CARBONDALE — Monica Eleanor Lechner Ryan, 95, passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Manor Court in Carbondale.
She was born in Streator, on June 21, 1924, the summer solstice.
She was the youngest of three daughters of John “Jack” and Delia (Miller) Lechner. Her middle sister, Ethel Davison, predeceased her. Her oldest sister, Irene Sianta, survives.
Monica lived in Chicago from the age of 10, graduating from Calvin Park High School in 1942, then going into nurse's training at Wesley Memorial Hospital in Chicago (a Northwestern University program).
She met Charles Joseph “Bud” Ryan, whom she married in 1949 in Chicago.
On Bud's completion of law school at Northwestern, they moved to his hometown of Jacksonville, where he practiced law. She became a part of the community, volunteering at the Jacksonville Public Library and at Passavant Hospital where she was also on the auxiliary board. She delivered Doorbell Dinners and served as an election judge, making a multitude of friends everywhere she went. Most important to her, she raised four children who adored her.
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All survive including John (Marsha) Ryan of Carbondale, Marian Ryan Johnson of Louisville, Daniel (Lori) Ryan of Batavia and Justin Ryan of Louisville. Also surviving are nine grandchildren, Margaret (Kyle) Cornelius, John “Jack” Ryan, Maeve (Mark) Adams, Samuel Johnson, Mary “Kit” Ryan, Max Ryan, Patrick Ryan, Michael Ryan and Emma Ryan. She is also survived by her great-grandchild, Flynn Cornelius.
Her husband, Bud, passed away in 1994 in Jacksonville.
Monica was an avid walker, out in all weather. She was a voracious reader and bridge player. She was active in the Catholic Church, and a woman of great faith, attending Our Savior in Jacksonville, and lately St. Andrew in Murphysboro. Monica was a peacemaker and managed to keep her extended family together in Ryanesque harmony. She was a life-long Cubs fan, dating back to the days when she sat in the bleachers of Wrigley Field with her father.
She moved to Carbondale in 2014 to be closer to her family as she aged. She was, as always, unfailingly kind, sweet, graceful and cute as a button. She will be missed by her family and by all who were lucky enough to have spent any time around her. Thorton Wilder wrote, “The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” We, her family, friends, and acquaintances are all grateful to her for the life she lived so well and shared so generously with us.
Donations may be made to the Monica L. Ryan Memorial Scholarship Fund at the SIU Foundation, 1235 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, IL 62901. The scholarship supports students seeking BSN degrees who plan to practice in Southern Illinois.
Arrangements are pending in Jacksonville.