OCEAN RIDGE — Eileen Ryan Pettus died on Jan. 17 at the Health First’s Holmes Medical Center in Melbourne, the result of an automobile accident. She was 74 years old.
Born Eileen Ryan in New York City on Oct. 28, 1946, she was an alumna of Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City; Sacred Heart Greenwich (Connecticut); and the Convent of the Sacred Heart Kenwood, in Albany, New York, from which she graduated in 1964. She attended Briarcliff, Briarcliff Manor, New York, and in 1968 she graduated from Maryville University, St. Louis, with a degree in English literature.
During her early years in New York she was a runway and magazine model, and in St. Louis worked for the old Southwest Bank and Commerce banks.
Her marriages to John B. Mitchell Jr., of St. Louis, and Theodore T. Pettus, of New York, ended in divorce. She returned from St. Louis to New York City in 1985, and worked as a client representative in the private banking group at JP Morgan.
In 2004 she relocated to South Florida, close to where her family had a longtime second home.
In Florida, Eileen was active in several charities and nonprofits, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. She was supportive of Paul’s Place in Delray Beach, an after-school program that provides mentoring and nourishment to underprivileged children.
She was alternately known by nicknames such as Leendog and Rosebud, but by whatever name she was also described as a brilliant and beautiful force, a woman who had a significant and profound impact on scores of people she encountered on her sometimes bumpy journey.
Eileen was charismatic, they agree: quick-witted, well-read, outspoken, charming, magnetic, sophisticated, exceptionally generous, captivating, creative and artistic, dazzling, optimistic, possessed of an extraordinary sense of humor; and indelibly fashionable.
She was an avid angler, an occasional golfer, a fanatical baseball devotee and sports fan; she was a dedicated philanthropist, an impassioned theater and music lover, a gifted artist, a dog lover extraordinaire. She enjoyed the best that life had to offer, and had a thirst for mischief. She always threw the best party.
Eileen was a devoted mother and grandmother, sister and friend. She had a close and joyful relationship with her only grandchild, Blake Jr., who received her undivided attention and affection. Coincidentally, they also celebrated the same birthday.
She is survived by her children, John Blanton Mitchell III (wife, Anita) of San Francisco, and Mariah Mitchell Davis of New York City; by her grandson, Blake Tamblyn Davis Jr.; and by her brothers John Ryan (wife, Virginia) of Chevy Chase, Maryland, Kevin Ryan (wife, Lynde) of Beaufort, South Carolina, and Michael Ryan of Bradenton, along with numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Eileen was preceded in death by her siblings Charles Patrick Ryan Jr. (wife, Cissy) of Garden City, New York, and Cathleen Ann Ryan of New York; and her parents, Charles Patrick Ryan and Mary Dwyer Ryan of New York.
Plans for a memorial service will be announced later. The family thanks the caregivers at Holmes Medical Center in Melbourne for their extraordinary dedication. In lieu of flowers, donations may go to Big Dog Ranch Rescue animal rescue service, 14444 Okeechobee Blvd., Loxahatchee Groves, FL 33470.
— Obituary submitted by the family