Ruth Ellen (Dunn) Byrnes

Ruth Ellen (dunn) Byrnes

Madison – Ruth Ellen (Dunn) Byrnes, age 95, died on May 26, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin with her daughter Bridget by her side.

Ruthie was born on December 26, 1924 to William and Nora (O’Leary) Dunn. Her Dad worked in the local mine as a blacksmith. Nora was a schoolteacher. Mom grew up in Canton, Illinois. She graduated from Canton High in 1942 and found her way to Chicago where she worked as a pharmaceutical assistant.

Following the war, she studied hard and was one of the few women admitted to the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy, from which she graduated in 1950. She began her career only to meet a handsome sailor, back from service in WWII and Korea, and became engaged.

Devout Catholics both, they were married on February 13, 1954. They chose a winter wedding date to avoid the Vatican proscription on weddings during Lent and they didn’t want to wait til after Easter! As a new bride, she wrote her sister: “Tom is a real wonderful guy. He is so completely sweet, kind and funny that being married to him is the easiest thing in the world. Also, he is a terrific cook!” They were married for 62 years.

They had four children, Maura Fabrizi (Michael) St. Augustine, FL; Tim Byrnes (Catherine) Mukilteo, WA; Bridget Byrnes (Randy Sincoular) Cottage Grove, WI; William Byrnes, Madison, WI. She had seven grandchildren, Meghan, Michala, Patrick, Thomas, Brian, Katie and Justin and two great grandchildren Layla and Henry.

She was preceded in death by her husband Thomas A. Byrnes.

Mom loved raising kids, watersports, Clam Lake vacations and Badger basketball. She enjoyed Sunday phone calls with her family unless the Packer game was on.

As her health slowly declined, she met each new challenge with perseverance, faith and good humor. Her mind and wit remained sharp and she continued to provide love, support and counsel to us all to the very last day of her life.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church at a later date due to COVID –19 restrictions.

She donated her remains to the University of Wisconsin Medical School.

Memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.

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