Kathryn S. Ryan

Kathryn S. Ryan
October 23, 1937 – December 22, 2020

She was preceded in death by her husband, John J. Ryan. She is survived by her daughters: Maureen Rice (William), Sarah Ryan (Gary Bauer), and Mary Rosenthal (Edward); grandchildren: Stephanie Selden, Rachael Evans (Chris), Edward, James and Olivia Rosenthal; sisters, Martha Barclift and Ruth Gazzola (John); sister-in-law, Kay Needham; many nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

Funeral Mass: Saturday, April 10, 2021, 10:00 a.m., St. John Catholic Church, 2500 California Plaza, Creighton Campus. St John Catholic Church  is asking that people register for the funeral through this link:  https://eventbrite.com/e/funeral-mass-for-kate-ryan-tickets-147664716141. Interment, Calvary Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to KVNO Radio, St. John Catholic Church at Creighton University, and The Stephen Center.

To view a live stream of the Funeral Mass, please go to the St. John Catholic Church website, or go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button.


Kathryn S Ryan was born in Keokuk, Iowa to John and Janie Sigmund on October 23, 1937. She graduated from Keokuk High School and continued her education at Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa where she graduated in 1960 with a degree in Education.

She taught elementary school in Iowa before meeting John J Ryan and getting married in Keokuk on September 15, 1962. They moved to Omaha shortly after their marriage and Kate worked as a teacher in the Omaha Public Schools and St Joan of Arc Catholic School. After retiring from St Joan of Arc she taught Adult Education and helped many people obtain their GEDs. She volunteered her time and energy at Stephen Center and Community Alliance. She had a special interest in mental health awareness and disorders.

Over the years she was active in her churches, first St Margaret Mary, then Holy Family, and finally St John. A special group of friends also shared a Home Mass once a month for over 50 years.

You can take the girl out of Keokuk, but you can’t take Keokuk out of the girl…Kate visited her hometown regularly and maintained a lifelong group of friends from her graduating class at KHS. heir reunions took her all over the country.

Kate had a strong faith and loved people. She enjoyed the comforts of her home and the company of family and old friends, but never hesitated to say yes to a trip or to make room for a new friend. Her compassion for others will be remembered by more people than we know. “If you see someone falling behind, walk beside them. If you see someone being ignored, find a way to include them. If someone has been knocked down, lift them up. Always remind people of their worth. One small act could mean the world to them.”

She was preceded in death by her husband, John J Ryan; parents, John and Janie Sigmund; sister, Martha Barcliff of Keokuk, Iowa. She is survived by her 3 daughters: Maureen (Bill) Rice of Naples, FL, Sarah (Gary Bauer) Ryan of St Paul, MN, and Mary (Ed) Rosenthal of Papillion, NE, 5 grandchildren: Stephanie Selden, Rachael (Chris) Evans both of Denver, CO, Eddie Rosenthal of Newport Beach, CA, Jimmy Rosenthal and Olivia Rosenthal of Papillion, NE; sister, Ruth (John) Gazzola of Stony Point, NY; sister-in-law, Kay Needham of Northbrook, IL; an uncle,many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends, all who were dear to her.

In case you’re wondering…if you ever sent her a card, photo or letter, she treasured it (and saved it)!


  • Gloria Thompson Posted December 25, 2020 3:48 pm

    Dear Maureen,Sarah, and Mary
    I am so sad and I know you are too. No one like Kate Ryan. A great sense of humor and a beautiful smile to go with it. This picture is beautiful and I hope to print it. We had so many good times together. I have missed her a great deal since I moved to KC. Take care and God bless you in a special way during this time of grief. Mary KAy reminded me that today is your Dad’s birthday. They just be having a fun celebration

    • Sarah Ryan Posted December 27, 2020 5:04 pm

      Hello, Gloria! Thank you for remembering my Mom, and thank you for being her friend. I am thinking now of summer Sundays at Holy Family, and a fun spring afternoon our family spent with yours at your house in Omaha. I hope you and your family are well. This is a sad time. I am grateful for so many happy memories. Love to you and your daughters, Theresa, Maureen, and forgive me I cannot recall the other name. I wish I had a copy of that old Holy Family directory with me now. Love, Sarah

  • Ed & Elaine Svoboda Posted December 26, 2020 4:29 pm

    So sorry – now you have both parents watching over you and your families

    • Sarah Ryan Posted December 27, 2020 5:12 pm

      Dear Ed and Elaine, thank you for remembering my Mom. I hope you and Kim, Terry, Susie, and families are well. I was in Omaha over the past week, drove down Jackson Street and around the neighborhood. So many good memories. You and your family are right there in the middle of so many. Love to you all. — Sarah

  • Martha Barclift Posted December 26, 2020 5:49 pm

    Katie was my dear sister for 82 Years, gone way too soon, I will miss her forever!!!!!!!!

