Tom Hannigan – A Life Well Lived
In 1976, brothers Thomas and Patrick Hanigan were accused of torturing three Mexicans near Douglas, sparking outrage among immigrant rights activists and Mexican American civil rights organizations. This event became a cause celebre.
Hannigan worked in Ropes & Gray’s litigation department where his expertise focused on environmental and religious organization defense cases. Additionally, he served on Fairfield City Council from 1970-1974 as well as Solano County Board of Supervisors between 1974 and 1978.
Early Life and Education
As soon as news of the Hanigan Case surfaced, many Arizona residents used it to demonstrate the need to address immigrant abuses and claim rampant drug smuggling by Mexicans was to blame for job loss.
Thomas Hanigan and his brother Patrick Hanigan were charged in 1976 with torturing three undocumented Mexican workers who had come to Douglas for work. According to allegations against them, Thomas beat them, peppered them with shotgun blasts, and hung them from trees.
Tucson jurors could not reach an agreement during a second trial for the brothers, and they were ultimately found innocent of all charges. But an immigrant rights group called Manzo Area Council decried their acquittal as “violent precedent of sanctioned aggression against Chicano people,” prompting demands for a bill of rights for immigrants as well as boycotts against border merchants.
Tom worked for the New York State Canal Authority during his later years, regularly walking along tow paths to ensure there were no leaks that might lead to flood damage. Additionally, he enjoyed bowling and many friends remember him fondly as one of the kindest individuals they ever knew.
His work as an Assemblymember included legislation that improved rail service throughout California; his 1988 bill served as a precursor for what eventually became known as the Capitol Corridor three years later. On Friday’s ceremony he was honored by having Fairfield-Vacaville Amtrak station named “Thomas M. Hannigan Transit Center.”
In the late 1970s, The Hanigan Brothers case became a cause celebre when advocates for immigration reform pointed to Mexican border-crossing crimes as reason to strengthen border patrols. But in the end, a jury acquitted both of them on state charges of kidnapping and robbery.
Achievement and Honors
Tom Hannigan has earned numerous honors throughout his career. These include being honored as 2014 Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporation Rising Star Award and 2015 Philadelphia University Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients. Additionally, he worked at Habitat for Humanity as project manager before being accepted as an AmeriCorps volunteer member.
Hannigan championed improved rail service during his time in the Assembly. He sponsored Assembly Bill (ACR) 132 which led to the creation of Capitol Corridor system three years later. On Friday afternoon at Fairfield-Vacaville Amtrak station was officially renamed in his honor during a dedication ceremony.
Crowds turned out in force to listen to speeches from local officials and former and present Assembly members, including ACR 132 cosponsor and Assembly Speaker pro tempore Mike Roos who praised Hannigan’s ability to work effectively with colleagues.
Tom Hannigan was an intimate man who deeply appreciated his family. A passionate proponent of higher education, he helped finance college degrees for both his children and grandchildren. Additionally, he found great pleasure working in his yard, strolling his towpath path, and bowling as hobbies.
Hannigan also served on Vallejo City Council and as director for California Department of Water Resources. Additionally, he was an active member of both Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce and Northern Solano Board of Realtors.
Hannigan was married for 43 years to Barbara Hannigan and leaves behind Erin, Matt, Bridget and Patrick; as well as many nieces and nephews. Funeral services will take place Friday September 20th at Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home of Lockport.
Hannigan may have made her mark with HIMYM as the suit-obsessed Barney Stinson, earning $225,000 after each episode and depositing it directly into her bank account, but since then has expanded her horizons considerably with numerous guest starring appearances on shows as well as her first venture into directorial duties.
Hannigan is an esteemed classical soprano who has established herself as both singer and conductor. With an extensive array of opera and orchestral conducting engagements under her belt and recently debuting new work by composer John Zorn in Lisbon, her reputation continues to flourish.
She has composed music for various video games, including Electronic Arts’ Sim Theme Park (for which she received a BAFTA nomination). Furthermore, she has scored various short films–one which she wrote and directed herself–with music written specifically by him.