Eva Maurine (Bessac) Hannifan

PORTAGE Eva Maurine (Bessac) Hannifan, age 98, passed away on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at Divine Savior Healthcare Hospital in Portage. 

Eva was born on June 11, 1921, in Winnebago, Minnesota, the daughter of Charles and Barbara Bessac. She married James Hannifan on January 2, 1943 in Portage where they lived the remainder of their lives.  James and Eva lived on Oneida Street most of their lives while he worked on the Milwaukee railroad and Eva worked as a bookkeeper at Schultz Brothers Dime Store for many years until she retired at age 60.  She also worked at the local canning factory and a bakery while raising their 4 children.  Eva and Jim enjoyed square dancing with the Watermellon Squares and playing cards with their many friends.  She was a fan of the Brewers, Wisconsin Badgers and of course, the Green Bay Packers.  She never missed watching a game on TV if she could help it.  She also enjoyed eating out, knitting and sewing, her flower garden, jig-saw puzzles and watching the birds at the feeders outside her window.

After Jim’s death in 2000, she decided to spend her winters in Green Valley Arizona where she had a whole new group of friends.  She kept busy with card games, pot-lucks, joining in the senior Olympics and even participating in a fashion show.  She continued square dancing and even taught it to others.  Even though she loved her time in Arizona, she always looked forward to returning to her home in Wisconsin.  She also sponsored her last card party in September.  Eva was very independent to the very end, living in her own home and pretty much taking care of herself.  She is an inspiration to all of us and will be missed by many.         

She is survived by her sons, Edward (Penny) Hannifan of Bremerton, Washington and Phillip (Julie) Hannifan, of Verona; her daughter, Jeanne (Ron) Young of Oxford; 9 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, of which there are 2 sets of twin boys, 3 step great-grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild, nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, James, her sister, 4 brothers, and her daughter, Nina (Hannifan) Maxwell. 

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Portage with Fr. Gary Krahenbuhl presiding.  Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Portage.  Visitation will be held on Sunday from 1:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m., at the church.  The Pflanz Mantey Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.

The family suggests that memorials may be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Portage.

Eva’s family would like to thank all the nurses and doctors who cared for her at Divine Savior Hospital.  Condolences and written memories can be sent to the family at

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For information please call 608 742-2126 (Portage, WI) or 608 635-2763 (Poynette, WI)