of the late Duerden Wolstenholme and Mary (Mandeville) Wolstenholme. She had lived in New Bedford since 1947 and was a communicant of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Church.
Mrs. Whalen was an accomplished International class free style swimmer representing England. As a member of the English national team, she participated at the Irish Taliteann Games in Dublin, Ireland, winning 4 gold medals for England. Although deemed too young to participate, she qualified for the 1932 Olympics that were held in Los Angeles. In 1934, at the age of 14 years old, she was a bronze medallist at the European games, held in Magdeburg, Germany. She also participated in the Empire Games in London. During the late 1950’s to early 1960’s, she medalled in many long distance free style swim events in New Bedford’s annual races, held in late Summer, at West Beach. Trix, then the mother of 5 young children, successfully competed against much younger male swimmers.
She was the Aquatic Director at the YWCA of New Bedford and a member of the American Red Cross. At the YWCA, Mrs. Whalen coached the competitive swim team and instituted a successful Water Babies program, as well as swim programs for the physically and mentally challenged. Trix taught many to swim and to be comfortable with water safety. In 2002, she was honored as a SouthCoast Coaching Legend. Coach Whalen was also honorary chairwoman of the fourth annual Swim Buzzards Bay event. She was a member of the War Brides Club at the YWCA, a Cub Scout den mother and a CCD teacher at St. James Church. After retiring from the YWCA, she assisted at the Dartmouth Swim Academy for several seasons.
She was an avid reader and lover of animals and benefactor to many causes.
She is survived by five children; Patricia and her husband, Edward J. Souza of New Bedford, William H. Whalen IV and his wife, Jean C. of Buzzards Bay, Mary Ellen and her husband, Ralph E. Castino of Seekonk, Duerden “D.J.” and his wife, Michele B. of Nashua, NH and Cecelia G. “Cee Cee” and her husband, John E. LaBrode, Jr. of Fairhaven. She has 12 loving grandchildren, Karyn, Kristine, Susan, Christopher, Matthew, Jennifer, Andrew, William, Patrick, Sarah, Molly and John and great-granddaughters Amanda and Ava. Also, survived by her loved sister in law Virginia B. Whalen and long time friend Gloria Wood and several nieces and nephews
She was the sister of the late Leslie, Francis, Cecelia, and Roland.
Funeral from the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals, 495 Park St., New Bedford Thursday, October 9th at 9 AM. Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Church at 10 AM. Burial will follow in Rural Cemetery. Visiting hours will be on Wednesday, October 8th from 5-8 PM. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Cancer Society 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701 or to one’s favorite charity.