George’s Final Update

On March 14, 2019, we received this email from George, regarding his beloved Joan.

I regret to inform you that Joan Katherine Stoeckle Ryan passed away quietly and peacefully this morning at 6:00 A.M., Thursday, March 14, 2019.

My wife was my Anam Cara (soul mate). I cannot imagine being without her.  My beautiful wife has departed. She meant everything to me. Her laughter, her tears, her love, and her joy will remain with me the rest of my life.


Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That’s all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die.

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at her, and I sigh.

— William Butler Yeats


May the road rise to meet her.

May the wind be always at her back.

May the sunshine warm upon her face.

May the rains fall upon her fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold her in the hollow of His hand.



Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free!

I follow the plan God laid for me.

I saw His face, I heard His call,

I took His hand and left it all…

I could not stay another day,

To love, to laugh, to work or play;

Tasks left undone must stay that way.

And if my parting has left a void,

Then fill it with remembered joy.

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss…

Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.

My life’s been full, I’ve savored much:

Good times, good friends, a loved-one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief—

Don’t shorten yours with undue grief.

Be not burdened with tears of sorrow,

Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.

I thank you one and all for your love, your friendship, your kindness, your caring,

and your many prayers.   I shall remember you with fondness and gratitude all

the days of my eternal life.


He also shared with us her obituary.

JOAN KATHERINE RYAN (March 1940 – March 2019)

Joan Katherine Ryan (nee Stoeckle) died peacefully at Crescent Point at Niantic on March 14, 2019, in Niantic, CT at the age of 78.  She was the daughter of the late Rudolf Stoeckle and Lenchen Charlotte Stoeckle (nee Scheibner) of Greenwich, CT.

Joan is survived by her husband, George E. Ryan of Old Lyme, CT and her brother, Robert Stoeckle of Walden, NY.  Joan was predeceased by her sister, Heidy Urso of Bonita Springs, FL. In addition, she is survived by her nieces, Joan Heidy McGovern of Peabody, MA and Tina Urso of Seattle, WA, and her nephew, David Urso of Quechee, VT.

Joan was born on March 28, 1940, in New York City, NY. She graduated from Greenwich High School in 1958 and attended Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1962.  From 1962 to 1966 she taught vocal music to grades 1 – 8 and English to grade 7 in Urbana, OH. From 1966 to 1969, she taught eighth grade English in Springfield, OH.

In 1969, Joan moved to the Denver metropolitan area where she taught in the Jefferson County, CO public schools until her retirement in June 2000.  She taught English Language Arts and Vocal Music at West Jefferson Elementary / Junior High School in Conifer, CO in 1970-1979. Additionally, Joan coached girls’ volleyball, sponsored the Pep Club and the cheerleaders, sponsored the school yearbook, and published the school’s literary magazine.  From 1979 to 2000, Joan taught English Language Arts, Journalism, Speech, Drama, and Vocal Music at Everitt Junior High School / Middle School, in Wheat Ridge, CO. Additionally, she coached girls’ basketball, volleyball, and track, sponsored the spelling team, the National Junior Honor Society, the Everitt Singers, and the All-County Chorus.

While teaching full time at Everitt, Joan continued her studies, receiving her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Denver in 1989 plus 30 additional graduate semester hours in English, education, and music from the University of Colorado, the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Phoenix.

While Joan took her teaching career quite seriously, she enjoyed her R&R in Idaho Springs.  She and her Idaho Springs friends constructed her beautiful A-Frame cabin on the “Ace of Diamonds” Gold Mining Claim, and there she relaxed, read, studied and enjoyed the “quiet life”.

From the day Joan met Mary Jane Loevlie, Bob Metzler and Charlie Resanovich in the early 1980s until she moved back to Connecticut, she was almost a daily part of their lives.  Many a Christmas Goose, Sunday Brunch, and special birthdays were celebrated at the “Cabin in the Sky”. Joan even made individual birthday flags for them!

Among Joan’s many talents, knitting was a very special one — she made beautiful baby blankets for children and relatives and a hand-knit sweater a year for each of Mary Jane’s daughters … until they were at least 13! These sweaters are now cherished by Mary Jane’s daughters, and their children are now wearing them!

Skiing, cross country skiing, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing in Northern Manitoba…Joan was an adventurous outdoors-woman! Though at times she expressed trepidation, she pushed on through with every adventure that came her way. Champagne breakfast cookouts on the Lombard Mining Claims and four-wheeling in her 1988 Ford Bronco II were favorite times!

Joan was very active in and generous to the Idaho Springs Historical Society. The annual “Fall Ball” was a tradition for Joan from 1994 to 2013.

In 2000 Joan embarked on becoming a certified GIA Graduate Gemologist which required taking a combination of five intensive 3-month courses and 3 hands-on lab classes, receiving her diploma in October 2005.

Joan met her husband, George, who lived in Reston, VA, while on vacation in Scotland in September 2000.  As fate would have it, she and George had both graduated from the same high school in the same year. She had found her anam cara! They were married on August 15, 2001, in Littleton, CO.  They moved from Reston, VA to Old Lyme, CT on November 24, 2001.

Joan was an accomplished pianist and vocalist and put her talents to work singing with the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme Senior Choir from 2003 until 2016.  She was also a member of the Music and Arts Committee. Joan volunteered at the Lyme Tree Woman’s Exchange, whose goal is to help members of the community achieve economic stability through consignment and sale of fine-quality, hand-crafted items.  She was an active board member from 2003 until 2015 and President for 6 of those years. She was President of the Federation of Woman’s Exchanges in 2009-2012. There are 19 members of the Federation of Woman’s Exchanges around the country. She was a very positive woman whose efforts at public relations within the Federation of Woman’s Exchanges was much appreciated. Joan was also an active member of the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce, volunteering on several community projects, her favorite of which was the Wee Faerie Village sponsored by the Florence Griswold Museum.

On August 15, 2017, Joan entered the last phase of her life in Crescent Point’s memory care facility as a result of late term Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.

Memorial Garden interment for family members and a Memorial Service is scheduled for Sunday, June 2, 2019 at 1:00 PM. at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, CT with a reception to follow.  All are welcome to attend and celebrate Joan Katherine Ryan’s life.  In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Road, Old Lyme, Connecticut 06371.

A separate Celebration of Life for Joan is being planned for Idaho Springs, CO in July.   In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Historical Society of Idaho Springs, 2060 Miner Street, Idaho Springs, CO 80452.

George, please accept our heartfelt sympathy. We thank you for being so open and honest with us about the path you and Joan were taking. We know that Joan will forever live on in your heart and memories and are grateful to be able to remember her with you, through your story.

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