Betty Jane Ryan
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(nee Pokorney) Born March 30, 1918. Entered peacefully into Eternal Life on January 19, 2020 at age 101. Betty Jane was reunited with her beloved husband of 67 years, Jack T. Ryan. Loving mother of Jack F. Ryan of Mequon, Tom Ryan (the late Caroline) of Phoenix, AZ, Kathy (Steve) Schneider of Mequon, and Jim (Jean) Ryan of Mequon. Dearly beloved grandmother of Maureen (Kevin) Braley, Erin (James) Goodnow, Caroline Emma (Ben) Hood, Brandon (Valerie) Ryan, Kelsey (Michael) Britton, John Schneider, and Robert Schneider. Further survived by nine great grandchildren, other relatives, and many dear friends.
She was born in New York City and after moving to Milwaukee attended St. Robert Grade School and Shorewood High School--where she was elected to give the Commencement Address in 1936. She graduated from Milwaukee Downer College (now Lawrence University) in 1940 with a Teaching degree, majoring in English and Speech. She taught school on Milwaukee's west side until WWII began, at which time she joined the American Red Cross serving in the Special Services unit at Fort Sam Houston Veterans Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Betty Jane married Jack in 1947 and together they raised their family of four.
Betty Jane was a woman of grace and substance and always had a kind word for others. She was intellectually curious, kept abreast of current events, enjoyed traveling abroad, and was an avid reader. An active community member, she served on the Boards of the Milwaukee Symphony League and the Woman's Club of Wisconsin. She was also very creative, enjoying needlepointing, quilting, sewing, and painting. She could play almost anything on the piano by ear--although she warned her listeners it would be "in the key of C"--and had a beautiful singing voice which she put to use as a member of the St. Robert Choir for many years. She also sang at weddings, including her daughter's. After her children were grown, she continued teaching at St. Eugene School on a part time basis and, after retiring, she loved playing bridge with her many friends.
She had a strong faith in God and practiced her religion beyond church doors, within her family and through her generosity to many charitable causes. Her devotion was immense; her warm, gentle, giving spirit lives on in all those whose lives she touched.
Visitation will take place on Saturday, February 8th at 11:00AM at St. Monica Catholic Church, Whitefish Bay, WI, followed by the celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial at 12Noon. Eulogy will take place right before Mass begins, and a reception will follow after Mass. Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery will be private for the family. Memorials in Betty Jane's name may be made to Covenant House, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10001, St. Bonaventure Indian Mission & School, P.O. Box 610, Thoreau, NM 87323, Milwaukee Rescue Mission, 830 N. 19th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233, or a charity of your choice.