JoAnn Susan Ryba, 83 of Lakota, ND, formerly of Lankin, ND, passed away on Sunday, August 16, 2020 at the Good Samaritan Society-Lakota after a short battle with brain cancer.
JoAnn Susan Kotaska was born April 2, 1937, ten minutes after her twin sister Dorothy, to Lewis and Josephine (Kachena) Kotaska. She grew up in the Conway/Pisek area and attended the local township school until the eighth grade. She worked helping local families with babysitting, cleaning, gardening and milking cows. She worked at the Park River Hospital as a nurse’s aide before marrying James Frank Ryba on June 19, 1957 in Pisek, ND. They lived on the family farm near Lankin, ND where they raised beef cattle and small-grain crops and milked dairy cattle. She and James loved to work in their large garden and sold cream in Dahlen, ND to help support their family. With four children under the age of seven, JoAnn earned her GED in 1965 by taking correspondence classes.
JoAnn organized a local 4-H club where she proudly instructed over 146 girls and boys for over 46 years and received numerous achievement awards for her leadership roles. She served on the Michigan ambulance crew as a CPR Instructor, First Responder, and EMT for over 20 years ending in February 2004. JoAnn was also an active member for several state-wide and local organizations, including North Dakota Agri-Women Chair for 12 years where she delivered a gift basket to the first baby born after January 1 each year, American Cancer Society, Whitman Homemakers Club for 45 years, American Legion Auxiliary, Sts. Peter & Paul Altar Society, and Farmers Union. She held the position of secretary for the Kosobud Lodge since 2009 until her tumor diagnosis in June.
She moved to Prairie Rose in Lakota in 2013 where she continued to garden and volunteer at the Good Samaritan Society-Lakota. She assisted residents with Bingo games and helped serve goodies to residents of Prairie Rose. JoAnn was always willing to lend a hand and give to others.
JoAnn is survived by children, Kathleen (Larry) Brunell of North Attleboro, MA, Joseph (Darlene) Ryba of Lankin, ND, Karen (Keith Henningsgard) Ryba of Ardoch, ND, and Pamela Varnson Ryba of Lakota, ND; grandchildren, Matthew (Meghan) Brunell of Foxboro, MA, Stacy (Matthew) Yarnall of Sandwich, MA, Megan (Kyle) Hammond of North Attleboro, MA, Joseph (Trista) Ryba of Thief River Falls, MN, and Daniel (Briana) Ryba of Brocket, ND; great grandchildren, Grace, Emma, and Madelyn Brunell of Foxboro, MA, Cameron and Jacob Yarnall of Sandwich, MA, Brayden and Declan Hammond of North Attleboro, MA, Austin, Presleigh, and Wyatt Ryba of Thief River Falls, MN, and Tallie Ryba of Brocket, ND; and brother, Paul (Rosie) Kotaska of Grand Forks, ND.
JoAnn was preceded in death by her husband, James F. (2012); son, James E. (2019); parents, Lewis (1979) and Josephine (1993); siblings, Mary (Maresh) Hodny (2006), Lewis Kotaska (2008), Luella Kadlec (1995), and twin Dorothy Shereck (2017).
The Funeral Mass will be held at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Bechyne, rural Lankin, ND, on Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be in the WFL Kosobud Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the Aaker Funeral Home of Lakota on Friday, beginning at 5:00 p.m. with a Rosary & Vigil Service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will continue at the Church on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Mass.
In lieu of flowers, JoAnn had requested that donations be given to the Kosobud Cemetery or Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Bechyne.