Local family makes Easter Sunday special for matriarch turning 100

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — The pandemic may have separated families, but that didn’t stop Margaret Ryan’s family from making her Easter a special day.

Lovingly referred to as “Peg,” the Springfield native will be turning 100-years-old on Monday, April 13.

On Easter Sunday, the Ryan family took turns throughout the day to go up to Peg’s window to say hello, wish her a “Happy Easter” and birthday.

Peg told 22News that she is delighted to be visited by her loved ones.

“It makes me feel wonderful….wonderful,” said Peg. “I can’t explain how wonderful it makes me feel.”

Born in Springfield on April 13th, 1920, Peg is the middle child of five children of an Irish family. In Peg’s youth, she lived an adventurous life, ditching Irish-step dance lessons to sneak to the movies, hitchhiking to New York City, and even dating foreign film director Ali Ipar.

She left Springfield to work for the Red Cross in Washington, D.C., before heading to Germany to work for the Civil Service Organization as part of the post-war recovery efforts.

Love brought Peg back to Springfield where she married Matthew “Matty” Ryan, an Army Lieutenant who worked in the Kennedy campaign, and served as DA of Hampden County from 1958 to 1990. Together they raised five children in Sixteen Acres Springfield.

Kids in tow, Peg spent her days dashing from hockey rinks to piano lessons, cheering at soccer matches and baseball games, and even serving a stint as the Social Chair of the Women’s Club at Springfield Country Club. 

Peg’s family described her as “a tireless supporter of her husband.” Peg was by her husband’s side as he established a Springfield law firm, ran for District Attorney, and handled operations that helped get John F. Kennedy elected. Peg even traveled to Washington D.C. in 1961 to attend the Inaugural Ball. 

Peg proudly displays the dress she wore to Kennedy’s Inaugural ball. Photo courtesy: Corrine Ryan

In her later years, Peg enjoyed winters with friends in Jupiter, Florida. Her summers were spent gardening at her home in Sixteen Acres. 

Now with six granddaughters, Peg’s days are filled with sampling baked goods, solving crossword puzzles, and getting spoiled by everyone around her.

Peg’s granddaughter, Corrine Ryan, told 22News that Peg is still the life of the party and her family’s pride and joy.

“The fact that I can look at her today and see someone who is 100 years old…that has been through so much…that has really embraced everything that life has thrown at her, and made the best of it…it just gives me hope that we are all going to get through this,” said Ryan. “We will be better and stronger for it.”

22News asked Peg if she had any advice for young people, and she said: Stay as young as you are.”

Happy 100th Birthday, Margaret “Peg” Ryan!

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