Dawn L. Rydman, age 75
Dawn Loumae Page was born on May 1, 1940, in Madison, Wisconsin, on a Chippewa Indian Reservation where her parents taught English. Dawn was always proud of her tribal name “Cheekway” which means “Little White Girl.” She always had a beautiful soprano voice, eventually singing on radio shows. She was one of the first Alice in Wonderland performing at Disneyland and even recorded songs for the ride.
Dawn graduated from Fullerton High School in 1958. She started working at Kaiser Broadcasting Industries in Oakland, following her love of music and entertainment. She met her lifelong love and companion, Delroy Rydman, at a company picnic. They became inseparable and were soon married on Sept. 26, 1970 in San Francisco. They had a great honeymoon traveling throughout Asia, starting a marriage that lasted 45 fantastic years.
The family quickly grew with daughters Heather and Dana, spending summers at their mountain cabin in Twain Harte, California, where family and friends would come and visit, and their oldest daughter Heather Rydman would spend so many hours out searching the woods.
Del came to Santa Rosa with the Hewlett Packard Company in 1976. After moving the family to Kenwood, Dawn gave birth to their only son, Mark, in 1977 at their “Willow Wood Ranch” on Adobe Canyon Road. The population continued to grow: first came a horse, then chickens, ducks, rabbits, and then the family planted a Christmas tree farm.
Always sunny and social, Dawn was soon drawn into the Kenwood School Association, Kenwood Community Club, and the Fourth of July annual pillow fights. She also led the Kenwood 4-H and was involved in the Kenwood Soccer Club.
She taught English as a second language, beginning a 15-year career with the Rincon Valley Unified School District (RVUSD). She started working as a teacher’s aide. Her love of art and music, and singing talents, helped her students understand different subjects. From 1987-1991 she was Chair of the School Site Council, and was awarded the “School Site Council Chairperson Award” for her service.
In 1992 she developed the Art Docent program for RVUSD, recruiting volunteers and providing supplies to teach fine art. She also taught dances from around the world.
Dawn was always proud of being awarded RVUSD Classified Employee of the Year for the 94-95 school year. In 1997, she took the entire Village Elementary student body to perform the musical “Peace Child” at the Veterans Memorial Building. The public gave her a huge standing ovation.
Besides singing in the Sonoma Valley Chorale, Dawn started the Sonoma Valley Children’s Chorale.
As a lifelong lover of art, Dawn spent many hours making beautiful stained glass pieces for their home.
A swimmer since childhood, Dawn’s love of the water took them far afield, including a memorable family vacation in Hawaii. In retirement, she and Del would load up their RV, head out to Doran Beach, and spend a few days reading, relaxing and just being together.
In June 2015, Dawn was diagnosed with colon cancer, and was hospitalized the week prior to Thanksgiving. She came home after Thanksgiving and spent her last days being able to look outside through the big sliding glass doors, looking at stained glass and being with Del. She left us on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2015, having earlier been surrounded by Del, her children Heather, Dana and Mark, and grandchildren. All of us remember her as a kind, generous and loving person who always turned a cheerful countenance to the problems at hand. Her smile went a long way into making anyone’s day much, much better.
Dawn is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 45 years Del, children Heather Rydman Johnson, Dana Rydman Marty and her husband Mike Marty, Mark Rydman and his wife Cherie Rydman; grandchildren Erik Johnson, Ashley Marty, Trevor Marty, Cienna Rydman and Kaylee Rydman; her brother Kim Page and her sister Lynn Goodrich, and numerous other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her father Vern Page and Mother LaNoka Page. Dawn was also a member of “Eastern Star” from a young age.
We will miss you, mom …
The family will be celebrating Dawn’s life in the summer of 2016 at Doran Beach. The Kenwood Press will be announcing the date and time for this celebration. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to www.votma.org at P.O. Box 95, Kenwood, CA 95452.