The Donut Friar Mourning Loss of 'Matriarch" Carolyn Ryan

“Generations of families know her and looked forward to seeing her behind the counter.”

Carolyn Ryan The Donut Friar Gatlinburg
Photo: The Donut Friar

Sad news out of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Carolyn "Lynne" Ryan, the matriarch of The Donut Friar, died last week at the age of 90.

"Generations of families know her and looked forward to seeing her behind the counter. She worked until she was 89 years old, and people still regularly ask about her," The Donut Friar's Facebook announcement reads. "She was sweet, generous, and kind to her family, friends, and customers. Her legacy will live on."

Carolyn and James Ryan moved their family of seven to Gatlinburg in 1969 to start The Donut Friar in the city's European-style shopping village. The 52-year-old doughnut shop was the first shop to open at The Village Shops and is the only original store still standing today. It's also the second oldest continuously run family-owned food establishment in Sevier County.

James, who later remarried, died this past January at the age of 92.

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For more than 50 years, The Donut Friar has been putting out perfect powdered cake doughnuts, French crullers, Bavarian cream-filled wonders, cinnamon twists, chocolate glazed, coconut coated, and rainbow-sprinkle covered treats. To this day, they're lauded as the best doughnut shop in Tennessee.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Ryan.

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