Obituary: Claudia Ryan passes at 99

Cayman Brac’s Claudia Louise Ryan passed away on April 4 surrounded by family at Faith Hospital. She was 99. Family remembered her for her dedication and generosity to the church.

Claudia Ryan, 99, passed away April 4.
Claudia Ryan, 99, passed away April 4.

Mrs. Ryan was born on Little Cayman on July 29, 1917. In 1938, she married James A. Ryan of Cayman Brac and moved to the larger island to join her new husband.

She and her husband had six children, all of whom were born in the Sister Islands. James A. Ryan, a nominated member of the Legislative Assembly, realtor and lawyer, passed away in 2007.

Two of the Ryan sons, Bennett and James, served as district commissioners for the Sister Islands, with James later going on to serve as chief secretary, the post now known as deputy governor.

“She was always very involved in the church,” at the Little Cayman Baptist Church and then, beginning in 1938, at the Stake Bay Baptist Church on the Brac, son James said.

Mrs. Ryan purchased the land several years ago for the new sanctuary at the Stake Bay church and donated the land to the church. “She was afraid she wouldn’t get to see the new church finished,” James Ryan said. But she did live to see the new sanctuary completed and had the opportunity to worship there, he said.

She also donated land for a parsonage to the Little Cayman Baptist Church.
James Ryan remembered a story his mother told him about her and her best friend Sadie sailing a catboat to Owen Island, off Little Cayman. “Sadie said my mother was always the captain of the boat,” he said.

He said the catboat experience came in handy when his father sailed catboats between the Brac and Little Cayman. “In the old days, it was quite a trek,” taking several hours to go from the Brac to the settlement on the far side of Little Cayman, Mr. Ryan said, which was how they traveled between the islands until his father built himself a cabin cruiser in 1950.

Mrs. Ryan’s brother was the late Capt. Theo R. Bodden, owner of Home Gas, Vampt Motors, Cayman Economy Cars and other companies.

Mrs. Ryan is survived by two sons and a daughter. Funeral services will be held at the Stake Bay Baptist Church on the Brac at 3 p.m., Saturday, April 16.