Novelist Nan Ryan died peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday March 14, 2017, surrounded by her family.
She was born in Graham on Aug. 11, 1936, to Glen Henderson and Roxy Bost. Her father was a rancher postmaster in Bryson. She was educated at Abilene Christian College.
She held many jobs in Dallas including announcing arrivals and departures for Trailways Bus Co., and selling real estate for Virginia Cook.
She met and married Joe Ryan, of Commerce, in 1964. The ceremony was performed by County Clerk Tom Ellis, Joe's old company commander.
In 1981, while at the Safeway check-out in Del Mar, a headline caught her eye on the cover of Newsweek: “From the Bedroom to the Boardroom,” a tale of how housewives were making tens of thousands of dollars writing erotic romances. She broke out the family Remington and hacked away, sold her second novel and was off and running.
But her career and her life were changed when Aaron Priest (The Bridges of Madison County) accepted her in to his powerful representation in 1986. A USA Today best-seller, she also enjoyed critical success: 'Incomparable', said the Literary Guild. She was a sent on tour by PEN, and enjoyed her writer friendships and annual Romantic Times and ABA conventions.
She had been a supporter and contributor to the Shriner's Children Hospital and Juvenile Diabetes since the 1980s. An avid sports handicapper, she won several USA Today Breeder's Cup awards, and in October 1978, at Del Mar, she hit an eight-horse show parlay. As she approached the cages, the tellers called out “Who do you like?” With Willy Shoemaker coming out of the pack on El Fantastico to take third, she completed it. Tried again for the rest of her life, but could not duplicate it.
She is survived by her devoted husband of 53 years, Joe Ryan; niece, Helen Clayton and husband, Ken; nephew, Howard Hull and wife, Susan; niece, Jennifer Johnas; nephew, David Johnas; uncle, Bob Bost; and numerous dear great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins.
The Ryan, Clayton and Hull families would like to express their thanks for the innumerable acts of love shown us during Nan’s illness.
God bless Nurse Angela and Nurse Jessica of Garden Terrace, who kept Nan out of pain.
Nan was blessed and enjoyed her life. Graveside services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Cottonwood Cemetery in Bryson, under the direction of McMillan-Satterwhite Funeral Home.
Contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.