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The morning of Tuesday, April 12, at the age of 91, Billie Jo Meadows-Ryan decided to lower the curtain on this life. Born November 10, 1930, she grew up during a time when motion pictures were only shown in theaters. Her curtain call opened in Sheridan, Wyoming being born in an abandoned boxcar, soon to move into a converted chicken coop, produced by (her parents) the late Nial Albert Meadows and Ida Patience 'Pat' Pearson-Young.
Billie is also predeceased by her stepfather Walter Norman 'Norm' Young, her siblings Nial 'Ike', Gretchen, Sally, and Richard, her half-brother Frank, her ex-husband and dear friend Johnny Ryan and their son Mike. She is survived by her sons Greg and wife Loraine, Steve and husband Rick, granddaughters Brittany and Taylor, half-sisters Niala, Colleen, and Susan, nephew James and wife Shannon, grandniece Nicole, nephew Frank, as well as numerous great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
When Billie's parents divorced in 1936, her mother Pat and all 5 children came by train from Sheridan to Whittier, California. They lived at the Whittier Mission for approximately 6 months. When the state announced it would be placing all 5 children in an orphanage, as unmarried mothers were not allowed at that time to raise their children alone, Pat and her 2nd cousin Norm Young arranged to marry.
Pat paid $5 a month rent at their first home on High Street in Whittier, making $5 a week cleaning houses. In the 3rd Grade, Billie began contributing to her parents' income with her Saturday Evening Post and Whittier News paper routes. Billie was fond of saying, "Norm made dressed for us out of flour sacks. We were very poor. I have always worked and paid my way since the 3rd grade on. Hard life but we all came out on top!"
Billie graduated from Whittier High School in 1949 and worked at several of the local Whittier walk-in and drive-in theaters as a ticket seller. It was while working at a local diner (now Green Leaf Thai Cuisine) that she met her to-be husband, Johnny, who owned and operated the renowned Taylor and Ryan Engine Rebuilding business across from her diner on Greenleaf, next to the fire department. Johnny and Billie had a double wedding ceremony with Nelson and Ethel Taylor in 1951.
Billie began working for Security Pacific National Bank on Greenleaf as a teller soon after their marriage. Eventually she became the Proof Specialist for all Southern California SPNB branches, traveling in her canary yellow 1972 Ford Mustang Coupe, and training bank proof operators.
Unhappy with her initial early retirement, she returned to work at the Boston Store in the Whittwood Town Center, then the local Uptown Whittier Mason's Bakery, and lastly to Walgreens at Greenleaf and Whittier Boulevard, from which she grudgingly retired at the age of 84.
Billie had a flair for baking and loved to give away her baked goods. People continue to rave about her delicious orange cookies. She was a Rosarian with an innate expertise in cultivation of roses, and at one time had over a hundred different varieties blooming in her garden.
Billie's favorite charity was D.E.L.T.A. Animal Rescue as she was a lover of abandoned cats and dogs, so many of which found wonderful lives with her.
Billie was very much loved by family, friends, co-workers, and customers, and was a wonderfully devoted mother and grandmother. She will be deeply missed.
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