Meggen Lyrae Ryan, of Evaro, was taken from us on September 2, 2022. She passed away at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, age 62, from injuries sustained in a car crash.
She was born on June 24, 1960, at St. Patrick Hospital, to Marion and Joseph Ryan. She grew up on a rural family homestead in Evaro, helping on the farm with her sisters and brothers. Attending Frenchtown public schools, she was a member of the basketball team in high school and graduated in 1978. She attended the University of Montana School of Forestry, where she graduated early in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry Conservation, specializing in soils science. She would later continue her formal education, completing a Master of Accountancy from the University of Montana in 2012 and becoming a CPA. On December 31, 1981, she married Roy Hartse. They had two children, Caitlin and Kyle, raising the kids in Evaro. They later divorced but remained friends. Meggen had a wide-ranging career. Her first job was at a doughnut shop in the Southgate Mall. She worked as a Forest Service seasonal doing timber stand exams and spent three summers as a fire lookout at Beaver Ridge. She was very fond of her time on the lookout and would take her future kids and grandkids back for visits. She also worked for the Soil Conservation Service, as a grocery bagger at an Air Force base commissary, a bookkeeper for the family business at Sevenar Stores, and as an accountant at Consumer Direct Care Network.
Throughout her life she was heavily involved with the Evaro community, where she served on the Evaro Community Center Board of Directors and later the Evaro-Finley-O’Keefe Community Council. She helped organize the annual Evaro Mountain Challenge fun run, where on race day she would serve as a trail guard and hand out water. She also worked diligently with the Five Valleys Land Trust and North American Packgoat Association, among other nonprofit organizations.
An abundance of hobbies kept her busy, including woodworking, photography, hiking and camping, baking bread, genealogy and family history, board games, cribbage, Irish language studies, local weather record keeping, collecting Forest Service and Smokey Bear memorabilia, caring for animals (especially her beloved goats), and acting as a steward of the forest she called home in Evaro.
She harbored immense love for her family, especially her children and grandchildren. It was not uncommon for her to travel hundreds of miles for a brief day visit. If a visit was out of the question, she would enjoy long phone calls with her family to discuss seemingly any subject, from the day-to-day life of her grandkids to global events. She was driven and hardworking, allowing her to shoulder many responsibilities and lessen the burden for others. Her compassion, selflessness, empathy, and giving nature shone like a beacon in every facet of her life. She was preceded in death by mother Marion Ryan; father Joe Ryan; grandmother Alma Grace Ryan; cousins Kelly Hansen and Jennifer Hansen; and many beloved pets. Survivors include her children Caitlin Parke (Jason) and Kyle Hartse; ex-husband Roy Hartse; siblings Lauren Case (Tom), Kevin Ryan (Pat), Mike Ryan (Gina), Kimberly Ryan-O’Hara (Thom); grandchildren Brianna Parke and Conor Parke, aunts Deloris Hansen and Alice Ryan; cousins Joe Hansen, Heidi Hansen, Holly Hansen, Lonnie Smith, Les Ryan, Tim Ryan and Shawn Ostheimer; nieces and nephews JoAnn Ryan-Moreland (Kenny), Jessica Ryan (Carl), Nateese Benedetti, Brenden Ryan (Paige), Kelly Ryan (Nick), Patrick O’Hara (Trish), Chelsea O’Hara, Shannon O’Hara (Chase); and pets Taffy, Murphy, and Macie.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to a local animal shelter near and dear to you heart. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.