Colleen Obray Ryan

Honored by:Vern Ryan, Becky Horlander, Andrea Kemp, and Tricia Ryan
Brick location:D:18  map

Mary Colleen Obray was born April 20, 1943, in Logan, Utah. She was the youngest of five children born to Clifford and Jean Obray. While growing up, she enjoyed reading and music, especially playing the piano and the saxophone. One of her favorite pastimes was to read while sitting in the apple trees in her backyard.

Her high school years were spent with her two best friends, Gail and Patty. They were often referred to as "the three musketeers." They liked dancing and spending the weekends "scooping Main" in Logan, Utah. Many summer days, the three could be found on the beaches of Bear Lake. Jean would take them there for a weekend of soaking in the sun and swimming.

Colleen attended Utah State University for a year then worked as a legal secretary in Salt Lake City. She later moved to Ogden, Utah and worked for the United States Forest Service. In 1963, she married Vern Ryan. One year later, they returned to Utah State where Colleen worked for the university and Vern went to school. They then moved to Pennsylvania and Colleen continued to work, putting Vern through graduate school. From 1964 to 1971, they had three daughters, Becky, Andrea, and Tricia.

After several relocation’s, the Ryan's ended up in Ames, Iowa. Colleen continued her college education at Iowa State University in 1979. Since she was working at the university as well as raising a family, she took only one or two courses a semester. Besides the importance she placed on education, Colleen loved interacting with her younger peers. Much like her mother, Colleen is young at heart and fit in well with students of all ages.

In May of 1995, Colleen received her bachelor’s degree in Economics, with a minor in Women's Studies. After all the sacrifices she made putting the rest of her family through college, it was finally Colleen's chance to feel the pride and satisfaction of receiving her diploma.

Over the years, the biggest impression Colleen has made on us (her three daughters) is the importance of the giving of yourself to others. With all of the love and support we have received from her, it is no wonder that we each consider our mom to be one of our best friends. Colleen extends this caring and generosity to those outside of her family as well. She has donated money to families in need, given financial support to two children in Guatemala, and volunteered her time to a variety of causes.

As Colleen’s daughter's, we feel extremely proud and fortunate to call this wonderful woman "mom."

Becky, Andrea & Tricia

Submitted on 2/9/95