Joan Adelle Calhoun Ryan passed from this life on October 3, 2021. Joan was born to T. Wendell Calhoun and Laura Leore Aker in Denver, Colorado on December 13, 1922. She started school in Denver, then moved with her family to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland, where her father was employed as an agricultural economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Joan attended Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio for three years before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her B.S. in Home Economics in 1944. During summers, she had jobs at the Grand Canyon in Arizona; at Mount Rainier in Washington; and at Mrs. K’s Toll House in Silver Spring, Maryland. Subsequently, Joan attended Mills College in Oakland, California to become an occupational therapist. She then worked in U.S. Army hospitals in Santa Fe, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, helping soldiers recover from injuries sustained during World War II. At William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, she met B.W. Ryan. On June 9, 1947, Joan and B.W. were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe.
While B.W. earned a degree by attending college in Stephenville, Texas and Fort Collins, Colorado, Joan taught elementary school. The couple then embarked on a twenty-year adventure, as B.W.’s service in the U.S. Air Force took them many different places. Joan taught school in Malden, Missouri and Enid, Oklahoma before joining B.W. for a tour of duty in Germany and France. While in Europe, they became parents of Barbara Sue and Brent Wendell. Back in the States, they were stationed in El Paso, Texas; Topeka, Kansas; Montgomery, Alabama; Boulder, Colorado; Marietta, Georgia; and Houston, Texas. Nancy Lee was born while they lived in Prattville, Alabama. In Georgia, Joan balanced the responsibilities of being a teacher and mother while B.W. served in Vietnam. In 1967, the Ryan family returned to Texas for B.W.’s final Air Force assignment, at NASA. Joan taught in La Porte ISD for 16 years, retiring in 1984. In 1992, Joan and B.W. moved to Round Rock, Texas where they enjoyed being near family, rekindling old friendships, and making many new friends. Joan was a member of the University Presbyterian Church in Austin at the time of her death.
In addition to being a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Joan made ceramics and silver jewelry, baked delicious pies, and loved being outdoors. She was an avid reader and church volunteer. Over the years, she skied, square danced, rode horses, hiked, camped, ziplined, canoed, and rafted. She visited every U.S. state except Hawaii. She enthusiastically participated in vacations, camping trips, holiday gatherings, birthday parties, weddings, graduations, and other “grand occasions.” Joan’s family and friends will cherish their memories of her optimism, loving nature, wisdom, wit, and zest for life.
Joan was predeceased by an infant daughter, Kathleen Ann Ryan; her parents; stepmother, Alleen Calhoun; brother, Reverend Donald Calhoun; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Johnson Calhoun; and son-in-law, Michael Montoya. She is survived by her husband, Lt. Col. B.W. Ryan, USAF Ret.; daughters, Barbara Sue Montoya and Nancy Lee Porter (Jeffrey); son, Brent Wendell Ryan (Jeanne); granddaughter, Lauren Jeanne Ryan; grandsons Benjamin Wham Ryan (Bridget), Jacob Ryan Porter, and Samuel Lee Porter (Karleigh Ross); great-grandchildren, Everett James Ryan and Nora Louise Porter; and numerous nieces and nephews.
If you wish to honor Joan’s memory, her family suggests a donation to Hospice Austin. A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
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