  • Bambi and Jesse Bartek Posted December 27, 2020 8:26 am

    We adored Katie! I worked with your mom at the Stephen Center and Jesse worked on your parents home. She was involved in our relationship while we were dating ❤️ She was always kind, loving and supportive. I can picture her raising her eyes and tipping her head slightly giving the ….what…look At the center, she gave it often. Makes me laugh thinking about it. She loved you all so much, I am so sorry fir your great loss. Heaven just got a little bit wiser.

    • Sarah Posted December 27, 2020 6:46 pm

      Thank you for sharing this memory of my Mom. Of course, I never saw her while she was on the job, so it is a joy to have a memory from her colleague. Thank you. She loved her work there. Thank you for being part of her life. —Sarah

  • Katie Buckley Taylor Posted December 27, 2020 10:45 am

    My deepest sympathy to Maureen, Sarah and Mary..
    To this day I can still remember your Mom’s terrific laugh and funny wit. She was a gem! God bless her and your Dad as they are now together. Peace be with all of you.

    • Sarah Ryan Posted December 27, 2020 6:37 pm

      Hi, Katie. Thank you for your memories of my Mom. I remember you, too. Gosh it has been so long. I was in Omaha the past week and drove around. So many good memories in such a beautiful city. Take care. —Sarah

  • Brother John Brudney, OSB Posted December 28, 2020 9:02 pm

    My sympathy to all of your family. I knew your mom when she was at Saint Joan of Arc School. She was never my teacher. I just knew, and remember her, as a very kind and friendly person. I will certainly remember her and all your family in my prayers.

    • Sarah Ryan Posted December 31, 2020 10:25 pm

      Hello, John. Thank you for remembering my Mom! And what a joy to hear from you. I remember Mom telling me about such a nice young man who swept the floors at Saint Joan after school, and how I might like to meet him. I was so thrilled to go to junior prom with you that year, triple-dating with dear friends, HK, DA, and SM. The Marian/Prep speech and debate squad represented well that night at Perkins on 72nd and Dodge! Such fond memories. Thank you again for your prayers. All the best to you. –Sarah

  • Sarah Ryan Posted January 1, 2021 2:07 pm

    Hello, John. Thank you for remembering my Mom! And what a joy to hear from you. I remember Mom telling me about such a nice young man who swept the floors at Saint Joan after school, and how I might like to meet him. I was so thrilled to go to junior prom with you that year, triple-dating with dear friends, HK, DA, and SM. The Marian/Prep speech and debate squad represented well that night at Perkins on 72nd and Dodge! Such fond memories. Thank you again for your prayers. All the best to you. –Sarah

  • Joan Chambers Posted January 1, 2021 3:48 pm

    Kate and John were neighbors when we lived on Jones St. Kate and I had many chats over the back yard fence.
    She was so pleasant and had the best laugh. I always felt better after our over the fence gab sessions. I also taught at the Stephen Center and it was Kate who first taught there. We worked for Omaha Public Schools Adult Education Department.
    I will always remember Kate as one of the nicest women I have ever met. Rest in peace, Kate.

  • Diann Brumback Posted January 1, 2021 4:32 pm

    I loved Katie. When I came into the family in 1990 she became my friend.. I wish we had lived closer but that could not be helped. Thank you Katie for always telling me things about Jim. He was special to her.
    Sincere sadness comes with this message. With live
    Diann Brumback

  • James Lillis Posted January 2, 2021 1:51 pm

    So sorry for your loss. I am a cousin through my father, Roy Lillis who was related through the Brumbacks.

  • Elizabeth Grady Posted January 2, 2021 8:52 pm

    Although we didn’t grow up knowing each other as childhood cousins, we became closer as much older adults. Katie was always so delightful when we would spend hours on the phone, talking and laughing about current events, family history and old memories of family reunions. She gave me a lot of family history that I’m forever grateful for. She would send the most beautiful cards with lovely hand written witty and loving notes often with pictures. I so enjoyed the loving banter between Katie & John. Unfortunately, I never got to know their daughters or families, only knew how proud they were of all three girls. I’m forever grateful for the memories.

  • Ann Livorsi Posted January 3, 2021 4:35 pm

    Kate ws a great friend. I am so glad we attended Marycrest together. Ann

  • Gail McNertney Posted January 4, 2021 9:28 am

    My deepest sympathy to the Ryan family on the loss of your Mom Kate. Sarah I miss working with you my friend and wished I could have been with you. Praying that God be with you in your grief. I am so very sorry

  • Susie Kaufman Posted March 29, 2021 5:34 pm

    Because of our friendship with Maureen Rice, we have learned of the caring contributions of Katheryn as a teacher and a community volunteer. We are grateful for the values Katheryn and John have given Maureen as she is a wonderful reflection of them. We are very sorry for the great loss for the entire family.

  • Rita Macaulay Posted April 1, 2021 8:01 pm

    Kate was a very good friend to me!! We got together frequently to share a meal and have a good visit together. My prayers are with the family. May God bless her soul with love and joy as she enters into eternal life.

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