Martha Ryan, 1936-2019

Published 1:00 am Saturday, November 30, 2019

A celebration of life for Martha Ryan, 83, of Albert Lea will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Grace Lutheran Church,918 Garfield Ave. in Albert Lea. The Rev. Jennifer Gonsalves will officiate. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church Monday. Online condolences are welcome at

Martha Ryan

Martha Jean Ryan passed away safely and peacefully into the arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, surrounded by her loving family.

Martha was born Nov. 5, 1936, to George and Winnie (Davis) Clearwater in Des Moines. She graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1955 and worked at Equitable Insurance Co. in downtown Des Moines as a secretary in the medical records department before her marriage to Luverne Ryan on Nov. 4, 1956, at The Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa, and then moved to Albert Lea.

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Martha and Lu created a wonderful, loving family. She was a devoted mother to her three children: Michael, Daniel and Suzanne. In later years she worked at the Albert Lea Children’s Center until her retirement.

Throughout Martha’s life she enjoyed using her God-given gifts and talents in many ways. In high school she was a valued member of the concert choir and a favored student helper to her home economics teacher, often being asked to assist other students with their sewing projects. She was very active in her home church, First Federated in Des Moines. She sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and vacation Bible school and participated in numerous Christian youth activities, including Youth for Christ and singing in the choir for a Billy Graham event.

In addition to singing, Martha enjoyed many talents. As a young child, she took private dance and piano lessons. On several occasions she sang and danced to entertain veterans groups during World War II. One of her songs was “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.” Her darling costumes were made by her loving mother.

Martha was an outstanding hostess and homemaker. Her home was warm and welcoming as well as beautifully decorated, due to her creative and amazing attention to detail and excellent taste.

Martha was a dedicated Prayer Warrior. Her love for her Savior was put into action in many ways, prayer being extremely important. If someone needed prayer, call Martha. She prayed, she remembered and she kept in contact with those on her growing prayer list.

Martha was gentle, kind, inspiring, encouraging and faithful; a hero, protector, teacher, great example, mother, grandmother, “grammie,” sister and best friend; and so very loved by her family.

Martha is survived by her loving family: sons Mike (Debby) and Dan; daughter, Sue (Steve) Andersen; grandchildren Nikki (Brandon) Prihoda, Tony, Brittany (Justin) Lorenz, Christian Andersen and Gracelyn Andersen; great-grandchildren Madison Prihoda, Emma Prihoda and Josie Lorenz; sister, Mary Clearwater; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends and former co- workers.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Georgeanne; and husband, Lu.

Martha’s family would like to express their thanks and heartfelt gratitude to the doctors and nurses at Mayo Clinic, St. Mary’s Hospital and the staff at Good Samaritan Society Hidden Creek for their kind, loving and excellent care given to Martha during these past several months.

May God richly bless you as you remember Martha’s remarkable and truly blessed life. Her life verse was Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusts in Thee.” Martha trusted Jesus.

Memorials are preferred to the Ronald McDonald House.