J. Daniel Martin Phelan

September 7, 1938June 15, 2013

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.


  • Visitation Wednesday, June 26, 2013
  • Visitation Thursday, June 27, 2013
  • Memorial Service Friday, June 28, 2013

J. Daniel Martin Phelan

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November 12, 2013

To the Phelan family, he helped me in a difficult time in my life, I appreciated it so much, my sympathies to all the Phelan family. Huguette Thompson.

Sheila Rubin

November 9, 2013

I learned today that I had lost a dear friend. Though our encounters over the years were very few, Dan's interest and efforts whenever I called for guidance and support were sincere and effective. His counsel was always on point, direct and clear. A few words from Dan overcame concern and complications. Always compassionate, warm and understanding, efficient and thoughtful. Wish he were here to help me choose just the right words to fit the occasion. I will miss him forever.

Sheila Rubin

Carol & Ray Phelan Anderson

June 29, 2013

To all of the PHELAN members of this grand ole Irish family - were one of a kind & we won't soon come across another, such as you. Our most sincere sympathies go out to everyone connected with this kind & gentle soul.
Never to be forgotten....

Olga Panyszak Geoffrion

June 29, 2013

Frances, I'm very sorry to hear of the loss of your husband Dan. Many years spent with a loving spouse can still feel very short when that person is suddenly taken from us. May he rest in peace and may you and your family find solace from sharing all the happy memories you have of Dan.

Marie Archambault

June 28, 2013

Madame Frances, Martin, Charles et Mary Jeanne,

Je joins ma voix à celles de vos parents et amis pour vous offrir mes sincères condoléances.
J'ai travaillé au contentieux de Ville-Marie quand Dan y était directeur. J'ai connu un gentleman d'une grande générosité. Je garde d'excellents souvenirs d'une rencontre d'équipe à Mountain View!
Le montage photos que vous avez préparé est très touchant. Je me suis imaginé Dan m'expliquant fièrement chacune de ces photos où il est manifestement entouré de personnes qui lui étaient très chères. Merci d'avoir partagé ces précieux souvenirs.

Marie Archambault

Terence J. McQuillan

June 28, 2013

To Martin and family, our most sincere sympathy goes out to you Martin and the whole family on the passing of Dan. I will always have fond memories of him and take comfort in knowing that he left us doing the things that he loved the most.

Sincerely, Terry

Daniel Garvin

June 27, 2013

I have many fond memories of Dan while I grew up in Mountain View. From fixing the water pump to watching him cut the acres of grass. Time separated us and I regret that. My mom spoke fondly of Danny. I am proud to share his name. May he rest in the arms of Jesus.
Your cousin,

Donna Hedge

June 27, 2013

I am so very sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I hope knowing so many people care will be a small source of comfort to you in the coming days. Your dad is not gone; he is in your heart.
My condolences to you and your family Charles.

Serge & Susan Jacques

June 27, 2013

We have such good memories of Dan and all the Phelan family on Percival Street in Montreal West and of attending services at St. Ignatius Church with Father Fitz and Father Pat at the helm. We offer our sincere sympathies to all the family on the loss of such a special human being. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Colleen Crowdis-Humes

June 26, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
With deepest sympathy,

Colleen and family