Lura Lynn Ryan

Lura Lynn Ryan

Born Jul 5, 1934

Lura Lynn Ryan was the First Lady of the U.S. state of Illinois from 1999 to 2003. She was the wife of former Illinois Governor George Ryan.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Lura Lynn Ryan.


1934 Birth Ryan was born Lura Lynn Lowe on July 5, 1934, in Aroma Park, Illinois to parents, Lawrence and Dorothea Lowe. … Read More


1956 22 Years Old She married Ryan at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Kankakee, Illinois, on June 10, 1956 after dating for eight years. … Read More
1957 23 Years Old Their first child, Nancy, was born in 1957; daughter, Lynda, was born in 1961; triplets, Jeanette, Joanne and Julie were born in 1962; and her youngest, George Jr., was born in 1964. … Read More


1972 38 Years Old Her husband, George, entered politics when he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1972, with Ryan becoming a political spouse while simultaneously raising six small children.


1999 65 Years Old Ryan became the First Lady of Illinois on January 11, 1999. … Read More
2001 67 Years Old She served on the commission from 2001 to 2010. … Read More
2002 68 Years Old Ryan co-authored a book, At Home with Illinois Governors: A Social History of the Illinois Executive Mansion, 1855-2003, with historian Dan Monroe in 2002 on the history of Illinois Governors and their families. … Read More
2003 69 Years Old Ryan left her position as First Lady in 2003 at the end of her husband's term in office. … Read More
2005 71 Years Old As First Lady, Ryan became a major fundraiser and first chairwoman of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which opened in 2005 in Springfield, Illinois. She launched the fundraising for the library by raising $250,000. Ryan also organized a program in which Illinois schoolchildren collected pennies for the construction of the presidential library, which raised $47,000 dollars. Ryan was appointed to the 14-member Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives to commemorate the 200th birthday of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in 2009.
2008 74 Years Old She wrote a letter in 2008 to former U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush appealing for clemency from President George W. Bush.
2011 77 Years Old 1 More Event
Lura Lynn Ryan was diagnosed with cancer during her later years. Her husband, George Ryan, was temporarily released from prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, on four occasions between January and June 2011 as his wife's health declined in 2011.
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