IRON MOUNTAIN — Midge Ryan, 71, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, at Dickinson County Memorial Hospital.
Midge was born on Nov. 29, 1947, in Detroit, daughter of Lucian and Ann (McKay) Keppel. She was raised in the Detroit area and graduated from Cooley High School in 1965. Midge continued her education at Oakland University, where she graduated in 1971. She eventually earned her master’s degree in special education from Northern Michigan University in 1999.
On Nov. 30, 1968, Midge married Peter Ryan in Rochester, Michigan. Pete and Midge enjoyed over 50 years of marriage. Together they raised a beautiful family.
Midge was a kind, loving, free-spirit, always full of positive energy. Midge always brought joy to those around her. Her upbeat sense of humor, contagious laughter and unqualified acceptance of all people made her unique.
For almost 72 years, Midge tenaciously chose LIFE. She epitomized living each moment of every day fully. She cherished precious time with family and friends, preserved family culture, tradition, unity, and gave selflessly to all who knew her. She understood that serving others brings meaning, happiness and fulfillment. She was generous and shared her time, talents, spiritual and material gifts with all.
Midge possessed the amazing qualities of persistently finding strength in weakness, calm in adversity and talent in all. Problems were viewed as opportunities for growth. She was, without qualification, always supportive and loving toward each person irrespective of age, social status, race, creed, religion or ethnic background.
Midge built friendships for life and developed loving relationships with everyone she met. She loved life and advocated for those who could not do so on their own. She cared for all creation and was spontaneous, fearless and joyous.
People loved to spend time with Midge. Living and playing in nature and on the water was a huge part of her life. She relished sharing those experiences with others.
Midge was dedicated to a lifetime of teaching by word, deed and example. Her teaching career spanned over 22 years, including 15 years in special education. She was passionate about the arts as cultural enrichment. She lead the Iron Mountain High School Drama Club for 25 years and provided opportunities to all students for participation in musical and drama productions which enriched the community.
Dance, community choir and theater were important to her. She served as a dance instructor for hundreds of students in Dickinson and Iron Counties. Midge was also a music instructor, dance choreographer, producer, director and performer in community activities, including Badwater Ski-ters, dance, chorus and community theater.
Midge taught us how to love unconditionally, live life to the fullest, never miss an opportunity, and to do all things with a positive attitude. Her caring nature and love for students made the Ryan home a destination for many kids to share warmth, food, fun and laughter.
Left to cherish her memory are her loving husband, Peter Ryan, children, Peter C. (Amy) Ryan of Saginaw, Michigan, Melani (Dave) Lindbeck of Gladstone and Benjamin (Lara) Ryan of Iron Mountain; seven grandchildren, Allison, Nickolas, Sydney and John Ryan, Jocelyn and Marianna Lindbeck, and Kurt Ryan; one brother, Chuck (Beth) Keppel of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; many nieces and nephews,; and friends too numerous to mention.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home in Iron Mountain.
Funeral services will be held the following morning, Friday, Aug. 16, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home in Iron Mountain.
Midge’s nephew, Rev. Lucas Keppel will officiate, along with close family friend Lauren Ivory Smyk.
Burial will be in Cemetery Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made payable to DACF – Friends of Camp Batawagama or Iron Mountain High School General Scholarship Fund.
The family would like to extend their gratitude to Jean Ivory, Lorraine Siler, Arlene Lake, Mary Anne Larzelere, Martie Muzzy, Deb Reynolds, Sandy Stolarski and many others for the love, friendship, support and care provided to Midge over the past months and years.
Condolences to the family of Midge Ryan may be expressed online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com.
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home with the arrangements.