Dorothy Ostendorff Ryan
  • In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to:
  • Messiah Lutheran Church
    1106 Yeamans Hall Road
    Hanahan, SC 28410
  • and or/
  • The Village at Summerville
    201 W. 9th North Street
    Summerville, SC 29483

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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Dorothy by adding your memories and photos.


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J. Henry Stuhr Northwoods Chapel

2180 Greenridge Road
North Charleston, SC 29406
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Memories & Candles

“Paula, Donna and Bill,Sue and I were sadden to learn of Dot's passing. Dot, Bill and all their 90-someone friends had great lives. We were blessed...Read More »
1 of 4 | Posted by: Bill Barnett - Broomfield, CO

“Sorry to hear about your mom.Harry and I appreciated all your kindness , when we all lived at the Blake. Foundly Gertrude Spencer ”
2 of 4 | Posted by: Gertrude Spencer - Charleston, SC

“I loved your parents dearly! May you be comforted by knowing she's with your Dad and our Heavenly Father. Love to all! The video was beautiful! ”
3 of 4 | Posted by: Jean Keil - Knoxville, TN

“I will miss Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Bill; they always managed to make us laugh when we got together. Good people who left a great legacy with their...Read More »
4 of 4 | Posted by: Mary McKinna

Dorothy Ostendorff Ryan, 92, of Hanahan, SC, wife of late William T Ryan, Jr entered into eternal rest on November 4, 2021. Her Funeral Service will be held at Bethany Cemetery, 10 Cunnington Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina at 11:00 AM on Friday, November 12, 2021. The family will receive friends from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, November 11, 2021 at J. Henry Stuhr, Inc, Northwoods Chapel, 2180 Greenridge Road, North Charleston SC 29406.

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Dorothy was born July 6, 1929, in Charleston, SC, the daughter of the late Louis Frederick Ostendorff and Dorothy Ruth Pieper. Dorothy attended Craft School and was a graduate of Memminger High School. She attended Newberry College, the College of Charleston and Rice Business College.
After college, Dorothy married the late William T Ryan Jr (Bill) on July 22, 1950. The couple moved to Baltimore, Maryland before returning to Charleston where Bill was called up for duty in the United States Air Force.

While supporting Bills career for 22 years in the Air Force, the couple had three children. Paula Ryan, Donna Dowis (Ryan) and William Thomas Ryan III. Some of the places Dorothy lived as a wife of a military officer included Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Paris France, Mons, Belgium, Massachusetts, Hawaii before returning to Charleston.

Dorothy supported various volunteer activities including; a former Leader of the Girl Scouts, involved in Military Wives Club, Red Cross volunteer, President of Protestant Women of the Chapel, Docent at the Honolulu Museum of Art in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dorothy was also a Sunday School Leader and Bible School Leader.

Upon returning to the low country, following Bill's retirement from the Air Force, she continued with volunteer work including; President of the Lutheran Woman of the church at former St Andrews Lutheran Church, President of the Otranto Garden Club, Respite Care, Franke Home Auxiliary, and the Lutheran Brotherhood Volunteer program. She also was a member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, Garden Club of Charleston, Memminger reunion group, and attended Sunday School and church faithfully. She worked as a guide for a local touring company and served as Treasurer for the Messiah Lutheran church Fellowship Hall project. Other interests include swimming, sewing, reading, gardening and history.

Dorothy had such a positive outlook on life. She had true love for her God, her family, her country, and her love and joy radiated to others. She will be remembered for her smile and her willingness to help others.

She is survived by her daughter, Paula Ryan, daughter, Donna Elizabeth Ryan Dowis (Jim), Granddaughter Gina Ryan Dowis Wiitanen (Jeff) Great Granddaughter Abby Ryan Wiitanen, Great Grandson Taylor Wiitanen, Grandson William Brian Dowis (Emily) and son William Thomas (Tom) Ryan, III, (Laura) Grandson Caleb Ryan (Molly), Great Granddaughters Margaret Ryan, Bonnie Ryan, Granddaughter Cameron Ryan Jones (Paul) Great Granddaughters Marilyn Jones, Laura Jane Jones, Great Grandsons Charlie Jones, George Jones, Grandson Adam Ryan (Daley) and Great Grandson Otto Ryan.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Messiah Lutheran Church, The Villages of Summerville and Lutheran Hospice.