Kathleen Ryan Topley, 98, passed away Saturday, November 26, 2022. Born in Trenton NJ on September 18, 1924, Kathleen was the daughter of John J. Ryan and Mary H. Applegate. She was raised on Main Street in the Village of Lawrenceville in Grandmother Applegate’s family home by her Mother and Step-Father, Lester Hart, enjoying all the trappings of the large and diverse family.
A few days after graduating from Princeton High School in 1942, Kathleen started her career with Bell Telephone as a switchboard operator. She worked for Bell Telephone / Verizon through her retirement in 1983. Kathleen was one of the first woman supervisors at Bell Telephone. Her “Telephone Company Stories” were a continued source of entertainment and historical significance. She was a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America.
She met her husband, Leroy (Buzzy) Topley at a dance in 1946 and married in 1948, later making their home on Cold Soil Road, Lawrence Twp.
In 1995, following the death of her loving husband, Kathleen moved to Pennington Point where she lived out her years, still an independent force to be reckoned with.
Kathleen’s friends and family knew her as a fun-loving, adventuresome soul who was always keen on telling stories about family. She was an avid genealogist who spent decades researching her roots, in particular the Hullfish and Applegate families of Lawrenceville.
She loved to cook and be cooked for, she was famous for her tomato noodles and pot roast with gravy……she made the best gravy and, if you cared to know, she’d tell you the secret.
Predeceased by her Sister Janice Ryan Blackwell and Step-Siblings, John Hart, Sr, Claire Cranstoun, Doris Hunt.
Kathleen is survived by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins from the Applegate, Hart, Hullfish, and Topley families, her friend Jeffrey Wittkop, her good friends and remaining Musketeers, Maureen Hoppe and Laura Kent (Lori), and more friends and acquaintances than can be mentioned here, however all meticulously documented in her volumes of memoirs kept since childhood.
An evening visitation for Kathleen will be held from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on Thursday, December 1, 2022 at Blackwell Memorial Home, 21 N. Main St, Pennington, NJ 08534. As a long-time parishioner of the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, 2688 Main Street (Route 206), Lawrenceville, NJ 08648, a morning visitation will be held on Friday, December 2, 2022 from 10:00-10:45AM at the church followed by a funeral service at 11:00 AM. Burial will be at the Lawrenceville Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville or the Lawrenceville Historical Society.