Kathleen ‘Katy’ O’Bryan, 1927 -2017

Mass of the Christian Burial will be held for Kathleen “Katy” O’Bryan on Friday, Dec. 15, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson, with the Rev. Jeremy Wind presiding. A rosary will be prayed for her at 4:30 pm on Thursday in the church, with a visitation to follow from 5 to 7 pm. Hastings Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Kathleen Callista Flynn was born  Oct. 10, 1927, at the home of her maternal grandparents in Remsen. She was the fourth of 10 children born to John Thomas Flynn and Cecilia Marie (Ahmann) Flynn.

Katy spent most of her childhood in LeMars. The Flynn family then moved to Sioux City, where Katy attended a Catholic all-girls high school. At age 16, she landed her first real job as a checker at the A & P Grocery Store on Pierce St. She remembered taking in “sugar stamps” during World War Two.

After graduating from high school in 1945, Katy worked as a switchboard operator at the local telephone office. Her younger sister, Darlene, wanted her to go on a blind double date. Since she had been “burned” once on a blind date with a fellow she considered undesirable, Katy decided to check out this guy before agreeing to any date. She went to the Kresge’s Department Store during her lunch hour to have a peek at the young Irish shoe repairman from Kentucky who was working there. He must have met her standards, because she married William Marion O’Bryan (Bill) on Aug. 18, 1948, at St. Boniface Catholic Church, with her uncle, the Rev. Cletus Ahmann, officiating at the ceremony. After the wedding, her brothers kidnapped her, gave her a dime (for a phone call), and put her on a street car. At the end of the line, she used that dime in a pay phone booth to call Bill to come and rescue her.

Bill and Katy lived in several towns where Bill found employment repairing shoes. Patrick and Donald were born in Clinton. Susan, Marilyn, Rita, and Peggy were born in Maquoketa. The O’Bryan family settled in Jefferson in 1957 when Bill bought a shoe repair shop on S. Wilson St. With six youngsters to oversee, Katy stayed home with her children – until Katy rented a supply of shoes. Katy learned to sell shoes, while Bill repaired shoes in the back of the store. They were a hard-working couple, and their business grew, culminating in the purchase of the Brown Shoe Fit store on the SW corner of the square. O’Bryan Shoe Store enabled them to send their kids to college and retire comfortably. After retiring from the shoe business, Katy earned a real estate license and sold properties in Arkansas.

She enjoyed volunteering as a “pink lady” at the Greene County Medical Center, playing cards, and pulling off a good April Fool joke. Katy’s “diamond pin” was shown to every new visitor for at least 20 years. Her Catholic faith was a very important part of her life, and she prayed the rosary every day.

Katy suffered a stroke on July 29, 2017. She spent the last four months of her life at the Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Center in Jefferson with her relatives visiting every day. She received about 90 cards on her 90th birthday.

Several family members were present when Katy passed away on Dec. 9, 2017.
Katy was preceded in death by her husband in 2012; her parents; her siblings Robert Flynn, Mary Slate, Cecile Hare, Carol Hettinger, Darlene Jacobson, Norma Tague, and Rita Flynn; and a daughter-in-law Linda O’Bryan.

Survivors include her brothers Tom (Tammy) Flynn of Spirit Lake and Jim (Kathy) Flynn of Urbandale; and her children Pat O’Bryan of Urbandale, Don (Barb) O’Bryan of Papillion, NE, Sue (Tom) Wind of Jamaica, Marilyn (Denny) Tilley of Churdan, Rita O’Bryan of Jefferson, and Peg O’Bryan of McCormick, SC. Katy’s grandchildren include Kelly (Trevor) Petersma, Karen O’Bryan (Ryan Hanson), Shannan (Greg) Burgess, Lori (Scott) Meinecke, Cheri Warren (Jaime Barlow), Joe (Rayn) O’Bryan, Rev. Jeremy Wind, Marieta (Pat) Boberg, Chris Wind, Mary Jo (Ryan) Koch, Lori (Dan) Judge, Kim (Robby) Stephenson, Tami Tilley (Ron Brooks), and Katie (Jake) Denzik. Also left to mourn are her 14 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren.

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