Hannigan, Nina Edith

Hannigan, Nina Edith

February 5th, 2019

On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, just starting her 96th year, after complications following hip surgery at London’s University Hospital. Beloved wife of the late Thomas John Andrew Hannigan (2013). Devoted mother of John (Ruth) of Toronto and Brian of London. Loving grandmother of TJ (Sarah) of San Francisco, Tim (Debjani) of Edmonton, Maeve (Alex) of Toronto and Olivia of Toronto. Great-grandmother of Andrew, Eva and Ella. Special aunt to Suzanne Birks of Montreal and dear sister to Lillian Birks of Montreal, Eileen (Floyd) Patterson of Kingston and Betty Janack, also of Kingston. One of seven children, Nina was born in 1924 in Brockville, Ontario, to George and Edith MacMillan. Her greatest thrill as a child came when she was given her first library card: “This really constituted my introduction to a new and enchanted world, of which to this day I have never tired.” Nina’s first job was running the office of local optometrist Ken Haskett. During World War II, she joined the Canadian Volunteer Service Force and met a handsome young soldier, Tom Hannigan, who was stationed at the Officers’ Training Centre in Brockville. Nina and Tom were married in June 1944 and moved to Ottawa. One of Nina’s fondest memories in Ottawa was being serenaded by the great Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli during a performance at the old Capitol Theatre. After eight years, the Hannigan family relocated to Windsor; and, then, in 1965, to London, Ontario, where Nina would spend the rest of her life. In the Forest City, Nina joined the London Symphony Women’s Committee and soon discovered that she had a flair for devising fundraising projects and promoting the Orchestra. One of her legendary achievements was securing Elvis Presley’s last autograph for a symphony boutique called Pillow Talk. She also corresponded with Elton John, who sent her a fundraising letter addressed to London music students. Nina was an executive member of the London Branch of the Canadian Ballet Guild and served on the steering committee for a range of local projects/organizations, including Interiors ’81, the first annual Women of Distinction Awards (1984), Fanshawe College’s Fashion Design Contest and the Women’s Probus Club of London. “The performing arts”, she recalled, “have enriched my life beyond measure.” In later years, Nina became an enthusiastic fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. Above all, she was devoted to her family, and shared her warmth and companionship with a wonderful circle of friends. Charming, down-to-earth and full of verve and imagination, Nina is going to be profoundly missed by everyone who knew and loved her. Special thanks to the staff of the Daisy neighborhood at Westmount Gardens for their exceptional care over the last four years. A memorial service will be conducted at WESTVIEW FUNERAL CHAPEL, 709 Wonderland Road North, London, on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 3:00 p.m., with visitation one hour prior.  Those wishing to make a donation in memory of Nina are asked to consider the London Public Library or London Symphonia. 

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Donna CondonBrian, John & Family Nina, a strong woman with more attributes than this space allows. It was my privilege to journey with her over these last years. Her patience, caring, joyful spirit & love she shared with family & friends she met along the way. Truly an Inspiration! Job well done Nina!
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