Mary Ryan, age 67, of Bird Island, MN, died surrounded by the love of her family on Monday, August 27, 2018 at Methodist Hospital in Rochester, MN. A memorial service will be held Friday, August 31st at 11:00 a.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Bird Island, Rev. Mandy France will officiate. A Private family burial will be held at the Bird Island City Cemetery. The Visitation for Mary is Thursday at the church from 4-7 p.m. and continues Friday for one hour prior to the service. Arrangements are with Dirks-Blem Funeral Service of Olivia.
Mary Ellen Ryan was born March 25, 1951 at Tracy, MN, to Lando “Smokey” and Dorothy (Graham) Willems. When she was two years old the family moved to Olivia. Mary graduated from Olivia High School in 1969 where she had been involved in NHS, Theatre, and the Debate Team. She furthered her education first at Willmar Community College and then earned her Bachelors Degree in Women’s Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University. Later, Mary earned her Masters Degree in Community Psychology at Metropolitan State University. She married Robert Ryan on May 12, 1973 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Bird Island and they were blessed with four children. In addition to being a homemaker she did bookwork for small businesses as well as her and Bob’s businesses over the years. She cherished her ten years as member of U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone’s staff. After this, Mary was the Pride 4 program coordinator for the Pact 4 Collaborative, did contract work for the City of Chaska Community Psychology, as well as grant writing. Currently, Mary was writing a book “The Memoirs of Mae Hinkemeyer”. She was an avid reader and not only enjoyed books but also read first drafts to edit new books for publishers. Mary had many artistic talents and loved painting. Her fondness for horses brought her much joy whether riding locally or in the mountains. Mary’s faith was evident in her daily walk and as she served her church, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Bird Island, in many capacities including, Congregational President, WELCA President, Sunday School Teacher, Confirmation Mentor, and serving on many Boards.
Mary is survived by her husband Bob Ryan of Bird Island; her four children and their families: Jayme (and Erich) Winter and their children Jonah and Caleb Winter of Montevideo, Seth (and Tyanne) Ryan and their children Porter and Hadley of Rogers, Zachary (and Erin) Ryan and their children Maddix and Ellis of Rifle, CO, and Noah (and Jennifer) Ryan and their daughter Savannah of Jordan; her sister Sue (and Steve) Hoenk of Byron; her brother Jim (and Lynn) Willems of Chaska; and several nieces and nephews. Mary was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Nancy Hinrichs.
Dirks-Blem Funeral Service offers many styles of services to honor the memory of your loved one. Funerals should be meaningful, reflect the individual, and celebrate the life they led. Personalized funerals are more involved, giving people a chance to remember what made that individual so unique.