Donna M. (Little) Ryan

March 26, 2021

Donna M. (Little) Ryan

 Donna M. (Little) Ryan – of Woburn, Friday, March 26th. Beloved wife of the late Donald F. Ryan. Devoted mother of Kevin Ryan and his wife Susan of FL, Denise Rafferty and her husband Tom of Woburn, Tina Peary and her husband Ed of Woburn, Daniel Ryan and his wife Patti of Lowell and Michael Ryan and his wife Melissa of Maynard. Dear sister of Gerald Little, George Little, Cynthia Mackenzie and the late William Little. Loving grandmother of nine grandchildren: Emma and Julia Ryan, Donna Gamble, Ryan and Thomas Rafferty, Eric, Shayne, Dennis and Scott Peary.  Adored great-grandmother of three: Christopher and Benjamin Gamble and Madeline Rafferty. Relatives and friends are invited to Donna’s Funeral Mass, Wednesday, April 7th at 10 a.m., in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn. Interment will follow in Woodbrook Cemetery. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, close family and friends are invited to briefly pay their respects on Tuesday, April 6th, from 3-6 p.m., in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main St., Woburn. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Donna’s memory to St. Judes Children’s Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.

Donna M. (Little) Ryan – a longtime resident of Woburn, died peacefully, at the age of eight-seven, Friday, March 26th. The beloved wife of 56 years to the late Donald F. Ryan.

Born in Boston and raised in Weymouth, Donna was the oldest daughter of the late Albert and Ruth (Leighton) Little. After graduating High School, Donna went on to study nursing at Boston Children’s Hospital.  She became a Registered Nurse and worked for over 30 years as a nursing supervisor at Woburn Nursing Center. Donna was a dedicated and caring nurse who loved her job and helping others. Throughout her schooling and work, Donna made many life-long friendships. 

While working as a student nurse for McLean Hospital, Donna met her future husband, Donald.  Donna and Don loved each other immensely. Married for more than 50 years, they made a loving home in the Central Square section of Woburn.  There they raised five children and created a home of warmth and memories. Donna was a loving mother who always made time to talk to her children and grandchildren. She was always a willing listener and gave good advice.  

Donna and Don enjoyed the quiet moments, spending many mornings reading the newspaper and drinking coffee together. Donna and Don were devout Catholics and attended Mass regularly. They also had a “date night” every Saturday night, where they enjoyed dinner and dancing.   Donna and Don also enjoyed listening to the Boston Pops.  They attended many concerts together. Donna’s stereo was often playing some of her favorites.  Each year they traveled to Sanibel Island in Florida to celebrate their anniversary.  

As a family, the Ryans also enjoyed many family vacations to Disney World, Hampton Beach, and Motorhome trips along the East Coast. Donna loved nothing more than to have all of her family together for a vacation, dinner, holiday or celebration.  Donna was always proud to celebrate the accomplishments, big and small, of each of her family members.  She traveled everywhere with her camera. Donna documented every family event with photographs and always shared copies.  Her photo albums were one of her most prized possessions.

Donna was a talented and creative seamstress and loved sewing and crafting for her family. When her children were young, Donna designed unique matching outfits for all of her five children.  Later, she enjoyed making handmade outfits and accessories for her dogs. Some of Donna’s handmade pieces are still in the family.  Donna also enjoyed creating crafts for her children and grandchildren.  The treasures she made for her family will be loved for years to come.

Once retired, Donna enjoyed spending her new found free time crafting, walking her dog, and having lunch with friends.  Donna loved her dogs and could often be seen walking them around town.  Her retirement dogs, Molly and Sophie, kept her happily entertained.  She also enjoyed going to the movies to see the newest release with Don, her children, or her grandchildren.  Later, she also enjoyed watching a great movie at home. In her retirement, she became an avid sports fan, attending her grandchildren’s various sporting events.  She was always proudly cheering from the stands.  

Donna was the backbone of her family.  She enjoyed any reason to gather her family.  She was happiest when her family was all together.  She will always be loved and she will be greatly missed. 

Devoted mother of Kevin Ryan and his wife Susan of St. Cloud, FL, Denise Rafferty and her husband Tom of Woburn, Tina Peary and her husband Ed of Woburn, Daniel Ryan and his wife Patti of Lowell and Michael Ryan and his wife Melissa of Maynard. Dear sister of Gerald Little, George Little, Cynthia MacKenzie and the late William Little. Loving grandmother of nine grandchildren: Emma and Julia Ryan, Donna Gamble, Ryan and Thomas Rafferty, Eric, Shayne, Dennis and Scott Peary.  Adored great-grandmother of three: Christopher and Benjamin Gamble and Madeline Rafferty. 

Relatives and friends are invited to Donna’s Funeral Mass, Wednesday, April 7th at 10 a.m., in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn.  Interment will follow in Woodbrook Cemetery. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, close family and friends are invited to briefly pay their respects on Tuesday, April 6th, from 3-6 p.m., in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main St., Woburn.  All attending are asked to enter through the front door of the Funeral Home and exit through the back door. Masks MUST be worn at all times, along with strict adherence to social distancing. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Donna’s memory to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.

 

Relatives and friends are invited to Donna’s Funeral Mass, Wednesday, April 7th at 10 a.m., in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn. Interment will follow in Woodbrook Cemetery. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, close family and friends are invited to briefly pay their respects on Tuesday, April 6th, from 3-6 p.m., in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main St., Woburn. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Donna’s memory to St. Judes Children’s Hospital, 501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.

Guestbook

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  1. Mary Ellen McAvoy

    To the Ryan Family, I am sorry for your loss. Mrs. Ryan was always kind and loved her children and grandchildren.

  2. Barbara Whitcomb

    To the Ryan family
    Your mom was a sweet,kind lady. I am sorry for your loss.

    Love
    Barb

  3. So sorry for your loss! She was a wonderful woman and I remember her well from 30 plus years ago . Always a pleasure to talk with.

  4. Tina my sincerest sympathy to you and your entire family. May the good lord welcome her with open arms.🙏❤️

  5. Fuzz / Jane and kids

    To the Ryan’s sorry for your loss. Mrs Ryan was a true lady. Now she is with her bummer to test in peace.

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