Gladys Eileen Ryken, formerly of Yankton and rural Gayville, passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends at Sanford Vermillion Care Center on June 4, 2023. She had just celebrated her 100th birthday.
Gladys was born to Martin and Emma Knutson on their farm west of Vermillion on April 2, 1923. Gladys graduated Meckling High School as class valedictorian. She soon met and married her husband of 58 years, Marvin L Ryken, Sr, living in Yankton and the family farmed south of Gayville. Gladys had five children, Marvin L Ryken, Jr (Kathy) of Walnut Creek, CA, Mary Ann Griffin, of Minneapolis, MN, Robert L Ryken of Chicago, IL, Linda K Merkwan (deceased 2018) (Gary) Gayville, SD and Sam K Ryken (Evonne) of Tacoma, WA. Gladys is also survived by 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
As a hard-working farm housewife, Gladys gardened and canned, raised chickens, milked cows, and managed other chores to feed a growing family. With children done with high school, Gladys began a second full-time work career as office manager for two agents at State Farm Insurance in Yankton. After her husband died in 1994, Gladys lived many years at the Memory Lane Apartments in Yankton and was an active pinochle player at the Yankton Senior Center. Gladys loved to travel to visit her children, and one year went to Norway to visit cousins. In recent years she spent most of each winter in Florida, where she developed a group of devoted friends. Gladys had a great sense of humor and deep trust in the Lord. With an open mind and open heart, Gladys knew that making the best of things would give her a happy life.
Gladys is predeceased by her parents; her brothers, Henry, Arnold and Earl and her sister, Maxine. Gladys is survived by her sister, Marlene Imperatrice of Clovis, CA.
Family and friends are invited to gather to celebrate Gladys’ life this Friday, June 9 at 10:30 a.m. at Goglin Funeral Home, 807 West 31st Street, US Highway 50, Yankton, SD.
A graveside prayer service will be held for the interment of Gladys’ ashes next to her husband, Marvin L Ryken, Sr at Yankton Cemetery on Sunday, July 2 at 10:30 a.m. followed by a potluck picnic celebrating Gladys’ life, at the north picnic shelter in Prentiss Park, Vermillion, SD.