August 27, 1926 – September 16, 2020
FAIRFIELD: Margaret Ryan passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, at the age of 94.
Margaret was born in her family’s home in Fairfield on August 27, 1926. Her parents, Philip G. Ryan, Gladys M. Ryan, and sister Barbara lived in Fairfield on the farm originally purchased by her grandfather and grandmother, J.D. Ryan and Margaret Sloan Ryan in the year 1917. The farm was adjacent to the original homestead settled by her great-grandfather and great-grandmother James Ryan and Bridget Brennan Ryan in the mid 1850’s shortly after emigrating from Ireland in approximately the year 1848. These farms remained in the Ryan family for four generations as Margaret owned and lived on these farms by herself until her passing.
Margaret graduated from the University of Vermont in 1948, majoring in Chemistry and Mathematics. This educational foundation led her to a four-decade career at the Bishop DeGoesbriand Hospital (now UVM Medical Center) in the Medical Records Department. During part of her career she spent her work weeks living in the city of Burlington but headed to Fairfield every Friday night to the Ryan Family Farm. She certainly considered herself a lifelong resident of Fairfield and the time spent living in Burlington to be less than ideal. Margaret spent several years as a Lister for the Town of Fairfield which was a tough job that didn’t make everyone happy, but she did it in a direct and fair manner.
Margaret didn’t like to wander far from home, but she enjoyed the fun and experiences she had on her two trips abroad, to Paris, which provided her the opportunity to enjoy champagne on the River Seine and the magical and mystical land of her ancestors in Ireland.
Like most Vermont farmers, Margaret had a true love of the land and farming. She hayed, cut wood, raised horses and Angus beef cattle, and of course, produced maple syrup. Her sugarhouse was a classic. It could be found one half mile into the woods. It had no electricity, a wood fired rig and she was still collecting sap using buckets. Margaret, alongside her nephew Damian Branon Sr. and his children, worked hard every day to keep her farm operating smoothly and taking care of her homestead. Margaret was the definition of a strong-willed, independent and hardworking farmer.
Margaret remained single her entire life. She is survived by her nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews from her sister, Barbara Ryan Branon and husband, Charles Branon.
Margaret is predeceased by her sister, Barbara and Barbara’s husband Charles Branon, and their children Jamie, Rick and Barbie. Margaret is also predeceased by a very special great-nephew of hers, Ryan Branon, who was a big part her life.
Margaret is survived by her cousins and their children on the Ryan side, descendants of Leo and Veronica Ryan and Margaret’s uncle and aunt, who predeceased her as well.
Margaret loved Fairfield and St. Patrick’s Church. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a sharp Irish wit. She enjoyed hearing a good joke and was well known for telling a few good ones herself. She lived her life her way and enriched the lives of those who were lucky enough to spend time with her. Margaret left us in peace and dignity, much the way she lived her life. We are sure that the angels were waiting in Heaven with open arms to greet her and welcome her home.
A wake will be held on Friday, September 25, 2020, from 5:00-8:00 P.M., at Heald Funeral Home, 87 South Main St. St. Albans, Vermont 05478.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at 11:00 A.M., at St. Patrick’s Church in Fairfield.
Capacity limitations and COVID-19 guidelines will be followed at the funeral home and church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Margaret’s name to St. Patrick’s Cemetery Association, c/o Aaron Reynolds, Treasurer, 24 Old Quarry Road, St. Albans, Vermont 05478.
To send Margaret’s family a message of condolence or share a memory, kindly go to her online guest book at www.healdfuneralhome.com.