Deacon Edward J. Wetherall, a member of the first class of permanent deacons ordained in the archdiocese who also served for 12 years as associate director of deacon training, died April 16 at Staten Island University Hospital. He was 81. Auxiliary Bishop Robert A. Brucato, vicar general, celebrated the Funeral Mass April 18 at Our Lady Help of Christians Church on Staten Island. Deacon John Murphy of St. Frances de Chantal parish in the Bronx delivered the homily. Deacon Wetherall was one of the 12 deacons in the first class ordained by Cardinal Terence Cooke in 1973 after the permanent diaconate was restored in the archdiocese. He was associate director of deacon training from 1975 until early in 1988. Some 200 deacons, deacon candidates and their wives attended a tribute ceremony for Deacon Wetherall at St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie in 1988. He also served at Our Lady Help of Christians parish on Staten Island. He counseled the aged and did parish administration work. He worked with youths in the parish and its school, and was active in the parish's right to life group, Deacon Murphy said. Deacon Murphy, in his homily, spoke about Deacon Wetherall's service as associate director of deacon training. When Deacon Murphy was named the first director of the permanent diaconate program in 1979, the two became good friends and shared an office at the seminary. Deacon Murphy said that when a disease caused Deacon Wetherall to go blind, he accepted the loss of his eyesight without complaint. "He offered it up," Deacon Murphy said. Professionally, Deacon Wetherall was employed by IBM as a writer and then as an administrative manager with responsibility for budgets and personnel. He held a bachelor's degree in education from Fordham University. Burial was in St. Joseph's Cemetery on Staten Island.