Paula Jane Van Ryan, 69, died Sunday, July 1, 2018 at her home near Timberville, VA, following a courageous two year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Jane, as she was known, was born November 24, 1948 in Muncie, IN, to Paul Cecil and Clarice Holt Davis. She was educated in Muncie public schools and was a 1970 graduate of Hanover College in Indiana.
Jane enjoyed an early career in television broadcasting, serving variously as a reporter, talk show host and news anchor at TV stations in Peoria, IL, Charleston, SC, Louisville, KY, and finally at WUSA, Channel 9, in Washington, DC.
Following her news career, Jane transitioned to corporate communications. She served as Assistant Director of Communications at the American Petroleum Institute, in Washington, DC; Vice President for Communications at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), McLean, VA; Vice President for Communications at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY; and Executive Vice President of Van Ryan Banks, Inc.
After moving to the Shenandoah Valley in 2010, Jane provided communications services to Rockingham County executive offices and later served as the chief investment officer for the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, a multi county economic development organization comprising public- and private-sector leaders and organizations.
Jane was a frequent contributor of commentaries on state and national energy policies to newspapers around the country. She also was the author of a biographical work that recounts the story of Evelyn Hazen, an early 20th century Tennessee socialite whose family home served as headquarters for both Union and Confederate forces during the siege of Knoxville and is now the Mabry-Hazen House Museum in Knoxville.
Jane is survived by her husband, David Banks of Timberville; daughter, Jordan Holt Van Ryan and her children, Jessani Collier and Liam Brown-Orleans of Broadway, VA; step-sons, Matthew (Kelly) Banks of Springfield, VA, Michael Banks of Reston, VA, and Joseph (Erika) Banks of Richmond, VA; and step-grandchildren Hillary Knuth and Erin (Jason) Potter, Emma, Aodhan and Enda Banks, Beau Banks, and Brendan, Erin and Meaghan Neary.
Also surviving are sister, Judy Benken and brother, Joseph Davis, both of Muncie, IN; brothers-in-law, James (Carole) Banks of Fremont, OH, and Stephen Banks of Toledo, OH; and sister-in-law, Mary K. Gillig of Toledo, OH.
Jane was preceded in death by her parents; and step-grandson, Liam Banks.
A memorial service and celebration of life will take place at Sunset Drive United Methodist Church in Broadway at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 6, 2018.