Dec. 6, 1924 – Nov. 13, 2012

Joan M. Horrigan, who at age 40 pursued a longtime dream to earn a nursing degree, died Tuesday in her daughter’s Buffalo home after a six-month illness. She was 87.

Born Joan Koets in Buffalo, she graduated from South Park High School and then earned a registered nurse degree from Trocaire College. While raising five children, she enrolled at the University at Buffalo to achieve her bachelor’s degree in nursing, prompting memories among her children of nursing texts and notes spread across the kitchen table nearly every evening.

She later worked in Erie County Medical Center, the Veterans Administration and finally as a nurse for Buffalo Public Schools. She retired at 76.

Known throughout her life for her athletic skills, Mrs. Horrigan learned to play golf in her retirement and resumed her avid interest in bowling. She competed in the classic bowling league in her youth and for the past year was a member of the Striking Ladies Bowling Team. Last spring, after undergoing hip surgery and rehabilitation, she bowled a 183.

Mrs. Horrigan enjoyed golfing with her husband and family and was a member of the Glover Cleveland Women’s League. In 2001, at her family’s urging, she entered the Canisius College “Shoes for Shelter” Run and placed first in the 75-80 division.

She even earned a reputation as perennial winner of the rolling pin throwing contest at the annual picnic of St. Gerard Catholic Church.

Accomplished in the kitchen and at the sewing machine, she was also known for her chili sauce, Easter candy and customized Barbie dresses for her girls.

Mrs. Horrigan was married for 64 years to Raymond J. Horrigan, who died in 2009. She is survived by a son, Dennis; four daughters, Donna Lamb, Patricia Creahan, Nancy Fredericks and Joan Maira; and a sister, Betty Weaver Molloy.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville.