Sally Ann Ryan Zurcher was born on December 17, 1942 in Emporia, Kansas. She passed away at her home in Los Altos, California on December 12th, 2021, surrounded by family after a courageous 2-year battle with cancer. Sally is survived by her sisters Jane Fitzgerald (Michael) andCarolee Hull (Larry), niece Erin McLin, nephew Brennen Fitzgerald (Maggie), great-nieces Ellis Fitzgerald, Cadence McLin Hannah McLin, great-nephew Liam McLin. She leaves behind Tom Coakley, her companion of 28 years as well as her beloved step-daughter Sharon Zurcher and her grandchildren, Samantha, Alex and Will Zurcher, adopted by love. Sally started life in Kansas and the family moved to Colorado in 1954 where Sally attended Littleton High School. She graduated from University of Northern Colorado in Greely where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She left Colorado andshe began her new life as a teacher in Carmel by the Sea and Monterey, California. Sally later moved to the Bay Area and taught middle elementary students in the San Mateo/Foster City Unified School District. Parents and colleagues alike considered Sally compassionate and extremely competent. She was loving but firm with her students and in the early days the kids nicknamed her “Miss Ryan the Lion.”
Sally had a beautiful singing voice, and she could be found singing and playing the guitar locally in Carmel in the early years and later on at singing engagements all over the Bay Area.
She loved adventure and was always on the go: traveling the world with friends, family and her companion Tom; spending weekends in Carmel; visiting family in Colorado or joining college friends for annual reunions. Sally was a great hostess, her talent for cooking paired well with her flair for entertaining. She loved animals and knew the name of every one that she encountered on her daily neighborhood walks. In her own home her cat Princess Leah ruled the roost. Her love of children went well beyond the classroom. She cherished her time with her niece and nephew, her great-nieces and nephew, her step grandchildren, the neighborhood children as well as the children she fostered. Sally enjoyed her tennis group, celebrated birthdays with her “Birthday Girls”, belonged to a film and theater group, a book club, numerous bridge groups and her water aerobics classes. For over twenty years she volunteered at the American Cancer Society’s Discovery Shop in Los Altos. She will be remembered for her generosity, vibrant personality, her sense of humor and her love of life, family and friends. Laughter was second nature to Sally. She made long lasting friendships throughout her life and she will be missed by all. Memorial contributions can be made to The American Cancer Society or the Humane Society.