Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — BEULAH — Willie “Billie” Elizabeth Ryan went to join the Lord and her husband on Feb. 28, 2013.
Billie was born third of 11 children in Marietta, Okla., to Toy “Bill” William and Lola Clara Beard on March 24, 1924.
Raised in Oklahoma, as a young woman she worked in Dallas; she was one of the Rosie the Riveters during World War II.
Billie met Arthur Ryan at a USO dance and they married Feb. 3, 1945. Daughter, Kay, was born in Detroit on Dec. 17, 1945; son, Michael, was born in Taft, Calif., on Oct. 30, 1948.
The family lived in Taft, where Art was a house painter and Billie a homemaker. They belonged to the “Tumbleweed Twirlers,” a square dance club. Billie would sew fancy western shirts for Art to match the beautiful square dance dresses she made.
The family moved to Beulah in 1957 to raise turkeys. After the turkey business Billie had various jobs but loved working at Stiles Greenhouse in Benzonia.
Billie loved to raise flowers and vegetables. Wherever she was she always had flowers and at the least tomato plants. She also loved crocheting, especially when it was an afghan for a new grandbaby or great-grandbaby.
She is survived by children, Kay Hammond, of Benzonia, and Michael (Deborah) Ryan, of Honor; grandchildren, Lori Hammond, Ken (Leah) Hammond, Terry (Heidi) Hammond, Kim (Dan) Schick, Jennifer (Eric VanDussen) Ryan, Christina (Josh) Stoltz and Jessica (Geoff) Turner; great-grandchildren, Carol (Joe) Ellis, Christopher, Taylor, Jacob, Wyatt and Lucas Hammond, Paul and Cameron Schick, Isaac Ryan-McKinnon and his dad, Philip McKinnon, Abigail and Jackson Hodge and their dad, Johnny Hodge; and siblings, Mary Bernice “Bunny” Wilson, Norweita(Wayne) Cook, Charles (Virgie) Beard and Kenneth (Pat) Beard.
She was preceded in death by parents; husband, Art; brothers, Halton Gene and Tony Willard; and sisters, Lois Mowery, Ann Nunez, Oleta Harris and Evelyn Rogers.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at the Jowett Family Funeral Homes, Benzonia, with Pastor Dan Ingersoll officiating. There will be a visitation one hour prior to the service. A luncheon will follow at the Eden Bible Church after the services. Burial will be in Champion Hill Cemetery in the spring.
Arrangements are by Jowett Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Service.