Cullman Heritage Funeral Home
Zola Wilkinson Ryan
Zola Wilkinson Ryan ran the race of life faithfully serving others and crossed the finish line on June 11, 2013, as she passed away in Cullman at the age of 93.
She was born July 2, 1919, to Luther Carlton Wilkinson and Lela Bessie Lovell, near Holly Pond in Cullman County. She was the third of nine children. While visiting a neighbor she met Hillman Ryan and fell in love and married him on Sept. 5, 1937. They lived their lives as soul mates and best friends for 68 years of marriage. After they married they soon moved to the Atlanta area where she spent over 60 years.
She saw the power of prayer when Hillman was serving in the Navy during World War II and felt the need to pray at a particular time. Later she learned that at that particular time, the Japanese had launched a weapon at Hillman’s ship but while others had been destroyed, Hillman’s ship escaped harm. She became a devoted prayer warrior for the rest of her life.
She was a true southern distinguished woman, who was her happiest while serving others. She used her hospitality gifts to bake, cook and deliver for others in need as well as to welcome everyone to her home. Whether she was serving one or 25 people at her home the meal was always served on fine china with her eating last to make sure everyone was served enough. She mentored younger women by her example of a dedicated wife and mother. Her love for God radiated in her everyday life.
She was as a devoted mother to her sons, as well as serving as mother figure to many nieces and nephews and church members that she loved dearly. She was a member at Bethany Primitive Baptist Church.
Zola was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Hillman C. Ryan; two sons, Hillman C. (Sonny) Ryan Jr. and Anthony Ty Ryan; and a grandson, Christopher Len Ryan.
Zola is survived by one son, Gregory Len (Kim) Ryan of Lady Lake, Fla., one sister, Velera Kinney; and a brother, Marlon (Wavie) Wilkinson.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Friday, June 14, 2013, at Enon Baptist Church. She will lie in state at the church one hour prior to service. Interment will be in the adjoining cemetery. Elder Gus Harter, Loyd Wilkinson, Gary Wilkinson and Bro. Wendell Bennett will be officiating.