John J. Phelan, III

February 16, 1942 ~ March 22, 2023 (age 81) 81 Years Old

John Phelan, III Obituary

John J. Phelan, III, aged 81, passed away peacefully at his home in Bethel CT on March 22, 2023.   Born on February 16, 1942 in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Yonkers NY, John was a renowned lawyer in New York City and Florida specializing in Securities Arbitration.  John was the son of Mary Eunice Howley and Lt. Col. John J. Phelan Jr. (U.S.M.A., ‘36) who died in Italy in the closing days of the Second World War.  John graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1963 and Fordham Law School in 1966. 

While in college and law school John worked for the New York Football Giants at their training camp and in other capacities during the regular season.  John was a passionate Giants fan and remained a season ticket holder even after he relocated to Florida in 2001.  He would often travel to far-away venues to support the team, none more significant that Superbowl XXI in January, 1987 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

John was raised in Yonkers, N.Y. by his mother and James W. Ryan, M.D. who had married in 1946.  Throughout his life John remained devoted to his family and the many friends he made while growing up on Park Hill in Yonkers and while attending school.

Upon passing the bar exam, John’s first position was with the Securities and Exchange Commission where he developed his specialty and rose to the position of Branch Chief in the New York Office.  He then moved into private practice in New York City and Florida where he was known for his hard work and attention to detail.  John enjoyed an accomplished career until his retirement in 2022.  A fellow attorney who had worked on cases with John commented that “John is the smartest lawyer I have ever known.” 

John is predeceased by all of his parents, but is survived by his children, John. J. Phelan IV (Fenna) of Lehighton, PA, Dana Phelan of Bethel, CT and Mark Phelan (Samantha) of Silverdale, Washington.  Beloved grandchildren include Peter Phelan, Thomas Phelan, Maura Phelan, Aidan Phelan and Caleb Phelan.  John is also survived by siblings Mary Lani Owen of Silver Springs, MD and James W. Ryan, Jr. of Newport RI and the mother of his children Christine Phelan of Bethel CT.

John will be remembered for his legal accomplishments, his Irish wit and charisma, his remarkable memory of obscure information and his never-ending willingness to share that knowledge with others.  John was a wonderful story teller and would gladly regale his friends with stories about his childhood, his passionate love for the N.Y. Giants and his devotion and love of family and friends.

Services were held in Bethel, CT on March 29, 2023. To leave an online condolence, please visit

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Services were held
March 29, 2023


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