Joanne Ryan Perry, granddaughter of Arizona pioneers, passed away in Houston, Texas on November 3, 2023. Joanne, daughter of William A. and Edith Watkins Ryan, was born August 7, 1930 in Phoenix. A graduate of Phoenix Union High School, Phoenix College, and Arizona State University; she taught at Washington Elementary School in Phoenix for thirty-five years.
Joanne was the baby of her family joining brothers Bill, Ed, Emmett and Kenneth and sisters Edith May and Alice. Joanne’s growing up years were spent with the family’s sheep operation. During the winter months she visited the sheep camps in the East Valley and remembered helping drive the sheep between pastures. Summer moved the sheep to the mountains and Joanne spent summers in the White Mountains and the Mogollon Rim. She enjoyed riding horseback with her sister Alice and her Dad.
Will sold the sheep outfit and went in the Cattle business. When he purchased the Box Bar on the Verde River, Joanne would come to the ranch to help her mom with her large garden and help her cook. She rode horseback there often and crossed the Verde River horseback many times while helping gather cattle.
Joanne discovered a love of travel. In her early years of teaching, she had the entire summer off. One year Joanne went to summer school in Hawaii and another summer she traveled through Europe with two fellow teachers. Her trip concluded with visiting relatives in Ireland.
Joanne married Don Perry, a Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff, in 1976. They were active in the Elk’s Club and belonged to the American Legion. They traveled to BPOE functions around the U.S. as well as trips to Hawaii and Ireland. Joanne was a member of the Irish Cultural Center and The First Families of Arizona. She lived in Arizona ninety-one years before health issues moved her to Houston.
She was a much-loved Aunt and will be greatly missed by her nieces and nephews. Her husband preceded her as did her siblings.
A visitation will be held Friday, November 17, 2023 from 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home followed by a funeral procession to St. Francis Cemetery for a graveside service.