James A. Hannigan, 87 years old of Leominster, died Friday, June 9, 2023 with family by his side. He was the husband
of Diane C. (Mahoney) Hannigan for 45 years until her death in 2004. He then was married to Judith Coolidge
Rigopoulos for 11 years until her death in 2019. He was predeceased by his parents Leon A. and Jennie M.
(Thompson) Hannigan, sisters Marie Antonucci and Marjorie J. (Midge) Bovenzi, and his brother Leon A. (Huck)
Hannigan, his brothers-in-laws Anthony Antonucci, Donald Mahoney, and Douglas Mahoney.
Jim was born on July 26, 1935 at the family home in Leominster. He attended Leominster schools, was a proud Blue
Devil and a graduate of LHS Class of 1953. He was an accomplished athlete competing on the football and baseball
fields and on the cinder laden track at Doyle field where he sped to sub 10 second finishes in the 100-yard dash.
According to his classmates, he was also a smooth dancer.
Following high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force achieving the rank of Airman 1st Class overseeing flight
operations at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Alabama during the Korean conflict. He then transferred to Hanscom Air
Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts near the end of his tour. He had a fascination with military aircraft, which
included experiences breaking the sound barrier during his tour.
His post-military career began in the defense industry at Raytheon, but quickly transitioned to the local paper industry.
During his work at Crocker, Weyerhaeuser, and James River paper companies, he was recognized for his expertise in
process control and the technical papermaking process. He was a trusted union leader who negotiated salary and benefits for
employees, including industry leading lifetime medical benefits for retired members. Upon his retirement from the
paper industry, he took his negotiating skills to the real estate industry where he excelled at sales and marketing.
Jim was also known for his expertise in football officiating. Utilizing his extensive knowledge of the game, he was a
leader in rules interpretation which resulted in significant changes to methods of officiating throughout the region. It
has been said that his knowledge of the game was a secret weapon in the arsenal of his brother Huck for designing key
strategies for some of the most competitive games of the season. These usually resulted in victories for the Leominster
squad, including key games against Brockton, Fitchburg, and Chicopee in the 1970’s.
Throughout his life, Jim enjoyed the warmth of Florida. Many trips to West Palm Beach and Sarasota were made that
provided temporary relief from the harsh New England winters. He eventually moved to Tarpon Springs with Judi
where they enjoyed many years of warm weather and cheering on New England sports teams, especially the Patriots.
In later years, Jim relocated back to Leominster to be closer to family and particularly closer to his grandchildren,
whom he absolutely cherished.
His most extraordinary characteristic was loyalty. He was a devoted husband for 45 years to Diane, for whom he
provided endless care. He also provided this same devotion to his high-school sweetheart, Judi, during their 11 years of
marriage. He often said that the most important thing in life was love. If you had love, you had everything. Pretty
simple advice for all.
He is survived by his daughter Patricia J. White and her husband Neal, Mark A. Hannigan and his wife Carol, and
William D. Hannigan and his wife Anne-Marie, his grandchildren Jennifer M. White, Neal S. White and his fiancée
Miranda, Andrew S. Hannigan and his fiancée Megan, Katherine B. Hannigan, Alison M. Hannigan and Olivia R.
Hannigan, and his great-grandchildren Brooklyn and Riley White. He is also survived by his brother-in-law Frank G.
Bovenzi, his sister-in-law Shirley Mahoney, 16 nieces and nephews, several cousins, and countless friends.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, June 21 st from Brandon Funeral Home, 305 Wanoosnoc Road in Fitchburg
with a mass at 10:00 am at St. Leo’s Church, 128 Main Street in Leominster followed by burial at Evergreen Cemetery
in Leominster. Calling hours will be on Tuesday, June 20 th from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Leominster Football Hall of Fame by checks made payable to the Leominster
Gridiron Club, Inc. (a 501 (c) 3 organization) c/o Bodanza & Bodanza 36 School Street, Leominster, MA 01453.