Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Ginna Ryan

June 9, 1942 - December 19, 2021
Kalamazoo, MI


Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, December 22, 2021
10:30 AM EST
St. Monica Church
4408 S. Westnedge Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49008

A reception will follow in the Life Story Center at the funeral home.

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

American Heart Association / American Stroke Association Memorial or Tribute Donation
PO Box 840692
Dallas, TX 75284-0692
(800) 242-8721
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Driven, selfless, and devoted to the family she loved, Ginna Ryan lived her life to the fullest. Known for her love of children, she held a special place in her heart for the countless students she taught during her twenty-four-year teaching career. Ginna modeled a strong work ethic and compassion for others. She leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her many special friends and family to cherish forever.

Ginna’s story began during a time that was marked by WWII. It was 1942 and families in the United States were experiencing a gas rationing of only three gallons a week and a new breed of movies with war themes were hatching. During the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Robert and Velma (Yeager) Lamey were pleased to announce the birth of their baby girl, Ginna, on June 9th, in Detroit, Michigan. Born the oldest of four children, her birth brought much joy and promise in an era of great change.

Growing up on the westside of Detroit, Ginna lived a typical childhood of the times. Her father was in charge of public housing in the growing metropolis of Detroit and her mother was a beautician. She and her siblings were raised with a strong foundation in the Catholic faith and attended Catholic Schools. During their growing years, they would often take the bus downtown to shop at Hudson’s and stop for lunch in the upper level of the department store as a treat. From an early age, Ginna was taught to always look her best. She stayed this way well into her later years always having the proper accessories and dressed like a princess. Her childhood was also spent on her grandparent’s farm in the Highgate area of Canada. They would travel there on weekends to pitch in and help with the general chores. Being the oldest often meant looking after her siblings.

Social and outgoing, Ginna was very involved with her school activities and met the love of her life at the tender age of fourteen. John Ryan was only sixteen at the time. Their first date was on the tennis court where they were easily a match for one another! Dating off and on, throughout her high school years, they enjoyed one another’s company. She graduated with the Class of 1960 from Immaculate High School where she excelled in her studies. She was a member of the National Honor Society which required community service and took fencing as an elective! Ginna was eager to study to become a teacher and set off for Marygrove College. She absolutely loved her time there and enjoyed having high tea with the other girls. On August 22, 1964, she and John married at St. Bridget Church in Detroit. John served in Germany during the Vietnam War. While they were in Germany, Ginna worked as a teacher on base and they enjoyed traveling on weekends. By 1973, they were thrilled to welcome home their daughter, Sarah.

As a mother, Ginna loved to spoil her daughter, Sarah. She made sure she was able to take ballet lessons, decorated her room with a canopy bed, and supported her trip to France with the French Club in high school. She and John wanted nothing but the best for her and gave her many opportunities to be well-rounded and cultured over the years. John kept active in her basketball when she was younger and Ginna especially enjoyed their mother-daughter trips to Chicago to see musicals and plays when she was older.

Ginna never took a single day for granted. She loved her work as a kindergarten teacher and was involved with the beginning of the Young Fives program in Comstock Public Schools. Ginna’s classroom was always decorated with the latest holiday trimmings and she loved sharing many stories of her kids over the years. Each student was always met right where they were at in their educational needs and she spent many hours preparing for lessons and special crafts she made with the kids. Her piano playing became a natural gift in her classroom where students were taught to sing nursery rhymes over the years.

Ginna kept her home immaculate and took great pride in her entertainment abilities. She loved to cook and bake ensuring that no one went home hungry on any of the family holidays! Her family savored her delicious lemon pies and tasty veal parmesan and fried chicken! Even her flower arrangements and table settings were straight out of a magazine! She never cut corners when it came to sharing a holiday or a special meal with her guests or family.

She loved being a grandmother. Ginna was the first to hold her first grandchild, David when he was born and was elated when Sarah married Matt and gained twins in the family! She loved teaching her grandkids to cook and taught them many tricks in the kitchen! Ginna’s heart was always full whenever her family was joined together. She never missed an opportunity to celebrate with them and looked forward to sharing in their many successes.

When it came to relaxation, Ginna enjoyed spending time doing the things she enjoyed. Cross-stitch, needlepoint, crochet, and knitting kept her busy. She especially loved knitting baby blankets. Ginna enjoyed visiting local casinos. She mostly stuck to the penny slots, but if she was feeling lucky, she’d switch over to the nickel slots. Win or lose, she was always up for a good time. She loved being with John. The two of them shared many special moments and enjoyed traveling together before he passed away in November of 2021. Described as the sweetest person, Ginna will be greatly missed. Her loving and nurturing ways were her greatest legacy. May her loved ones hold on to her special memories and allow them to warm their hearts during this special season of the year and for many years to come.

Ginna Ryan age 79, of Kalamazoo, MI, died Sunday, December 19, 2021, in Grand Rapids. She was an active member at St. Monica Church and of the teacher sorority, Alpha Delta Kappa. Ginna was preceded in death by her beloved husband, John, who died November 14, 2021. Surviving are her daughter, Sarah (Matt) Karsten; 3 grandchildren: twins, Jonathon and Alyssa, and David; 3 siblings: Robert (Barbara) Lamey, Linda Nash, and James (Laurie) Lamey and many nieces and nephews. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday (DEC 22) at 10:30 AM at St. Monica Church. A reception will follow at the funeral home in the Life Story Center. Cremation will take place and private burial at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Visit Ginna’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to American Heart Association. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900.