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James Patrick "“True Salesman”" Phelan


1925 – 2013 - | Obituary Condolences
James Patrick "“True Salesman”" Phelan Obituary
Long time La Jolla resident, Jim Phelan went with our Lord during his sleep on January 20, 2013, at the active age of 87, with loved ones not too far away.
He was a handsome man with a smile that lit up the room that said, "I am so glad to see you!" Once he met you, he never forgot you…he loved people!
Jim was an only child of parents that came from Ireland in the early 1900's. They settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where Jim was born. His father passed away when he was six years old and he found himself blessed to be raised by his mother, an aunt and a cousin.
Jim attended St. Louis Cathedral grade school, St. Louis University High School and continued his education when he went into the Navy V-12 Program. This consisted of Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa, with the final six semesters at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He went on to attend Washington University, Undergraduate School in St. Louis, MO, and was awarded the degree of B.S. Mechanical Engineering, in 1947. He continued graduate school in the following years and received the degree of M.S. in Applied Mechanics. During time spent of completing his masters, Jim always considered it a privilege to work with and for J.R. Moore, whose inertial guidance system was the world's best and was the guidance system in the minuteman missile. In 1948, Jim taught a course in the Applied Mechanics Department, Washington University, in St. Louis.
Between 1949 and 1955, Jim discovered his lifetime love...sales. (He made telephone sales calls up to two days before the good Lord reached down to take him.) He went to work for Granite City Steel Co. in Granite City, Illinois, which is a basic mill producer of flat rolled steel. He pursued a familiarization course in the fundamentals of steel making and marketing. Jim worked as a fulltime, outside salesman selling Granite City Steel to industrial users.
In October 1958, Jim Phelan co-founded with Mr. John Tramelli, a lifelong friend, a manufacturer's agency in St. Louis, MO, Phelan-Tramelli Sales Agency, to sell to industrial customers in Missouri and southern Illinois area. Manufacturers represented included steel mills, plastic companies and producers of fabricated metal parts. This sales agency is still thriving and blooming due to the children of Mr. John Tramelli, carrying the same agency name.
Jim was married in 1965. Jim and his wife, Emma Lee Crow, from Poplar Bluff, MO, made their home in St. Louis, MO, had a fabulous little boy, Sean, in 1967, and decided to move to La Jolla, CA, in 1974. Location and climate were main factors.
Jim started a new sales agency, The Phelan Co., and worked out of La Jolla. His travel to see principals and prospects took him mainly to the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.
He loved to golf, play tennis, read and watch the football and baseball teams "fight it out". He has worked with pro-life for many years as well as the Community Christian Service Agency (CCSA). Jim has loved the Bible and the teachings of God and has attended many Bible classes over the 39 years living in La Jolla. He was always "at peace" with his God, and a great "gift" to man with his kind, gentle and Godly spirit.
He leaves behind his beloved wife, Emma Lee; his cherished son, Sean Patrick Phelan; three grand-nephews; many loving family members by marriage; and countless close, loving friends. We all miss him greatly.
Jim was laid to rest January 28, 2013, at the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego.
There will be a Mass of "Celebration of Jim's Life, to God be the Glory" at All Hallow's Catholic Church in La Jolla on Monday, July 22, 2013, at noon.
Published in La Jolla Light on July 4, 2013
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