Winifred Mary Ryan, my grandmother (Nana,) was the first generation in this line born in America. Her family immigrated from Ireland to New York state about 1909. She was the second of four children of Denis and Hanorah “Hannah” (McCormack) Ryan. She was born 15 Apr 1915 while her family was living at 245 E 62nd St, Manhattan, New York. She was baptized on 21 Apr 1918 at Church of St Vincent Ferrer, 869 Lexington Ave, New York. She had a younger sister, Mary Rain Ryan, who died as an infant; an older brother Henry F Ryan, and a younger brother Denis Joseph Ryan.

She attended St Vincents Ferrer’s High School at 65th St & Lexington Ave, New York from 1932-1934, then went to work as a secretary to the Head Division & Superintendent of Hospital at Bellvue Hospital until 1945.

On 30 Apr 1945 she enlisted into the Women’s Army Corp. She went through training at different places, keeping a travel diary as she went. She was trained as a medical secretary. Through her travels with WAC she wound up in Texas and married my grandfather, George Gaylord Vandergriff on 1 Jun 1946 in San Antonio. A month later she was honorably discharged from WAC as a corporal at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

George made a career out of the Air Force, so they lived many different places. They raised two daughters, Gaynelle Lea (my mother) and Patricia Ann.

Nana passed away 21 Jan 1999 in Melbourne, Brevard, Florida and is buried at Florida Memorial Gardens, 5950 South US Hwy 1, Rockledge, Florida.Image