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Pat Hanigan

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Wisdom of the Ages

88-Year-Old Avalon Resident Reflects on What Really Matters in Life

Pat Hanigan, a resident of Avalon Assisted Living at Bridgewater, reflects on her 88 years with smiles and laughter, warmly recalling a lifetime fulfilled by family, relationships and a rewarding career. 

She was raised in a rural farming community by parents who were childhood sweethearts and had close ties to her grandparents. She met her husband, Lee, when she accepted a teaching position in a school district where he worked. 

As Hanigan stayed home to care for her growing family, she filled her days working for community organizations and continuing her education, earning a master’s degree and special education certification. She eventually returned to teaching at Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights as a special-needs learning consultant.

During her nearly 30-year teaching career, Hanigan was passionate about helping students reach their full potential and enjoyed the supportive community of her fellow educators. “Whatever you do in life, make sure it is something you love,” she advises. 

Hanigan loves to travel. She has journeyed around the United States and Canada and has set sail on several Caribbean cruises. One fond memory is hitting the road with girlfriends after college on a cross-country trip. “If you ever get the opportunity to travel, do it,” she says. “Those trips were some of the best things I ever did.”

Today, Hanigan spends time with the friends she has made at Avalon, participating in the daily activities, such as exercise, bingo and anything, she says, “that gets my mind going.”

“I chose to live here because it is family owned. Avalon feels like home,” she says. “What’s not to like? Someone cleans for me, my laundry is done and I eat well. I make my own bed, though. I have made my bed since I was a little girl. As long as I can make it, I will.”

Learn more about Avalon at

  • From left to right: Pat, Steve Dixon (brother), Grace Dixon (mother), Cheryl Dixon (sister), Oliver Dixon (father) and Max Dixon (brother)
  • Pat Hanigan
  • Pat Hanigan
  • Pat Hanigan
  • Pat Hanigan
  • Pat Hanigan (around age 12)
  • Pat Hanigan (22 months old)