Mary Ryan was born in Garryhill, Co. Carlow in 1898 to Malachy Ryan, who was a school teacher, and Mary Murphy.
After leaving school Mary moved to London where she worked in the Post Office section of the British Civil Service. At a dance in London, she met Stephen Hussey, a Londoner of Irish extraction. They married in 1922 and lived in London, first in East Acton and then in Barnes for many years.
Mary and Stephen had four daughters, all of whom moved to Dublin in their late teens or early twenties. Mary died in Dublin in 1950 having been taken ill on a visit to her daughters.