Dorothy Ann Ellis Ryan

Dorothy RyanDorothy Ann Ellis Ryan died peacefully on January 20, 2016 at St. John Paul II Care Center in Danbury after a long illness. A lifelong Bethelite, she was born February 14, 1932 to the late Richard and Carrie (Haddad) Ellis. After graduating from Bethel High School in 1949, Dot worked a variety of jobs, including Woolworth's in Danbury, AAA of Danbury, and as a dental assistant to Dr. Michael Rifkin. She married her high school sweetheart, Thomas Lee Ryan on April 11, 1953 and welcomed the first of their eight children in March 1954. And so her life’s journey as mother and grandmother began.

Dot was very active in the town of Bethel, particularly with town and state politics. She served as the Democratic Registrar of Voters for more than 15 years, registering countless new residents and running local elections. She was also active in her children’s activities at St. Mary’s School and at Bethel High. When she wasn’t chasing her children, she was an extraordinary seamstress, crafter, quilter, and cook. Pursuing her other love, her vegetable garden at the Ryan homestead on Fleetwood Avenue, resulted in a bounty that fed many friends and family.

Dot, with her four sisters, Ellie, Juju, Virginia and Wanda, taught their tribe of children the importance of family, the value of a sense of humor, and the joy of home cooking. Ever proud of her Lebanese heritage, many Bethelites had their first taste of Lebanese cooking at a Ryan family dinner. Demonstrating love and tolerance daily, Dot’s open arms contributed to her children’s friends claiming to be the 9th sibling in the Ryan clan. Whether it was Sunday dinner, St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage, Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations, another chair could always be added around the table. 

Summers in the 1960’s and 70’s found Dot at Meckauer Park, volunteering at swim meets, or just standing ankle-deep in the water keeping her eye on her growing family. She was a mainstay at the Democratic Clambake every year, an organizer of her class reunions, volunteer at her children’s schools, and perpetual chauffeur to her children. Fearless in trying new activities from reupholstering to cooking new recipes, her husband, Tom would roll his eyes and say, “okay, Dot,” because she was his “Sweetheart “ and “Beautiful Brown Eyes!” Sewing, quilting, gardening were Dot’s passions, but her grandchildren were her true joy. She passed on her passions to her grandchildren, including her desire to experience life and its opportunities to the fullest. 

In 1984, Dot and Tom made a dream come true by purchasing property on Pachaug Pond in Griswold, CT and with their children and grandchildren, in-laws, and friends built their cottage on what Dot called their “Golden Pond.”  This led to an expansion of summer time parties and celebrations on the water. If there wasn’t a bed, you were welcome to pitch a tent! It was Dot who taught her granddaughters to water-ski. She loved to take a spin on the lake pulling grandkids in a ride of a lifetime in the tubes with a bonus of lunch on the boat. Everyone was corralled to gather in or around the hammock to watch the sunset. Life was good for Tom and Dot whenever they could share their Cottage with family and friends.

Dot loved to travel with Tom whether it was to Cape Cod to visit old friends, across our country to visit their family and friends, or to exotic places like Alaska, Hawaii, Italy, China and Korea. They made new friends wherever they went. Best of all for Dot was returning home to share photos and adventure stories with her family. 

Like the rest of the State of Connecticut, Dot became an avid UCONN Women’s Basketball fan. She watched all of the games on TV and frequently had the opportunity to attend home games. She had collected many team autographs on her favorite UCONN sweatshirt.

Dot is survived by her eight children, Nancy Ryan and her wife, Susan Rosengrant, of Bethel; Thomas L. Ryan, Jr., and his wife, Kim, of Rocky River, Ohio; Mary Pat LeBlanc and her husband, Pete, of Worcester, MA; Virginia Coladarci and her husband, Angelo, of Brookfield; John Ryan of West Roxbury, MA; Elizabeth Ryan and her fiancée, Dutch Soth, of Houston, Texas; Christopher Ryan, and his wife, Carmela, of Griswold; Candis Orvis and her husband, Doug, of McLean, VA; and 12 grandchildren, Michelle (LeBlanc) and Dave Haymes, Bridget (LeBlanc) and Brad Simmons, Melissa Coladarci, Peter T. LeBlanc, Megan Coladarci, Sam Ryan, Matthew Coladarci, Christian LeBlanc, Tess Ryan, Lily Ryan, Julia Ryan, Serafina Orvis; and one great-grandchild, Bailey Ryan Simmons. Dot also is survived by brothers in law, David Shaker, Fred Randazzo and James Ryan, 16 nieces, nephews, their spouses, children, and grandchildren, all who called her Auntie Dot. She is predeceased by the love of her life, Tom; by her four sisters, Eleanor Randazzo, Juliette Eno, Virginia Nero, and Wanda Shaker; two brothers-in-law, Frank Eno and Joe Nero; her sister-in-law, MaryAnn Ryan; and nephew, Tom Nero.

The family will receive friends on Friday, January 29, 2016 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home, 9-11 Granville Avenue, Danbury.

The Rite of Burial will take place on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Ann’s Melkite Catholic Church, 181 Clapboard Ridge, Road, Danbury with Archimandrite Michael Skrocki officiating.
Interment in St. Peter Cemetery, Danbury will take place at the direction of the family.

Dementia/Alzheimer is a very cruel disease. Over the years it had robbed Dot of her spunk, opinions, laughter, her ability to sew, cook, garden, but it never took away her recognition of her family and friends or her love of music. The Ryan family would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the “Georgias” who allowed our mother to live in her home for as long as she did. For the past two years, Dot has been in and out of the Hospital and area Care Facilities. We would like to extend our appreciation to all the healthcare workers in each of these facilities who helped to make Dot’s days a little brighter and safer. To all healthcare workers who care for our families, your kindness, compassion and patience will always be greatly appreciated.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Dot’s honor and memory can be made to St Ann’s Melkite Church, 181 Clapboard Ridge Road, Danbury, CT, 06811; the Bethel Visiting Nurse Association, 70 Stony Hill Road, Bethel, CT 06801 or a charity of your choice.
The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God's Heart in a garden Than anywhere else on earth. Dorothy Frances Gurney 

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