April 13, 1951 - March 14, 2014 OKLAHOMA CITY Kathleen Marie Ryan, 62, died at her Oklahoma City home on Friday, March 14 following a long illness. She was born April 13, 1951, to Margaret and Charles Ryan, M.D. and moved frequently during her childhood, as her father was an administrator for various VA hospitals, including the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. Kathleen graduated from Northwest Classen High School, then the University of Iowa with a degree in Russian language so that she could read the literature she loved in its native tongue. She began what would be a long career as a librarian by driving a bookmobile that served small, rural communities near Santa Fe, NM. She returned to Oklahoma to study library science at OU and received her master's degree in 1984. From then until mid-1996, Kathleen was director of the Seminole Public Library. While living in Seminole, she hosted and mentored four high school exchange students -- Jacob Hegstrup, of Denmark; Ilsa Ordonez and Cecilia Teran, both of Mexico; and Yuko Matsushima, of Japan -- who became Kathleen's "kids." She and they remained close throughout her life, and all have expressed recently to Kathleen how much she influenced their lives. After her service in Seminole, Kathleen worked for several years for Follett Co. in library software sales and consulting throughout the multi-state region. Tiring of travel, she left Follett and worked for a year in the international student office of Oklahoma City University, adding Anna Letyushova, of Dallas, a co-worker and native Russian, to her family of "kids." She stayed home for several years, cultivating her front and backyard gardens and an ever-growing and eclectic group of devoted friends. Then it was back to library work, this time in Muskogee, where she commuted weekly to supervise three small town libraries in the regional library system. Kathleen retired due to illness in late 2012. She is survived by a brother, Charles Ryan, of San Jose; her stepmother, Tomi Ryan, of Pensacola, FL; a stepsister, Donna Burkart, of Franklin, ME; her "kids"; and her dear friends, who, in the absence of nearby relatives, cared for her during her illness and were with her always during the last weeks of her life. Friends and acquaintances are invited to celebrate Kathleen's life at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, at her home.
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Published in The Oklahoman on Mar. 17, 2014