Cover photo for Harriet Smith Ryan's Obituary
Harriet Smith Ryan Profile Photo
1943 Harriet 2020

Harriet Smith Ryan

July 9, 1943 — April 25, 2020

The world sadly lost two beautiful souls but gained two guardian angels who are looking down on all of us who loved them.  On April 24, 2020, James Francis “Jim” Ryan, 80, unexpectedly passed away peacefully of a heart attack at home and on April 25, 2020, Harriet Smith “Hennie” Ryan, 76, also passed away after suffering a heart attack after being taken to the hospital.  The family is shaken by this sudden loss but takes comfort in knowing they are together as there is no doubt that they loved each other more than anything and also in knowing how much people cared about this special couple.

Hennie was born on July 9, 1943, to Austin J. Smith and Elizabeth Glasscock Smith in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She completed High School at Gulf Park and East Lansing High School and completed coursework at the University of Kentucky towards a business degree. 

Hennie was united in marriage to James Francis Ryan on April 14, 1978, in Detroit, Michigan and they had just celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary. 

Hennie worked as a clothing buyer, food broker, insurance agent, and her favorite role as a stay at home mom where she was an avid volunteer in the school systems.

Hennie loved history, was an avid book reader, loved Michigan State University athletics, taking photos, Christmas lover, and connecting to her past.  She loved to give of her time by giving back to her daughter’s schools through fundraising events.  She especially loved worked on fundraising auctions for St. Gertrude and Ursuline Academy.  She was a loving and supportive wife, mother, and a fiercely loyal friend.  She was well-loved by all that knew her. 

She was immediately preceded in death by her husband, James Francis Ryan.  She was also preceded in death by her parents and her brother Ward C. Smith, brother-in-law’s Vincent J. Ryan Jr. and Raymond J. Fischer Jr.

She is survived by her daughter: Caroline Elizabeth “Carrie” Ryan and her partner Robert M. “Bob” Davis; grand-puppy: Tucker Ryan-Davis; sister-in-law’s: Mary Lou Fischer, Elaine Ryan, Lucinda Smith and Peg Sterling (Dan); nieces and nephews: Shannon VanLoon (Adam), Laura Palay (David) and April Smith-Matney (Stephen), Lynn Fischer, Raymond J. “Ray” Fischer III, Michael Fischer, Vincent J. “Vince” Ryan III (Melissa), Rosanne Allen (Jeff), Mary Frances Daly, and all of their children; cousins: Rob Scott (Linda), Leslie Arnold (Scott), Julie Scott, and all of their children; and her cherished friends.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a burial will take place later in Maysville, Kentucky. A joint Celebration of Life will be held at a later date when friends and family can gather safely in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Memorial contributions may be made to Leader Dogs of the Blind at or to Elon University at or Mail to Office of University Advancement, 2600 Campus Box, Elon, NC 27244.  Please include their daughter’s name in the comments for Elon. 

Condolences may be sent to the family at

Irish Blessing: “May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sunshine warm upon your face. May the rains fall upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Prayer: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”

To express condolences to the family and share in celebrating the life of Harriet, please visit and sign the online guestbook.  Arrangements are by Johnson Taylor Funeral and Cremation.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Harriet Smith Ryan, please visit our flower store.


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