Patrick J. Hannifin, vice admiral USN (Ret.), a resident of Solana Beach, Calif., for almost three decades, passed away on Jan. 9, 2014; he was 91. Born in Oklahoma, on Jan. 26, 1923, he was raised in Roswell, where he attended New Mexico Military Institute prior to entering the U.S. Naval Academy. Graduating with the Class of 1945 in June 1944, he was commissioned an ensign and in 1978, he retired as a vice admiral.
Following graduation, he completed Submarine School and then joined USS BALAO (SS-285) in the Pacific. While in BALAO, he participated in three war patrols.
After the war, his service included duty in multiple diesel submarines: U-858, SEA ROBIN (SS-407), GRAMPUS (SS-523), RASHER (SSR-269) and he commanded USS DIODON (SS-349).
After completing Navy Nuclear Power Training, VADM Hannifin served as the commissioning executive officer of the Navy’s first Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine, USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (SSBN-598); he was then selected as the first commanding officer of USS LAFAYETTE (SSBN-616). He later served as commander Submarine Squadron FIFTEEN in Guam.
Ashore, he was one of the early students at the Armed Forces Guided Missile School at Fort Bliss, Texas, and was subsequently assigned as a department head at the Navy’s Guided Missile School in Point Mugu, Calif. He also had duty in Washington at the Bureau of Ships, in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and on the Joint Staff.
As a flag officer, VADM Hannifin served as Commander THIRTEENTH Naval District in Seattle, Commander Submarine Flotilla EIGHT/Commander Submarines Mediterranean (the NATO submarine forces in the Mediterranean), Deputy Director for Strategic and Nuclear Plans for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on CNO’s staff as Assistant Director, Plans and Operations, as Director Plans and Policy (J-5) for JCS. His final responsibility was as Director of the Joint Staff for the Joint Chiefs.
VADM Hannifin graduated with distinction from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, concurrently earning an MBA from George Washington University.
After retirement, he lived an active life in Santa Fe and Solana Beach, Calif. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, he conducted studies and provided advice to the Department of Energy on future nuclear issues. He was also President of HANESCO INC., a family-owned oil and gas exploration company, for over 30 years.
Pat was an active member of the Navy League of the United States, the Rotary Club of Encinitas, and was also a deeply involved parishioner of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar, serving for years on the vestry and directing a multi-million dollar capital campaign.
A man of surprising talents, he also managed to fit in travel to Rome and Malta with his new-found Hollywood friends when he was hired as the technical advisor for the motion picture “U-571.” Subsequently, the television industry called upon him for technical expertise and commentary as they covered the loss of the Russian submarine Kursk.
He was inducted into the New Mexico Military Institute’s Hall of Fame in 1985; in 2012, the Naval Submarine League honored VADM Hannifin with their Distinguished Submariner Award.
Pat Hannifin was married to the former Mary Snyder, also of Roswell, and a childhood friend for over 55 years. They raised three children: Steve (a retired Naval Aviator), Mary (Molly), and Margaret Jane (Margo). He has three grandchildren: Pat (also a Naval Aviator), Susan, and Honor; and four great-grandchildren: Justen, Sean, Kelsey and Jacob.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Steven and Elizabeth, and by his younger siblings: Betty, Kay, Marty, Dan and Bob. In addition to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their wives: Jane Hannifin and Grace Hannifin, Pat leaves behind two sisters-in-law: Maxine Hannifin and Barbara Hannifin; and several nieces, nephews and their spouses and children. Phyllis Whittle, of Arlington, Va., has been Pat’s best friend and worldwide traveling companion since Mary’s death in 2000.
A memorial service will be held at noon, on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar, Calif. Inurnment at the U.S. Naval Academy Columbarium will follow in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Pat’s name may be made to the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation (4966 Euclid Road, Suite 109 Virginia Beach, VA 23462; dolphinscholarship.org), or as a memorial gift to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (334 14th Street, Del Mar, CA 92014; stpetersdelmar.net).