MAE NESS RYAN -MELBOURNE - Mae Ness Ryan, 88, born May 14, 1920 in Barton, North Dakota, died Sunday, January 25, 2009 in Melbourne, Florida after a 40 year bout with cancer. A remarkable and truly loved woman, she was an Eye Witness to History following Pearl Harbor, she entered Civil Service in the Treasury Department, transferring to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the CIA, and served in Italy in World War II. At the end of the war she was sent to Nurenberg, Germany to manage OSS persons at the war crime trials of the Nazi leaders. At the trials end she returned to the USA only to be recruited to join the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and in 1950 sent to Japan during the Korean War. There she met her future husband, John J. (Pat) Ryan, the USAF pilot of the CIA aircraft. In 1952 she was transferred to Frankfurt, Germany during the Cold War. In 1954 she married Pat and moved to England where she entered a new world. She bore a son, Timothy, and four years later returned to the states in Texas. In 1962 she was back in Germany as Pat became the Assistant Air Attache in Bonn. For four years she raised their son, and at the same time represented her country attending official functions, entertaining persons of many foreign lands and undergoing her first cancer operation. In 1966, they returned to the US on assignment to Tacoma, Washington where she became surrogate mother to the families of Pats 550 strong flying unit. In 1972 on Pats retirement, Mae accepted a position as office manager of a dental clinic. In 1990, both retired and moved to Melbourne into the Indian River Colony Club, where she made a new life with many new friends on the golf course and other activities. She also wrote her story of her life as an eyewitness to history in A Woman Ahead of her Time which will be published in early February. Mae leaves behind a loving family, her beloved husband of 54 years, Pat; son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Lora; grandsons, Patrick and William of Annandale, VA; granddaughter, Kate of Los Angeles, CA; her family The Whalens, Tom and Cathy and their families of Minneapolis; and her families-in-law, The Kirschlings of New Jersey. To all of her IRCC friends, thank you for all you have done for her over the past 19 years. A Memorial Service will be held at 12:30 p.m., Friday, February 13th, at IRCC in the Colony Hall. She will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
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Published in FloridaToday on Feb. 1, 2009.