Ruth Marie Ryan died at age 85 November 9, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. She was born in Mt. Auburn, Ill to Don and Dantzelle Williams Ryan on June 19, 1935.
She had many fond memories growing up. After their farm house was connected to electricity, her father asked her to turn the lights on for the first time. Ruth loved to read and now she had light.
Ruth graduated from Marquette University as a Registered Nurse and went on to earn BSN and MSN degrees from the University of Iowa as a Psychiatric Nurse Specialist. She began working at the Illinois State Mental Hospital in 1956. Later, she was a Nurse Specialist at the Iowa Psychopathic Hospital and a clinical instructor at the Mental Health University of Iowa. In 1974 she moved to Denver and was a clinical nurse specialist and associate director of nursing at Denver Health.
Ruth had a strong commitment to improving the quality of life for her community and Aurora became the focus. In 1983, she joined the Aurora Mental Health Center as a volunteer and later served as president of the Board of Directors.
Ruth was a leader in her community and enjoyed her involvement. In Aurora, she was a Consortium member of Healthy Start Project, which provided services to newborn infants in North Aurora. She helped developed residential programs for people with mental illnesses who needed help transitioning from hospitals back into the community.
Ruth also had a crucial role in developing children’s mental health services. She also served many years on the Aurora Open Space Board and the Parks and Recreation Board. In Sept 2012 she won the Aurora Circle of Life award for demonstrating outstanding community leadership hospice and making extraordinary contributions to the city of Aurora.
Ruth was known for her witty sense of humor, lover of mystery books and commitment to improving the quality of life for her community. She traveled widely and had favorite stories about trips to Turkey and Russia.
Life time friendships were important to Ruth and these included Sharon Shumway and Kay Gilchrist who shared many special times and spent the last days in home hospice with Ruth.
Preceding her in death were parents Don and Dantzelle Ryan, sisters Donna Patton and Betty Ryan, and a nephew Brad Patton.
She is survived by nieces Brenda Patton, Rhonda Hinton Davis, and Sheila Hinton Heinen and nephew Bryan Patton and great-nieces and nephews.
A graveside service for Ruth will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 13, 2020 at the Berea Cemetery, Niantic, Illinois.
CDC health guidelines will be followed including social distancing and the use of masks.
McClure Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Taylorville is assisting the family with arrangements. Memories of Ruth, or condolences to her family, may be shared online at www.mcclurefuneralhome.com.