Kathleen “Katy” O’Bryan, 90, of Jefferson, died Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Center in Jefferson.
Mass of the Christian Burial will be held Friday, December 15 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson, Iowa, with Rev. Jeremy Wind presiding. A rosary will be prayed for her at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 14th in the church, with a visitation to follow from 5 to 7 p.m.
Kathleen Callista Flynn was born on October 10, 1927 at the home of her maternal grandparents in Remsen, Iowa. She was the fourth of ten children of Cecilia Marie (Ahmann) and John Thomas Flynn. Katy spent most of her childhood in LeMars, Iowa. The Flynn family then moved to Sioux City, Iowa where Katy attended a Catholic all-girls high school. At age 16, she landed her first real job as a checker at the A & P Grocery Store on Pierce Street. She remembers taking in “sugar stamps” during World War II. After graduating in 1945, Katy worked as a switchboard operator at the local telephone office. Her younger sister, Darlene, wanted her to go on a blind double date. Since she had been “burned” once on a blind date with a fellow she considered undesirable, Katy decided to check out this guy before agreeing to any date! She went to the Kresge’s Department Store during her lunch hour to have a peek at the young Irish shoe repairman from Kentucky who was working there. He must have met her standards, because she married William Marion O’Bryan (Bill) on August 18, 1948 at St. Boniface Catholic Church, with her uncle, Rev. Cletus Ahmann, officiating at the ceremony. After the wedding, her brothers kidnapped her, gave her a dime (for a phone call), and put her on a street car. At the end of the line, she used that dime in a pay phone booth to call Bill to come and rescue her.
Bill and Katy lived in several towns where Bill found employment repairing shoes. Patrick and Donald were born in Clinton, Iowa. Susan, Marilyn, Rita and Peggy were born in Maquoketa, Iowa. The O’Bryan family settled in Jefferson, Iowa in 1957, when Bill bought a shoe repair shop on S. Wilson Street. With six youngsters to oversee, Katy stayed home with her children, until Bill & Katy rented a supply of shoes. Katy learned to sell shoes, while Bill repaired shoes in the back of the store. They were a hard-working couple, and their business grew, culminating in the purchase of the Brown Shoe Fit store on the SW corner of the Square. O’Bryan Shoe Store enabled them to send their kids to college and retire comfortably. After retiring from the shoe business, Katy earned a real estate license and sold properties in Arkansas.
She enjoyed volunteering as a “pink lady” at the Greene Co. Medical Center, playing cards and pulling off a good April fool joke. Katy’s “diamond pin” was shown to every new visitor for at least 20 years. Her Catholic faith was a very important part of her life, and she prayed the Rosary every day.
Katy suffered a stroke on July 29, 2017. She spent the last four months of her life at Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Center in Jefferson with her relatives visiting every day. She received about 90 cards on her 90th birthday. Several family members were present when Katy passed away on December 9, 2017.
Katy was preceded in death by her husband in 2012; her parents; her daughter-in-law, Linda O’Bryan; and her siblings: Robert Flynn, Mary Slate, Cecile Hare, Carol Hettinger, Darlene Jacobson, Norma Tague and Rita Flynn. Survivors include her brothers, Tom (Tammy) Flynn of Spirit Lake, Iowa and Jim (Kathy) Flynn of Urbandale; her children: Pat O’Bryan of Urbandale, Don (Barb) O’Bryan of Papillion, Neb., Sue (Tom) Wind of Jamaica, Marilyn (Denny) Tilley of Churdan, Rita O’Bryan of Jefferson and Peg O’Bryan of McCormick, S.C. Katy’s grandchildren include: Kelly (Trevor) Petersma, Karen O’Bryan (Ryan Hanson), Shannan (Greg) Burgess, Lori (Scott) Meinecke, Cheri Warren (Jaime Barlow), Joe (Rayn) O’Bryan, Rev. Jeremy Wind, Marieta (Pat) Boberg, Chris Wind, Mary Jo (Ryan) Koch, Lori (Dan) Judge, Kim (Robby) Stephenson, Tami Tilley (Ron Brooks) and Katie (Jake) Denzik. Also left to mourn are her 14 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations to the Churdan Public Library or St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson.
Hastings Funeral Home in Jefferson is assisting the family with the arrangements.