In Our Care

Donna Lee Ryan

07/01/1960 - 07/23/2022


Obituary For Donna Lee Ryan

Donna Ryan, 62, of West Roxbury, MA and Warren, RI, beloved sister, niece, cousin and friend, passed away peacefully at home with her family beside her on July 23, 2022 after many years of long illness. Donna was born in Southbridge, MA and raised in Sturbridge MA. She graduated from Tantasqua Regional High School, Class of '78 and graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, class of ,82, majoring in History where she excelled in classes like German Existentialism and the Origins and Natures of the Two World Wars. Donna went on to receive a graduate degree in Taxation from the University of Hartford--- and therein launched a successful career in accounting and finance, working at PWC and the Baupost Group. Donna was a beautiful soul. She was cheery, hopeful and deeply grateful for her family and friends. She was a careful listener, and spoke only when she had something to share and only when others had before her. And when she spoke, her thoughts were insightful and profound and expansive. She welcomed all to her lovely summer home by the sea in Warren, RI which was truly a manifestation of her joie de vivre. She filled it with flowers and bright, happy colors and furnishings infused with joy. Her porch was her happy place as it looked out to a rolling field and the lovely waters of Mount Hope Bay. She would sit there serenely for hours, solitary, but not lonely. She was happily accompanied by nature; a family of deer, the bucks, stags and doe, the wren and robins' nests with their attentive parents and their growing brood, always hungry and amusing to Donna. She was a talented chef with a sophisticated palate, she took great pleasure in hosting elaborate and delicious dinner parties imbued with laughter and friendship. She enjoyed reading new cookbooks and experimenting with exotic foods and spices while planning the next opportunity to share with friends and family. She loved to read, discuss and share books. A true intellectual, Donna thought deeply and cared for the undeserved in our community. She privately and generously supported her favored charities that cared for those experiencing homelessness and that mentored children and young adults facing challenges. She was very interested in learning about helping people who had suffered in life as she had felt so fortunate. She adored the holidays---decorating her house, getting the perfect gift for others, and sending gingerbread houses to her family and friends. She shared her spirit and love of life throughout the years. Every holiday, gathering of friends, or family lobster feast by the water was her special time to share with those she held so close. Donna's deep faith, strength and courage over her difficult health battle inspired those around her. She rarely complained, and apologized when she did. She was careful not to impose or burden others with her tribulations, although many were eager to be there for her. She kept her concerns and worries to herself and chose to see the positive in her health and in others. She nurtured lifelong friendships, remembering and celebrating special dates and always praising and supporting her circle of family and friends. She would say "she had the very best number 1 supercalifraglilistic friends." She shared her love of life with everyone she touched. Donna is survived by her devoted brother John P. Ryan and his wife Beth of Swansea, MA, her uncle Dr. Barry P. Ryan and his wife Patricia Ryan of Decatur, GA, aunts Michele Ryan and Sarah Pattison, cousins Kate Ryan, Seamus Ryan and Kim Winchester. She is predeceased by her parents, Carolyn (Young) Ryan and William H. Ryan. A private celebration of Donna's beautiful life will be held by her family. If you would like to make a donation in Donna's honor, please consider Dana Farber or Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

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  • 09/09/2022

    So hard to lose someone so wonderful. She was a kind soul who will be dearly missed. My deepest condolences to the Ryan family. Kristin Mumford, HC 1982

  • 09/02/2022

    RIP Donna. I lived with her our Freshman year on Wheeler 2. She was always so nice and pleasant. God's love and mercy to her family, and may her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen - Owen Keenan '82

  • 09/01/2022

    This obituary captures her perfectly! She was one of the smartest people I knew. May she rest comfortably in god's loving embrace..

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