Fern Joan Ryan, 84, passed peacefully Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at the Hope Health & Rehabilitation Center in Lomira.
She was born in St. Kilian on September 25, 1934, the daughter of the late Ervin and Margaret (Heisler) Bonlender, who farmed north of St. Kilian and west of the Katzenburg in the Town of Ashford. Many times she walked those hills to school, including trudging through snow in winter. She graduated from St. Kilian Parochial School in 1948.
She attended Kewaskum High School. On October 4, 1952, she married Karl J. Ryan at St. Kilian Catholic Church in St. Kilian, with Rev. John B. Reichel presiding. Karl and Fern began their life together on multiple small farms in the Town of Eden. They initially were at the farmstead where Karl grew up (Maurice & Violet Ryan) on Timberline Drive. Next, they farmed off of Eagle Road on the Huck farm. They eventually settled on the Brown property, raised their family, and made themselves a solid home for over 60 years.
Fern made a great German potato salad and enjoyed making banana bread. She liked reading the newspaper, bird watching from the kitchen window, and gardening her vegetables and tending her flowers. She loved classic country music, including Charley Pride, whom she saw in concert.
Fern’s life revolved around the small family farm life of Eden on Highway F. Her Catholic upbringing continued at St. Mary’s Church in Eden; and ended as a member of Shepherd of the Hills.
She often reminisced about the past, like the old church just to the west, St. James, which she attended in the summers before it faded in use around 1970. There was a deep appreciation for the kind neighbors of rural Eden, and a value in strong work ethic. All of her three children continued the tradition of dairy farming. She helped Karl farm until they retired roughly twenty years ago.
Her rest is well deserved.
Those left behind to cherish her memory along with her husband Karl of 66 years include her children, Mark (Mary) of Fond du Lac, Deb (Jim) McCarty of Campbellsport, and Chris (Leo) Kramer of St. Cloud; her grandchildren: Chad (Amy) Ryan, Tracy Beyer, Kevin (Lindsey) Ryan, Ken (Jen) Ryan; Ryan (Heather) McCarty, Ben (Amber) McCarty, Karl McCarty, Luke (Renee) McCarty; Greg (Mindy) Hodorff, Valerie (Derrek-fiance) Kramer, and Matthew Kramer. Fern had many great grandchildren: Dylan, Cameron; Morgan, Annabelle; Violet; Olivia, Hudson, Marshall; Zoey; Hank, Royal and Almalyn; Cameron and Shaelee; and another great-grandchild expected in June.
Siblings surviving include her sister Florence Plageman of Mayville; and her brother, Joseph (Louise) Bonlender of Campbellsport; a sister-in-law, Doris Bonlender of Kewaskum; sisters-in-law, Jeanette, Joan, and Harriet; and many nieces and nephews.
Fern was preceded in death by her parents, sister Margaret (Andy) Bonlender and brothers Leo, Ervin (Betty), Harold (Eileen), and Robert; and brother in law Donald Plageman.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Fern will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at Shepherd of the Hills Catholic Church, W1562 County Road B, Eden. Rev. Neil Zinthefer will officiate and burial will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Eden.
Fern’s family will greet relatives and friends at the church on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Mass.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Agnesian Hospice Hope or Hope Health & Rehabilitation Center in Lomira. The family would like to thank the staff, and residents, of Hope, as well as Hospice Care, for their kindness and compassion.
Twohig Funeral Home is serving the family with condolences and guestbook at www.twohigfunerals .com.
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