Jessie Rankine Pettigrew Hannon, 84, of Ellicott City Maryland passed away at home surrounded by her husband, son and daughter on March 24. Jessie succumbed to the effects of IPF, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis after a long and brave battle. She leaves behind her devoted husband of 57 years, James Hannon, loving children Ross Hannon of Elkridge and Elizabeth Wilson of Madison CT, dear son in law Bruce Wilson of Madison CT and 3 cherished grandchildren, Sarah Wilson of New Haven CT, Rachel Wilson of Kittery ME and Ethan Wilson of Fraser CO. Also, she is survived by her remaining family in Scotland, her sister Margaret Lorimer (David) and brother Sandy and her nephews David (Pamela) and Graeme and niece Michelle and their children, Jack, Ethan, Ava, Andrew and Martin. Although an ocean away, they were very close in her heart. A special niece Nancy Daley who visited recently and neighbor and friend Janet Boss were dear to her.
Jessie was born on Jan 12, 1936 in Rutherglen, Scotland to the late James Pettigrew, recipient of the BEM and Merchant mariner and Maggie Paton Pettigrew. She spoke of being a small child during WWII and having her school bombed, other hardships and rationing during that time. These events made a great impact on her sensibilities and values. Post war in later childhood, Jessie loved all sports, especially field hockey and running the hurdles on her running club.
Jessie immigrated to the US in 1957 at the age of 21. The ticket for her ship passage was a birthday gift from her parents. She came over after securing a nanny position with the Dillingham family and then the JP Morgan family in Manchester MA. While living in Manchester MA, Jessie met her husband Jim, a Manchester local who was working as a beach police officer, on beautiful Singing Beach in 1958. Later she worked in the bursar’s office at Northeastern University commuting in from Manchester and then proudly as a stewardess for United Airlines until she married Jim in 1962. In those days stewardesses were required to resign if they got married and at that point became a ‘clipped winger’. Manchester held a special place in her heart, and she visited most recently in 2016, meeting up with several old friends. She went on to have 2 children who loved their Mom more than words can express. As a stay at home mother she was involved in her children’s activities, arts and crafts and always provided ‘nutritious, delicious, makes you feel ambitious’ home cooked meals every night. She was the biggest fan of all of Ross’ many sports teams and continued after he stopped playing and rose to the title of ‘coach.’ Jessie was an industrious artisan with expert knitting skills and made hand Irish knit sweaters that were sold (and often sold out) at the Calico Cat. She played tennis and was an avid golfer. She often sewed her own stylish golf skirts that were greatly admired by the other women golfers. Jessie lived in the same home for the past 56 years and loved her neighborhood and neighbors dearly as they came and went. Jessie took enormous pride in her home and garden, planting colorful landscapes for the different seasons. She was known for her speed walking anywhere she went and immensely enjoyed her daily crossword puzzle. Once her children left home she returned to work as a travel agent and she and Jim enjoyed many of the perks that came with the job and traveled the world.
She was famous for her Scottish shortbread which was always a gifted treat to her friends and family at Christmas time. Amma, as her grandchildren called her, was cherished by her 3 grandchildren beyond measure. They were the apples of her eye and would have each of them down for separate visits in the summertime, calling it Camp Amma. She introduced them to the game of baseball through many Oriole games and was admittedly broken hearted when they became Red Sox fans. Jessie was an avid and rabid Oriole fan and never lost hope that ‘this would be the year…’ She was the traditional host of Thanksgiving for the family and that holiday will never be the same without her. She relished her visits to NYC and the Connecticut shore. Jessie was an engaging and loving soul that loved to talk to anyone on any topic. Jessie was a selfless soul often putting herself last. She had boundless energy until her last year when the terrible lung disease progressed. She also had very special relationships with her 2 dogs over the years, Bonnie, a West Highland white terrier and Blue, a husky rescue. She was broken hearted when they left this world.
Jessie was a humble and private person and would likely have been uneasy with an obituary of this length extolling her achievements, strengths and honorable character. In light of the current times this was the best way Jessie could be honored in a most loving and deserving way. She is dancing the Highland fling in heaven, twirling to her hearts content and breathing easy now with her many friends and family that have gone ahead.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the ASPCA, the Shriners Children’s Hospital or St. Jude’s Research Hospital. These charities were close to her heart. There will be no services at this time.