John was born June 23, 1969, to Janet and John Whelan Jr. He was the oldest of three boys. He excelled in high school, graduating with honors in 1987. He attended college at the University of Colorado, graduating in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. A few years after graduation, he realized that he did not want to sit behind a desk. He decided to follow in his grandfather’s and uncle’s footsteps and started pursuing a career as a firefighter.
In September of 2000, he started with the Denver Fire Department, and in 2010, he was promoted to engineer. As a firefighter, Johnny was highly respected from the first day he put on the uniform and was always drawn to very busy assignments. Johnny was strong, smart, funny, and very well-liked by his peers. No matter the location, Johnny would most certainly be found in the middle of the fun and will be remembered for his hearty laugh, large smile, and fantastic ability to take a goodhearted joke.
Husband to Sheri for 20 years and father to son, Jackson, John was never at a loss for a story that involved his family. He had many nieces and nephews and was always the favorite uncle because he was a big kid himself and loved to play and have fun.
John was highly athletic, enjoyed fishing and the outdoors, and loved to be around his close friends. He was a very genuine person who always made sure to ask how you were doing. Johnny was truly a once-in-a-lifetime acquaintance, and those that were privileged enough to call him a friend will forever carry his spirit in their hearts.