Letitia (Tish) Kathryn Hays Ryan was born on a farm outside of Monroe City, Missouri to Ural Ambrose Hays and Mary Myrtle Calhoun Hays on July 31, 1927. She had three older sisters: Erma (Krueger), Rose, and Louise (Carpenter) and one older brother, James.
Growing up, she learned to enjoy hard work by helping her father out on the farm hoeing, pulling weeds, driving the tractor and getting the fields ready for planting. After the Depression, the family moved into town where Tish joined the choir at Holy Rosary School. She loved to sing and had an opportunity to sing on the radio in Hannibal. She also enjoyed playing the part of Yum Yum in The Mikado in a school musical. When she graduated from High School in 1944, Tish joined her sister Rose in Washington, DC where she worked as a clerk in the War Department. She loved living in DC and credited her experiences there with being a lifelong Democrat.
After the war, Tish married Leland Ryan of Hannibal, Missouri on May 1, 1947, and they moved to Northern California to be near her sister Rose. They had nine children in a span of 16 years.
In 1972 Tish left California as a single parent with her 5 youngest children and moved to Middleton, Idaho. She worked at Sears in Caldwell in Customer Service and fought her way to become the first woman on the appliance sales floor where she was very successful. In 1978 she moved to Moscow, Idaho and became the Sears Appliance Sales Manager. She later traveled the state of Idaho as the Director of Ministerial Development for the Catholic Diocese. In 1990 Tish was the Office Manager at Common Ministry on the Washington State University campus. In 1997 she was named “WSU Woman of Distinction”. Tish finally retired in 1997 and moved to Boise to be closer to her family. During her retirement, she also attended many retreats at St. Gertrude’s Monastery and Ascension Priory, where she was a member as a Benedictine Oblate. Her last volunteer service was at Corpus Christi House in Boise preparing lunch once a week for the homeless.
Tish credited her father with imparting his values of the importance of sharing with others, which she carried throughout her entire life by volunteering at homeless shelters, preparing meals for the infirm and elderly, setting up local ministries for divorced and separated Catholics, working as a hospice volunteer, and running retreats for men and women with AIDS in Idaho. When her sons Mark and Tim became terminally ill at the same time, she nursed and comforted them and then went on to help others.
Tish passed away at the age of 94 on January 16, 2022 in Boise, Idaho. She is preceded in death by her sons Mark in 1986 and Tim in 1989. She is survived by seven children including David (Kelly), Cindy Cornell, Valerie, Deidre (Douglas) Luft, Terry (Anna), Jennifer (Greg) Oster, and Richard (Flo), 16 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and one great, great grandchild. She also leaves behind her large and beloved Hays family in Missouri.
The family is very grateful to her loving and hardworking caregivers Carla, Brandy, Zak, Zach and Widya of The Cottages of Boise. We also give a heartfelt thanks to Horizon Hospice staff and volunteers, and Angie Purcell for bringing her weekly communion. Tish would be perturbed if anyone paid good money for remembrance flowers, so please make any donations to St. Gertrude’s Monastery, Ascension Priory, or Corpus Christi House. A memorial service will be held later this year.
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