Martha Jean Ryckman, born on Sept. 19, 1920. in Detroit, Mich., and most recently a resident of Shell Point in Fort Myers, died on July 12, 2013. after 92 wonderful years.
Martha's love for children led her to attend Kalamazoo College and to graduate from Wayne State University with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Elementary Education. After college, Martha met her future husband, "Bud" Ryckman, who she married in 1945. She enjoyed a 21-year career as a kindergarten/first grade teacher in the Detroit Public Schools. In addition to teaching, one of Bud and Martha's loves was co-directing a summer camp serving many underprivileged children from the Detroit area.
Upon moving to Sanibel in 1975, she was the first director of the Children's Education Center of the Islands and taught there until 1983. Martha was also an enthusiastic supporter of the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society, the Sanibel Community Church and the Sanibel United Church of Christ. In 1991, Bud and Martha moved to Shell Point. While at Shell Point, she was an active member of the Pavilion Auxiliary Board beginning in 1993, serving as the president of the Auxiliary from 1999 to 2003.
Martha Jean Ryckman
Martha's greatest joy was her family, as well as a diverse and wonderful group of friends. She was married to the love of her life and her best friend, Bud, for 52 incredible years, until his death in 1997. She is survived by her two devoted sons, Douglas (Kris) and Frederick (Susan) Ryckman and their families, including eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
A service celebrating Martha's life will be held on Saturday, July 20, at the Shell Point Village Church at 11:15 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial gifts to the Children's Education Center of the Islands, 350 Casa Ybel Road, Sanibel, FL 33957.
Martha loved giving and doing for others, whether cooking delicious meals or sharing a favorite book. She was known to start a conversation with the question "What can I do for you?" Her warm smile and caring spirit blessed many lives and will live on in each of them.