On Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, a longtime resident of Swanzey, Margaret “Peggy” Piper Hanrahan, 95, passed away peacefully at Langdon Place of Keene, following a period of declining health.
Peggy was born June 13, 1924, in Keene, the daughter of Allison Nims Piper and Lucy (Kingsbury) Piper. She graduated in 1941 from Keene High School where she played field hockey and basketball, and loved archery, tennis, sailing and skiing. In her youth she spent her summers at Camp Takodah, at her family’s cottage at Spofford Lake, and loved vacations to Ogunquit, Maine. In 1945 she graduated from Connecticut College earning a bachelor’s degree in botany with a minor in art.
After graduation, Peggy taught art at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. She also worked in the gardens of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and illustrated flowers for their publications.
On June 17, 1948, she married the love of her life, Charles J. Hanrahan, a friend of her brother, David, whom she met at a 9th grade school dance.
A member of the Old Homestead Garden Club, Peggy loved working in her gardens and enjoyed creating artistic flower arrangements. A passionate environmentalist, she was a convicted recycler, and concerned about pollution, and conservation of land and endangered species. She even inoculated elm trees about town, seeking to save them from Dutch Elm Disease. Moreover, she sold daffodils for many years to raise money for the American Cancer Society and gave gallons of blood to the American Red Cross.
Peggy was a member of the Keene Women’s Club, a founding member of the Keene Racquet Club, and volunteered for numerous causes. She was very active in The First Congregational Church of Swanzey, UCC, serving on several committees, including teaching Sunday School. For several years she brought Fresh Air Children to New Hampshire from New York City and sent her children’s used clothing to families in need in Mississippi, developing lifelong relationships. She was a Girl Scout leader, and ran a “Wednesday School,” gathering local children each Wednesday in her Jeep to finger paint, learn puppet making, art and more. She bowled for decades in the Wednesday morning ladies’ league, played tennis, golfed, and remained active with friends into her 80s. She loved adventure and travel.
A devoted fan of all Monadnock Huskies’ sports, Peggy could often be seen riding her bicycle to various sporting events. A musician, Peggy played clarinet in The Old Homestead play in Swanzey, and for many years played clarinet with the Westmoreland Town Band, even playing with the band at the Lincoln Memorial for the 200th anniversary of our Nation’s Capitol. Above all, Peggy loved her family and was a devoted Mom, “Grammy,” and great-grandmother.
She is survived by her sons, Michael Hanrahan and his wife, Karen, of Troy, William Hanrahan and his wife, Catherine, of Charlestown; her daughters, Lucy Canaday of Falmouth, Maine, and Jennifer Hanrahan of Walpole; 13 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; her brother, Roy Piper and his wife, Anne; and several nieces, nephews and extended family members. She is predeceased by her husband; her brother, David Piper; and her sister, Nancy Murray.
A memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church of Swanzey, 679 Old Homestead Highway, Swanzey, on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 at 1 p.m. Burial will follow in the Mountain View Cemetery, Swanzey. Family and friends are invited to call on the family from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Foley Funeral Home, 49 Court St. Keene.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her memory to the Monadnock Conservancy, 16 Eagle Court, Keene, NH 03431.
Please visit www.foleyfuneralhome.com to leave an online remembrance.