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Kathleen Marie Ryker

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icon August 16, 1925 - November 25, 2015 Kathleen Marie Crawford Ryker was born in Mason City, Iowa on August 16, 1925 - the fourth of six children of George and Marian Crawford. During the depression, like many other families, George and Marian decided to take their family to California. In California, they did find new life. Eventually both George and Marian found full time work, and as a young girl Kathleen took significant responsibility in keeping house and watching over her brothers. She also had a flair for theatrics and loved to imagine herself "center stage" - singing and dancing. As a teenager, she started a dancing school for other children. An aunt gave her a cello which Kathleen said transformed her life. She enjoyed playing in orchestras, traveled with them (and went to "All State" competitions). She also had a beautiful voice and was a classically trained singer. Shortly after the war, she met a young soldier, Norman Ryker, and their love and strong connection lasted their lifetimes. In 1947 they were married. Together, Norman and Kathleen had five children. They lived primarily in Southern California while Norm pursued his passion for space exploration, with key leadership positions at both North American on the Apollo Space Project and then later as President of Rocketdyne, in the space shuttle era. Kathleen supported Norm in his pursuits, and devoted herself to her passions - her family and making a loving home for them with meticulous attention. She was an exceptional homemaker with a keen ability to create a warm and inviting (and perfect) interior. She was also an extraordinary gardener - her gardens were filled with gorgeous plants and flowers - and widely admired. Throughout her life, Kathleen retained her love for music, and was hopeful that music could positively impact the lives of other children as it had for her. After over 30 years of marriage, Norm and Kathleen eventually divorced, but maintained a strong relationship. Norm preceded her in death; he passed away on May 7, 2006. After her passing Kathleen was radiant and peaceful. Kathleen's loving survivors include her brother, James Crawford, her five children and their spouses, Jeanne and Daniel Flores, Christina, Victoria Risley, Norman J. Ryker, III, and Jan Ryker, and Kathy Lynn (Katie Stewart) and Kim Stewart. She also is survived by nine grandchildren and their spouses: Christopher Flores (and wife Natasha), Adam Flores (and wife Viktoriya), Benjamin Ryker, Joshua Risley (and wife Jen), Steven Risley, Jeffrey Ryker, Jody Ryker, Sage Stewart, and Lily Stewart. She will be greatly missed. Services will be held on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at the Old North Church, Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. Donations may be directed to the Harmony Project, at Harmony-Project.org.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 3 to Dec. 4, 2015
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