Obituary for Kay Ryan
Kay Ryan passed away at the age of 74 on
September 25, 2018 with family at her side, after a
June diagnosis of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of
the Lacrimal Gland. Kay was born and raised in
Charles Town, West Virginia and began her
journey on earth March 7th, 1944. She moved to
Iowa to raise her family in 1963. She was a stayat-
home mother until her children began school.
She joined the workforce in 1971 as an
Administrative Assistant within the Coca-Cola
Company and eventually moved to the Methodist
Hospital Accounts Payable Department as a Book
On March 22nd, 1993, Kay suffered a Massive Stroke that left her with complete rightside paralysis, Global Apraxia and Global Aphasia. After years of rehab, it became evident that she had essentially lost the English language. Ultimately it didn’t matter. Love was a verb for Kay, so much so that it transcended language. Anyone who knew her will tell you she could communicate how she felt, how much she loved you, how proud she was of you, and whether or not she liked your outfit! That’s not to say the stroke didn’t come with its challenges for all of us. We won’t lie, none of us will be jumping into a game of charades anytime soon.
Reflecting back, Kay has been our family’s guide through a beautiful twenty-five and a half year journey of personal growth that has taught all of us who we are, what ’s really important in life, what real determination looks like, and what it means to ‘rise above your circumstances’. One of our favorite stories to tell is that when Kay lived near a Target, it wasn’t uncommon to find her all bundled up in blankets in the Winter months, wandering through the store in her electric wheelchair looking for the latest bargains. She spent the majority of her monthly spending $ buying things for her grandkids or unselfishly saving that money to put in their birthday and Christmas cards.
For the last nine years she was a resident of Manorcare Nursing Home where she made many friends, the best of which being Judy Turk. They made a license plate for her electric wheelchair that appropriately read ‘Hot Rod’. If you ask anyone at MC what their favorite story about Kay was, they would share that for the last several years she was up by 5am so she could deliver the newspaper and hot chocolate to her friends. The legacy of Kay’s strength, smile, kind spirit, passion for life, and service to others will live on in her children and grandchildren and will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
Kay is survived by her daughter Dina and husband Pete, their children — Taylor and Trevor Else— all of Waukee; her son Bret Ryan and his daughter Kelsey McGee; her sister Jean Ryan of Heathsville, VA and her brother John Lorenz of Martinsburg, WV. She was preceded in death by her parents Harold and Marian
Lorenz from Charles Town, West Virginia.
There will be a Memorial Service for Kay at Lutheran Church of Hope, Waukee this Saturday at 11:00 AM. There will be a luncheon immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Kay Ryan’s name to Children & Families of Iowa Domestic Violence Services, 1111 University Ave, Des Moines, IA 50314 or via: www.cfiowa.org/give-cfi
To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Kay Ryan, please visit our Tribute Store.