Jeanne Ryan was born June 7, 1921, in Manayunk, Pennsylvania. She had two siblings, the late Marion McGraw and John Becht. She passed away on July 24, 2017 at Casey House Hospice in Maryland. This picture was taken on her 96th birthday, just a little more than a month before her death.
On the day after her 21st birthday, Jeanne married a young surgeon - James J. Ryan - and they headed into life together. She had her first child, Karen, while her husband served in World War II. They later had a daughter, Barbara. Jeanne is survived by her two daughters.
Jeanne had natural talent as an artist, nurtured by her mother. She enjoyed art throughout her life, taking fine arts classes and, in large part, teaching herself by painting in many media and in many locations. Watercolor, though, was her first love. She enjoyed painting from real life - and so acquired Sandy, her faithful dog, who "protected" her on these many painting jaunts. Painting was a passion and a world of wonder for her. She could get lost in her painting, and in times of difficulty, it was a lifesaver.
When she lost her husband suddenly in 1973, this high school educated, not-employed-since the-1940s-woman had to earn a living. She worked a variety of jobs, but also taught art to countless devoted students, paving the way for a passionate and creative art career that included creating and selling her own work, and teaching students for over 40 years.
She enjoyed hiking with clubs; and, especially with her best friend, Peg. They spent many days hiking together, including a hiking trip in Europe. Jeanne also became one of the regulars at the Mainline YMCA (outside of Philadelphia) - well into her 90s.
She had, for sure, a way of making lemonade out of lemons. She found the good in any situation and was, truly, a survivor. She loved her family and her art, and until the very end expressed gratitude for life. She would often say, after a good day, which was really any day, "Remember this day forever."
She will be inurned at Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC, where dogs are permitted to play. This she will truly enjoy - being in the presence of dogs and beauty and flowers and sunlight and trees. She loved everything about painting trees - those with leaves and without, in all seasons, in silhouettes and in full light. This poem is a good way to remember Jeanne.
About Angels and Trees - Mary Oliver
Where do angels
fly in the firmament,
and how many can dance
on the head of a pin?
Well, I don't care
about that pin dance,
what I know is that
they rest, sometimes,
in the tops of the trees
and you can see them,
or almost see them,
or, anyway, think: what a
I have lost as you and
others have possibly lost a
and wonder, where are they now?
The trees, anyway, are
miraculous, full of
empty they are a
good place to look, to put
the heart at rest--all those
leaves breathing the air, so
peaceful and diligent, and certainly
ready to be
the resting place of
strange, winged creatures
that we, in this world, have loved.
A memorial mass will be held at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington DC on August 12 at 11 am. A reception will follow. Inurnment will be held for family at a later date. Donations to Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington DC in Jeanne's honor would be appreciated.