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Martha Jane Ryan
Birth: Apr. 3, 1945
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: May 8, 2004
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA

Martha was the daughter of Walter A. and Adele L. (Patterson) Ryan. She had two sisters: Sheila R. and Ann L. Martha's grew up in a in a middle class working family. Throughout her life my aunt fought back against mental illness. When she was in elementary school the principal spoke with her parents. Teachers at school were seeing abnormalities in her behavior. It was recommended that she see a psychologist to be evaluated. My grandparents wanted no part of that. They felt Martha was fine. This was during the 1950s in which many people looked down upon the mentally ill. When she approached adolescence Martha began having severe panic and anxiety attacks. This was a precursor to a severe and chronic mental illness. In 1968 she was married at St. John the Baptist church in Haverhill to Patrick Meredith. By all accounts in the beginning her marriage went well. One night in early 1969 when she was about 9 months pregnant with her first child her husband physically attacked her causing her to loose the baby. She named the baby Matthew Jude. At the time the Beatles had a popular song out called "Hey Jude". In the years after she lost Matthew she had three other children; Catherine S., Michael P. and Luke R. By the time her children were born my aunt's drinking was out of control. One of the reasons why she drank was to self medicate herself. Her husband's way of dealing with my aunt's mental illness and alcoholism was to physically abuse her. Dragging her by the hair, breaking her nose and jaw. Growing up I remember seeing my aunt with black eyes. During one separation in 1973 she went out on a so called "date" with her husband. When he brought her back to her mother's house he dumped her out in the gutter like a bag of trash in a rain storm. My aunt always went back to him because she felt that she couldn't do any better. Also, because she was very dependent on him. Finally in 1977 Martha had enough of his abuse. During Easter dinner my aunt said that she was leaving her husband for good. Years later my mother told me that she was so proud of Martha for having the strength to leave him once and for all. Unfortunately for Martha her illness got even worse upon leaving him. She spent the late 1970s and 1980s in and out of Danvers's State Hospital. Eventually she got better taking her meds. Martha stopped taking medication because she felt like she didn't need it. Throughout the 90's she was very sick again with her illness. By 1997 she was back on her meds and doing well. For me it was like finding a long lost aunt. Some people looked down upon Martha because of her illness. Martha refused to let them get to her. She saw them for what they were; ignorant and cold hearted people. My aunt had lived with her mother for a number of years. Several years before she died Martha was able to get her own apartment. She had some ups and downs. Despite everything she functioned fairly well with a little assistance. She was one of the strongest people in my family to endure and survive all that she had been through. Living with someone who is mentally ill and an alcoholic can indeed be a challenge. Her ex husband was a wimp to beat her. If things were that bad he simply should've left her. Had this happened today he would've been prosecuted in a court of law. In May of 2004 one of the nurses who gave Martha her meds found her on the floor of her apartment dead. She died of what is believed to have been an apparent heart attack and ruptured blood vessel in her lung. My aunt was one of the nicest people around. Very intelligent and determined to do well. Martha had been planning on becoming an advocate for the mentally ill. However, despite everything she was still somewhat symptomatic of her illness at times. At times life was a struggle for her. She fought hard to deal with the demons from her past. My family is grateful that she's finally at peace after having battled mental illness for most of her life. I wrote this because I want my aunt to be remembered. Also, my hope in writing this is that people who are mentally ill and/or victims of spousal abuse will read it and realize that there is hope to get better and to get away from their abuser.

Family links: 
  Walter Austin Ryan (1913 - 1966)
  Adele Louise Patterson Ryan, LPN (1914 - 1999)
  Matthew Jude Meredith (1969 - 1969)*
  Sheila Ruth Ryan Hatch (1939 - 2012)*
  Martha Jane Ryan (1945 - 2004)
*Calculated relationship
Note: Martha was cremated. Her ashes were given to her daughter. However, it wasn't until the summer of 2013 that they were spread over her parents and son Matthew's grave.
Riverview Cemetery
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA
Created by: Pete
Record added: Jun 25, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11235796
Martha Jane Ryan
Added by: Pete
Martha Jane Ryan
Added by: Pete
Martha Jane Ryan
Added by: Pete
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God bless. RIP
- nag
 Added: Jul. 18, 2016

- Cheryll Cotten
 Added: Jul. 10, 2016

- Virgil & DeAnna Hancock-Cooley
 Added: Jul. 6, 2016
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