In Memoriam: Kathy Ryan, Snoqualmie Valley’s Favorite Lunch Lady

[Written by Jenny Mae Lowe]

Kathryn (Kathy) Ellen Ryan:But the fruit of the Spirit is love joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” ~ Galatians 5:22-23

My Mom – and the Snoqualmie Valley School District’s favorite lunch lady – Kathy Ryan, passed away January 7th, 2018 at her home in Riverbend. She was 63. Mom was born to Rosalie Mae and Robert Eugene Sporrer on July 2, 1954 in Pontiac, Illinois until she left home in the early 1970’s.

She was a hippie and a free spirit. In September of 1974 at a Fiddler’s Festival in Weiser, Idaho she met the man she was going to marry, my Dad, Gary Ryan. Mom was traveling with a girlfriend and was supposed to meet another man, but before that could happen – and as fate would have it –  she met my dad. It only took a short time together and they fell in love.

My parents both liked to tell the same story from early in their relationship. My dad invited mom to his place so she cook them dinner… the chicken was golden and crispy and looked amazing, but when my dad cut into the chicken,  it was bloody and runny. Apparently mom didn’t know she needed to cook the chicken in the oven after she browned it.

Just over a year after meeting, they married in simple ceremony with friends on December 4, 1975. When Dad landed a job with the Department of Natural Resources, they relocated to Snoqualmie and eventually bought their home in North Bend’s Riverbend neighborhood.

They started our family there, having me Jennifer (Jenny) and my brother Jake. In the late 70’s Mom started using her amazing cooking skills to make herself known in the Snoqualmie Valley. Her turkey gravy is legendary all over the valley. She cooked at the Mar-T Cafe, for the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Dietary Department and then she found her niche,
feeding the future at the Snoqualmie Valley School District.

In 1988, she started as a one-hour dishwasher and worked her way up to kitchen manager. Everyone one loved Mom, she was their favorite lunch lady. She returned the love for her job, the kids and the staff. She was a passionate union worker and dedicated much of her time to the Public-School Employees Union serving as the Vice President, fighting hard for benefits for the classified employees – especially this last year.

2018 marked 30 years of service with SVSD. The school District, kids and staff were such a huge part of her life and she looked forward to two more wonderful years serving the kids before retiring.

During her SVSD career she took special care of the teachers. They loved her because she would make them gourmet salads for lunch. I was told when she changed schools, the teachers of the school that she left were sad – and jealous – of her new school because as a cook, she took such special care of the staff.

My mom lived life to the fullest until the end. She spent time with her 12 adored grandchildren: playing games, going to the park, making crafts or simply pushing them on the swing in her backyard. Always a help to people, she loved singing and playing guitar at the nursing home or at church especially with the Sunday school kids. Tuesdays were reserved for craft classes with the children in her community and neighborhood. Friends with everyone, she loved to do crafts, made homemade cards, and cook for the homeless. She played bunco, cards and visited the beach with lots of friends and family.

Mom was a true servant to God and loved everyone, no matter where you were in life. She never judged and was always a good listener to those who needed an ear. She was truly an angel on earth.

In short, my mom was amazing. Whenever I would tell her I was upset about something, she would point to a favorite scripture – Philippians 4:8 – and ask me,  “Is it true. Is it noble. Is it right. Is it pure?”

Kathy is survived by her loving husband of 42 years Gary Ryan, Daughter Jennifer (Colby) Lowe, Son Jake Ryan, Step-Daughter Cora (Barry) Denton and Abby their 4-legged Daughter. Grandchildren: Devin, Delanie, Riley, Meghan, Logan, Alexis, Kassidy, Savannah, Kayden, Colton, Craig and Otto. Sisters: Mary Anne (Gene) Halverson, Nancy (Jim) McCormack, and Susie (Ronnie) Studebaker She has lots of nieces and nephews especially Ja’Niece.

Preceded in Death by her parents: Rosalie Mae Sporrer and Robert Eugene Sporrer and brothers: Bob and John.

Kathy’s Celebration of life will be held at Cascade Covenant Church January 27th, 2018 at 2pm. She loved Tuesday tie-dye day at school and orange. Wear a tie-dye or orange shirt to her celebration if you would like!! ❤️ If you would like to make a donation, help or If you have any questions call 425-677- 4508. Her fellow lunch ladies will be catering and her Bunco pals will have a dessert table.

Cascade Covenant Church is located at 13225 436th Ave SE North Bend, WA 98045.

In Lieu of flowers, remembrances can be sent to Snoqualmie Valley Winter Shelter, Mt. Si Senior Center, Comfort Zone Camp for Children or Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

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  • Thanks for sharing this. She sounds like an amazing, loving, complete, full person.
    Our condolences for your loss.

  • So sorry to hear about the passing of Kathy. She loved kids and her co-workers. She always seemed to have smile for everyone.

  • Living Snoqualmie