Thelma Marie Ryan, 97, died on May 18, 2021, in Bradenton, Fla.
She was born in Killingly, Conn., on Feb. 27, 1924, to Lena and Fred LaCross. Thelma grew up on the family farm in Springfield, Vt., and spent her married years in Virginia and New York. After her husband’s death, she and her children moved to Florida in 1961. Thelma drove her family back “Up North” to New Hampshire to spend many wonderful summers at Spofford Lake.
Thelma was a lifelong student of history. In high school, she was known for her writing and debate skills. She recounted her early life and times in a memoir.
Thelma was a member and director of the League of Women Voters of Manatee County (Fla.). She was very proud that her work for voting rights was recognized by the local chapter of the NAACP.
Thelma enjoyed playing bridge for many years at the Cambridge Village Clubhouse. She played doubles tennis until her mid-80s.
Thelma was predeceased by her husband, Thomas J. Ryan. She was also predeceased by her sisters, Lucille and Clare; and brothers, Ernest and Leonard. Her parents’ first child, Mabel, died of an illness before age 2.
Thelma is survived by her daughters: Adrienne Spector (Kenneth) of Keene; and Claudia Ryan of Bradenton, Fla.; and her son, Kenneth Ryan (Susan) of Bradenton, Fla. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Allison, Kristen, Toria, Robin and Benjamin; and her great-grandchildren: Kalista, Nicholas and Matthew.
She is survived also by her nieces: Clare, Holly and Karen; and her nephews: Larry, John, Jay, Mark and Tom; who, together with their spouses, gave a special shine to her life.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to Tidewell Hospice of Bradenton, Fla.