Thurley (Williams) Hannegan was born on 28 April 1911 in St. Joseph, Missouri, to Loy West Williams and Mary Donetta Fluesmeier. Thurley was named for a character in a Zane Grey novel her father was reading at the time. She was raised in St. Joseph where her father was a pharmacist and her mother the manager of his drug stores. She attended public schools there and then went to the University of Missouri and majored in chemistry. There she met her husband, John Michael Hannegan, who was her freshman chemistry lab instructor. They married on 8 June 1932. Thurley received her college degree in 1933 and had her first child, Michael West Hannegan, on 8 November 1934. In 1935, after her husband John received his PhD, the family moved to Boonville, Missouri, where John taught at Kemper Military School and was head of the science department.

In 1941, the family moved to Ferguson, Missouri, where they bought a house at 429 Nancy Place. They were members of Immanuel Evangelical and Reformed Church and Norwood Hills Country Club. While living in Ferguson, Thurley was active in the American Association of University Women, the PTA and the League of Women Voters. She also served on the Ferguson Park Board. She began working at Washington University School of Medicine, first for and with Dr. Helen Graham doing early research on histamines. She later worked for and with Dr. Ethel Ronzoni on muscular dystrophy research.

In 1956, the family moved to11 Crabapple Court in Olivette, Missouri. Then in 1961, after their younger child had graduated from Mary Institute, they moved to Maitland, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, where John Hannegan was working for Martin Marietta in their aerospace division. There, Thurley was active in the Marlando Club and as a hospital “Pink Lady” volunteer at Winter Park Hospital.

Thurley became a widow in 1981 but continued to live in Maitland, Florida, traveling to visit her children in various parts of the United States and overseas.

She died in 1998 following a long battle with malignant fibrous histiocytoma. Her ashes were interred in Memorial Park Cemetery in Jennings, Missouri, near her parents. While her husband’s ashes had been scattered at sea, his name is also on the gravestone marking the site.

Submitted by Mary McMillan
March 2018

© 2018, St. Louis Genealogical Society

Thurley (Williams) Hannegan
Thurley (Williams) Hannegan
Photo in the collection of Mary McMillan
Used with permission

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 19:40