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Obituary: Jean Ryan

March 23, 1926 – February 6, 2018

Rupert — Jean Ryan died Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Boise after being diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer on Dec. 26, 2017.

Born March 23, 1926 in Rupert to Carl and Marie Sullivan, Jean grew up in Acequia with her two sisters, Hazel and Patty, and her brother, Frank. She graduated from Acequia High School as valedictorian and always placed education as a priority, touting that her grandmother Ida E. Sullivan was elected the first superintendent of county schools.

In October of 1945, she married Neill Ryan, and they were married for 65 years before Neill’s passing in 2010. They made their first home in Hopkinsville, KY where Neill was stationed until his discharge from the U.S. Army. They returned to Rupert where they lived, worked, and raised their four daughters. Jean was a member of the St. Nicholas Catholic Church for over 75 years.

Jean started work as a part-time clerk at the Rupert Credit Bureau in 1957. When her four daughters were all in school, she worked up to her position as full-time manager and part owner. There were no computers at that time, and in addition to working on debt collections, she did credit counseling and credit reports. She was often called the “friendly collector” and continued her career for 58 years, retiring just two years ago at the age of 89.

Jean pursued many interests and activities including square dancing, attending to her flowers, and playing bridge. She and Neill started square dancing with the River Reelers in 1973 and spent many fun years on the dance floor. An avid reader, she was on the DeMary Memorial Library Board and more recently, helped the Friends of the DeMary Library by serving as the treasurer while volunteering many hours at book sales and library events. She also volunteered some time with the Soroptomist Club and the Minidoka County Senior Center. Over the years she made many close friendships and cherished her time with them.

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Jean’s greatest love and source of pride was her family and enjoyed following the pursuits of her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was a blessing to her family, “exemplifying an abundance of energy, kindness, and generosity.”

She is survived by four daughters: Linda Santos of Boise, Phyllis (Steve) Benke of Tualatin, Oregon, Mary Lu (Gordon) Barry of Twin Falls, and Sheila (Taylor) Nielson of Meridian. Eight grandchildren include Todd (Edna) Santos, Brett (Angela) and Beau (Katie) Barry, Matthew (Serena) and Michael Benke, Erin (Drew) Ebright, Amy (David) Lindley and Ryan Nielson. Her 11 great-grandchildren, Carson, Jane, Zachary, Nora, Ashton, Lucas, Reid, Lauren, Ali, Sonja, and Maci Lu brought special joy to her life. She is also survived by two sisters, Hazel Tracy of Boise and Patricia (Vern) Seeley of Modesto, Ca. She was preceded in death by her husband Neill, her brother Frank, and her great-grandson Zachary.

The family has chosen Jean’s 92nd birthday weekend, March 23-24, to celebrate her life. The family will greet friends between 6-7 p.m. on Friday, March 23 at the Hansen Mortuary, 710 6th St. A rosary will begin at 7 p.m. The memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 24, at the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Rupert with inurnment to follow at the Rupert Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials in her name can be made to the Friends of the DeMary Library at 101 S. 9th St., Rupert, ID 83350 or the Minidoka County Senior Center, 702 11th St., Rupert, ID 83350.

Arrangements are under the direction of Joel Heward Hansen Mortuary in Rupert.

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