James E. Hannigan (Jim), 89, died January 17, 2020 in Boerne, Texas.
Jim was born in Jacksonville, FL to Edward and Marian Hannigan in 1930. Fascinated by airplanes at an early age, he earned an BS in Aeropace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1953. Briefly working for Boeing Airplane Co. one summer in Seattle, he met his wife Peggy. He then served as an officer in the USAF for two years, worked for Lockheed as a test flight engineer in Marietta, GA and then as a civilian project manager at Eglin Air Force Base in FL. It was there when he saw a job announcement by the young NASA agency, and soon, he moved to Houston to begin his long career in the nation’s space program.
At NASA he started as a flight controller, as a CapCom for Mercury-Atlas 8, and became head of the Agena/LEM module section, and then eventually chief of the Lunar Module Systems Branch. In 1971, he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his leadership during the Apollo 13 mission. During the end of the Apollo missions, he worked for the Space Shuttle mission rules and procedures. Upon retiring from NASA in 1981, he worked for several smaller engineering firms, all in support of the space programs. In 1992, he retired from work life completely and he and his wife moved to the Texas Hill Country where he enjoyed volunteer service, nature photography, boating, gardening, and ‘being a grandfather.’
A kind and generous man, who was well respected by his friends and colleagues, Jim served his community through church work, Boy Scouts, and the Rotary Club of Dickinson. Among his unusual experiences were drinking champagne eight miles above the icebergs of Greenland; being a teenage aircraft spotter during WWII; and camping on a beach with thousands of horseshoe crabs. His passion for aircraft had led him to fly, or fly in, any and all types of aircraft, gliders to seaplanes to jet aircraft. As a young boy, Jim explored the waterways and wild spots of Florida, resulting in a lifelong love for nature and history which he passed on to his family. He meticulously organized family vacations to always include visits to national and state parks and historical sites.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife Harriett, aka Peggy, and his sister Sarah Hannigan. He is survived by his sister Edith Hannigan Stracener and his daughters Linda Hannigan and Mary Hannigan (Ruben Fuentes), his sons Richard Hannigan and Thomas Hannigan (Joan Donoghue). Jim is further survived by three grandchildren, Sean, Kelsey and Travis; and three great grandchildren, Liam, Audrey and Adeline; and niece Elizabeth Ely and nephew Steve Stracener (Melody).
Services will be held February 5, 2020 at 1:00 pm at Holt & Holt Funeral Home, 319 E. San Antonio Ave., Boerne, TX. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association at act.alz.org/donate or to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation at https://www.tpwf.org/.