The Associated Press
Posted: Wednesday Aug 15, 2007 18:02:27 EDT
OWASSO, Okla. —
Maye Ryan, who was in the first class of the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, has died. She was 97. Ryan, who was reportedly the oldest female Marine veteran in the nation, died Monday night at the Baptist Village, where she had lived for the last 14 years.
She joined the Marine Corps in 1943 and was assigned as a typist in Mojave, Calif., where she served for 32 months. She was discharged as a corporal.
In an April interview with the Tulsa World, Ryan said things didn’t go easily for those first few
women in the Marine Corps. She said her male counterparts often would look down at the female Marines and that many of the men had ugly names for them. Eventually, though, the women became well-accepted by the men, Ryan said.
She said she was proud of being able to take care of herself and did not apply for veteran’s benefits until 50 years after she had qualified for them. She applied for Medicaid 30 years after
she qualified for that program.
She was born May 18, 1910, in Red Oak. Her father’s job as an oil pumper took the family from Red Oak to Avant in Osage County and then south to Wewoka in Seminole County, where she
finished high school. She attended college in Wilburton and then taught school.
Throughout the Depression and Dust Bowl years, Ryan, an only child, used her teacher’s pay to
help support her parents.
Our thoughts and prayers to this brave woman and for each and every one that
walks in her footsteps.