Helen F. Ryan

July 25, 1919 ~ November 27, 2011 (age 92) 92 Years Old

Helen Ryan Obituary

Helen F. (Judge) Ryan of Needham and Brewster died peacefully on November 27, 2011. She was 92 years old. Born on July 25, 1919, she was the third child of the late Thomas and Nora (Shinnick) Judge of Brockton.

Beloved wife of John J. "Bud" Ryan, Helen and Bud celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on May 11, 2011. Their marriage was a love story filled with the joys of a large family and an extensive network of friends. Helen was the devoted mother of Mary Pat Joy and her husband William of Wellesley, Elinor Devlin of Needham, John Ryan, Jr. and his wife Barbara of Sudbury, Thomas Ryan and his wife Patricia of Holden, Maureen Guerry and her husband Pemberton of Signal Mountain, TN., Susan O'Toole and her husband Preston of Walpole, Christine McCarthy and her husband Sean of Southborough, and the late Jean F. Ryan. She was the loving grandmother of 17 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Helen was the adored sister of Mary Barrett of Centerville, David Judge of Pocasset, Robert Judge of Florida, and the late Thomas Judge and Walter Judge. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Helen graduated from Brockton High School, Class of 1936 and matriculated at Bridgewater State Teachers College. She was a loyal member of the Class of 1940 and the Bridgewater State University Alumni Association. Prior to marrying Bud, she taught for six years in the Easton and Brockton Public Schools.

A resident of Needham for 58 years and of Brewster for 60 years, Helen was an active volunteer in church, school, and community organizations. She was a daily communicant at St. Joseph Church. In the 1960s and 1970s she was President of the St. Joseph Church Women's Club and Prefect of the St. Joseph Church Sodality. Helen was a Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troop leader for all her children, active in Needham Parent Teacher Associations, a volunteer with the Glover Memorial Hospital Guild and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center Holiday Home Tour Committee, and a member of the Brewster Ladies' Library Association. With her husband Bud, she was a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre and a generous benefactor of the Blessed John XXIII National Seminary.

Helen was involved in John F. Kennedy's senatorial and presidential campaigns, hosting one of the famous Kennedy Tea Parties in her home. Following the death of President Kennedy, Helen's dining room became a regional communication center for Jacqueline Kennedy. Helen organized a corps of volunteers who, day and night, read and filed thousands of letters of condolence from around the world to Mrs. Kennedy, and then hand-addressed Mrs. Kennedy's cards of gratitude to each writer.

With her family Helen was engaged in sports, the out-of-doors, and travel. She played tennis for many years at the Babson and Brewster tennis clubs and enjoyed walking, gardening, skiing, writing, history, and trips to Ireland to visit her father's family in Killargue, County Leitram.

In her later years, Helen worked alongside her husband at the John J. Ryan Insurance Agency in Brighton. She was a much loved, gracious lady who loved to laugh. She will be missed by many.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, December 3 at 10 am at St. Joseph Church, 1360 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA 02492. Interment will be held at Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline. Visiting hours will be held Friday, December 2 from 3-6 pm at Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA 02492. Expressions of sympathy in Helen's memory may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 220 North Main Street, Suite 104, Natick, MA 01760.

  • Visitation

    December 02, 2011
    3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

    Eaton Funeral Home

    1351 Highland Ave
    Needham, MA

  • Funeral Mass

    December 03, 2011
    10:00 AM

    St. Joseph's Church

    1360 Highland Ave.
    Needham, MA

  • Interment

    December 03, 2011
    11:30 AM

    Holyhood Cemetery

    Brookline, MA

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