Josephine “Jo” Mariani Ryan, age 92 of Norwalk, died Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at Norwalk Hospital. Jo was the beloved wife of her high school sweetheart Robert James Ryan, Sr. for 66 years until his death in 2015. She was the daughter of the late Joseph and Maria Battistini Mariani. Jo was a first-generation American, born June 17, 1929, her parents having immigrated from Ancona, Italy in 1921. Jo always spoke fondly of her childhood in the tightly knit Italian-Hungarian neighborhood in Springwood and the pride reflected in their homes, yards and gardens.
Jo was a graduate of Ben Franklin Jr. High and Norwalk High School, Class of 1947. Jo, together with her husband Bob, served as co-chairmen of Class of 1947 reunions for 60 years and awarded 1947 scholarship awards to recipients since 1988.
She was primarily a stay at home mom to her five children and later employed as secretary and bookkeeper for the Gardella family until her retirement in 1992.
Jo loved reading, oil painting, her flower garden and, especially, her family and longtime friends since 1950. She was a Charter Member of Columbiettes (Vice President), Msgr. Finn Council #46, Norwalk High School Alumni Association, New Horizon Group of St. Matthew Church and St. Martha’s Hospitality Group, Cooking with a Purpose and Bereavement Group.
Jo leaves behind her five children; Janis Solheim (Peter), Judy Belorit (Jeff), Robin Bartoli (Biff), Robert Jr.(girlfriend Sue) and Jennifer Baranello (Steve), her grandchildren Shannon Solheim (boyfriend Matt), Shelley Johnson (Nick), Kimberly West (Daniel), Renee O’Dell (Jeffrey); Bryan Raymond (Kelle), Dan Raymond (Janine), Erica Raymond; Rachel Bartoli; Austin Ryan (girlfriend Kate); Jack and Ryan Baranello, step-granddaughter Jackie Belorit Rossini and great-grandchildren Theodore and Nathaniel Johnson, Owen, Carson, Ronan and Quinn West, Autumn and Phoenix Raymond and Harper Raymond and step-grandchildren Hailea and Jordan.
Jo is also survived by her sister Mary Toss and several nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and cousins.
Jo was predeceased by her grandson Forrest Ryan and infant great grandson Henry Johnson; her two sisters Mafalda Scordo and Ethel Giunta and two brothers Alex and Sam Mariani.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Matthew Church, 216 Scribner Avenue, Norwalk on Tuesday, April 12 at 10 AM with burial to follow at St. John Cemetery. Jo’s family will receive family and friends at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Ave, Norwalk on Monday, April 11, from 5 to 8 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Assoc (www.alz.org).