Mary Lynne Ryan: farewell & thank you

A sombre week in New Zealand racing was further darkened by news of the death at the weekend of one of the industry's most valuable contributors, Mary Lynne Ryan.

Tony & Mary Lynne Ryan, at Jeanette Broome's 70th birthday party, April 2006
Her funeral today at St Peter's Catholic Church, Cambridge, was led by the Most Reverend Bishop Denis Browne and attended by a large number of New Zealand racing people, including NZTBA chief executive Michael Martin and treasurer John Thompson.

Mary Lynne joined the NZTBA in 1973 and became a committee member of the Waikato branch which established the fore-runner of the New Zealand Equine Training Scheme more than 20 years ago. Mary Lynne worked as a field officer in the early days of the Scheme and provided outstanding care and encouragement for many young people seeking careers in the thoroughbred industry. At one stage she managed more than eighty cadets. Her commitment to their welfare and skilful communication with employers earned her the industry's lasting respect, affection and gratitude. An articulate, energetic woman with a ready wit and a warm smile, Mary Lynne also wrote a widely appreciated column in the NZTBA Waikato newsletter under the name "Tamahere Mary". Although always constructive in her suggestions, Mary Lynne was never afraid to voice her considered opinion, even if it was not a majority view.

It's indicative of Mary Lynne's generous character that her humour and interest in other people was diminished neither by her long experience of cancer, nor by the imminence of death. Her last wish was for everyone at her funeral to enjoy a really good 'wake' afterwards.
Mary Lynne is survived by her husband Tony and four adult children.

- Susan Archer


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