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Obituary: Patricia Nixon Flanegin


Patricia Nixon Flanegin of Pittsboro, N.C., died at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 at University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Born Patricia Josephine Quinn in Chicago, Ill., on Dec. 20, 1925, she was the daughter of Vincent Quinn and Jeannette Birren Quinn and the sister of Carol Quinn Fiske. Patricia graduated from Peoria Central H.S. in Peoria, Ill., and then attended Rosemont College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., where she graduated with majors in art and English in 1947. She worked in Peoria as a graphic designer and later in Chicago as a proofreader for Field Enterprises’ World Book Encyclopedia.

Patricia married Robert K. Nixon, MD, in 1953 and lived for more than three decades in Detroit, where her two daughters were born. In 1986, Patricia and Robert moved to Pittsboro.

Patricia Nixon Flanegin was a woman of rare internal and external beauty, tireless intellect and an intense devotion to her family and friends. Motivated by her deep Catholic faith and life-long commitment to helping the poor and unwanted, Patricia volunteered in leadership roles in the Junior League, the open housing/civil rights movement, Head Start, the right-to-life movement and other causes. As one friend said, “She had an open heart for the whole world.” Patricia remained vital, involved and elegant until the end, and expressed interest in each person whom she met.

From a family of artists, Patricia excelled at sculpture and served as a docent at the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill. She loved classical music as well as literature from authors across the globe. Patricia devoted herself to caring for her first husband, who died in 1997, and has been likewise dedicated to her current husband, Robert L. Flanegin.

Patricia’s grieving survivors include her husband; her daughters, Eve Nixon Shaffer of Lincolnton, N.C., and Carrie Nixon of Worcester, Mass.; four grandchildren, Sarah Shaffer, Matthew Shaffer, Michael Shaffer of Lincolnton, and Rebecca Wood, of Cincinnati; two nephews, Quinn Fiske and Anthony Fiske; and two stepsons, James and Scott Flanegin.

Memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Relief Services, 228 W. Lexington St., Baltimore, MD 21201 or Project HOPE, 255 Carter Hall Lane, Millwood, VA 22646.

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