Cover photo for Muriel Ryan's Obituary
Muriel Ryan Profile Photo
1933 Muriel 2020

Muriel Ryan

September 29, 1933 — July 6, 2020

Muriel Joan Ryan (nee Melcher) passed away peacefully in her home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin surrounded by her family on July 6, 2020. It was her final wish to stay in her beautiful home with her loved ones caring for her in her last hours, and Muriel was persistent in bringing her desires to fruition in this respect as she was throughout her life.
Muriel Joan was the daughter of Ann Rita Melcher (nee Caslin) and Louis Joseph Melcher. She was born in Chicago on September 29, 1933 and grew up on Lafayette Street on Chicago's south side with her older sister, Lois Annette, and younger brother, Robert Lewis. She was a loving sister and cared for her brother when he had scarlet fever. Muriel attended Hookway Primary School and then Mercy High School where she was an alto in the A cappela choir and a player in the All-American Girls Basketball league. Other early achievements included being part of the Civil Air Patrol and learning to fly an airplane. Muriel was a member of the dramatic art league at Mercy High School where she first exhibited her artistic talents and she also attended Mundelein College.
She was married to Donald Edward Ryan on October 27, 1951 at Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Illinois where her husband Don was in training. The newlyweds moved to Marietta, Georgia where Don continued to serve in the Air Force. Muriel and Don returned to Chicago, Illinois and lived just down the street from where she was born and raised. Muriel had a special affinity for her gentle grandmother, Emma Caslin, and her sweet aunt, Catherine Caslin, who lived together in Roseland and she cared for them in their final years.
As the family grew, Muriel and Don moved from the city to the Chicago suburbs and purchased a home in Posen, Illinois, where they had eight children: Donald Edward Jr., Deborah Ann, Timothy Patrick, Kathleen Louise, Maureen Susan, John Michael, Robert Joseph, and Melissa Lynn.
While in Posen, Muriel was very active with the St. Stanislaus parish where the children attended school and was president of the Mother's Club. She also worked in the offices of the Posen public school prior to moving to Wisconsin.
In 1974, Donald and Muriel were offered the opportunity to move to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to manage an Amoco products distribution center. A few years later, they purchased the business and it became Ryan Oil Company, Inc. Through Don's affable business acumen, and Muriel's skill in organizing and running the office, their family business became very successful and expanded to include a chain of mini marts. After Donald's passing in 2002, Muriel continued to run the business along with her sons until it was sold.
In addition to raising her family, keeping house, and running a successful business, Muriel was very involved with the St. Clement's church community. She was a communion distributor, lector, taught Catholic Christian Doctrine to secondary students, and organized fund-raising drives and charitable distribution events. She was also an RCIA sponsor and was Master of Ceremonies at St. Clement's 100th Anniversary celebration. Muriel was especially proud of her work as St. Clement's Trustee-Treasurer. If you look closely at the large church window on the front right-hand side, you will see a memorial to Muriel and Don's involvement with St. Clement's parish.
Muriel had a large network of friends in Sheboygan starting with the Newcomers Club that she and Don joined when they moved there in 1974. She enjoyed her social activities as a member of the Sheboygan Yacht Club, Shoreline Women's Club, Lakeshore Garden Club, and was on the board of the People to People Sheboygan Chapter for many years and hosted foreign students. Muriel and Don traveled the world together, and later Muriel with her many friends and social groups. She loved her regular gatherings with her bridge clubs and said that it helped to keep her mind sharp. She did stay impressively clear minded and sharp to the end.
Muriel was so proud of the home that she and husband Don established in a beautiful wooded area in the Town of Wilson south of Sheboygan, and of their peaceful lake house on Cedar Lake where many summer picnic gatherings were hosted which always included the requisite pontoon boat ride around the lake. After Donald's passing in 2002, Muriel acquired a winter escape home in Ocala Florida that allowed her to be nearer to her beloved sister Lois in their final years. Muriel's loving brother Robert also ended up nearer to her in Muskego, Wisconsin with his wife, Pat. Muriel dearly enjoyed the extended family gatherings that Robert organized where she could visit with her remaining cousins and relatives from the Chicago area. She treasured her time with her cousins on the Caslin side. Michael, Nancy, and Maureen were all dear to her and she especially loved when they were able to visit her in Sheboygan in her later years.
Muriel was a high energy, beautiful, intelligent, and loving woman. She was always there for anyone when she saw a need, but family was most important. With her vivaciousness, verve, ambition, drive, and skill, she could have done anything, but her primary focus was always on making sure that everyone in her large family was safe, protected, provided for, and happy.
She is survived by her brother, Robert Melcher (Pat); her nephew, Dan Bruns; and by her eight children: Donald Ryan Jr. (Judy), Deborah Ryan, Timothy Ryan (Eva), Kathleen Hoffman (David), Maureen Ryan, John Ryan, Robert Ryan (Mary), and Melissa Neese (Randal). She is further survived by 21 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren including her special Brayden. The great grandkids referred to her as "Grandma Great" although controversy ensued when some of the youngest ones misunderstood and called her "Grandma Grape". Amazingly, she always personally remembered each and every one of the multitudinous birthdays almost right down to her last weeks, and her famous black bottom cupcakes that she baked for the celebrations disappeared as soon as the plate was set down.
Muriel touched so many lives and will be so dearly missed.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Donald Ryan; her sister and brother-in-law, Lois and Alan Bruns; her parents, Ann and Louis Melcher; nieces Bonnie Kiernicki (nee Bruns) and Cheryl Bruns; nephew, Jimmy Bruns; and by her cherished grandson, Douglas Ryan Felde.
The family is deeply appreciative of the care, comfort, and solace tenderly given by so many during Muriel's final days and offer heartfelt thanks to Sharon Richardson hospice care, Dr. Michael Johnson, Nurse Practitioner Jessica Murphy, and Father Matthew Widder.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Clement's Church in Sheboygan at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 13, 2020, with a socially distanced visitation in the church from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Interment will be at Woodland Cemetery in Kohler, Wisconsin. Please visit www.zimmerfuneralhome.com to leave online condolences.

Visitation
Monday, July 13, 2020
8:30 AM 7/13/2020 8:30:00 AM - 10:30 AM 7/13/2020 10:30:00 AM
St. Clement Catholic Church

522 New York Avenue
Sheboygan, WI 53081

St. Clement Catholic Church
522 New York Avenue Sheboygan 53081 WI
United States
Mass of Christian Burial
Monday, July 13, 2020
11:00 AM 7/13/2020 11:00:00 AM - 12:00 PM 7/13/2020 12:00:00 PM
St. Clement Catholic Church

522 New York Avenue
Sheboygan, WI 53081

St. Clement Catholic Church
522 New York Avenue Sheboygan 53081 WI
United States
Graveside Service
Monday, July 13, 2020
12:30 PM 7/13/2020 12:30:00 PM - 1:00 PM 7/13/2020 1:00:00 PM
St. Clement Catholic Church

522 New York Avenue
Sheboygan, WI 53081

St. Clement Catholic Church
522 New York Avenue Sheboygan 53081 WI
United States
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