SSG James W. Ryan, US Army (Ret.)

Augusta, GA –  SSG James Willbur Claiborne Ryan,  US Army (Ret.), 86, beloved husband of sixty years to Bernice Margery Doel Ryan, of Ohio Ave, entered  into eternal glory, Saturday, August 13, 2011 at the Charlie Norwood Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, August 18, at 3:00 PM from Fleming Baptist Church, 3027 Peach Orchard Rd, with Pastor Billy Atkins officiating.  Interment will follow in Hillcrest Memorial Park.

Mr. Ryan was born in South Bend, IN on December 15, 1924, to Carmen Mary Morris Ryan and Kenneth Leon Ryan.  Most of his childhood was spent in Miami and Wabash Counties in Indiana.  He enlisted in the US Army in 1947, beginning a military career of over twenty-five years.  During his military service he was awarded numerous medals and commendations.  Besides numerous domestic posts throughout the United States, he served his country overseas in Panama, England, Germany, France, Greenland, Vietnam, and Okinawa.  Having received orders for South Korea in 1950 during the Korean War, his future was to be transformed when his orders were unexpectedly changed to an assignment in England instead.  Through a chance encounter there, he met the young English servicewoman in the Royal Air Force who was to become his wife for nearly sixty-one years, and the mother of his seven sons.

The Ryan family came to Augusta in 1962, following then Specialist Ryan’s assignment to civil affairs at Fort Gordon.  Following overseas assignments to Greenland, Vietnam, and Okinawa, he returned to Fort Gordon and retired in 1972 as a staff sergeant with the Signal Corps, choosing to make Augusta the permanent home for his family.  He then attended and graduated from Augusta College (now Augusta State University) with a Bachelor’s degree.  He worked for several years in administration for the Salvation Army.

Mr. Ryan was a lifelong member of the Miami Nation of Indians in Indiana, where he was known as “Mishikinawa” (Little Turtle) of the Mongosa clan, named after the great Miami Indian warchief.  He was very proud of his Native heritage from his mother, and passed this pride to his children.  He was the last surviving member of the Miami Indian Pageants from the 1920’s and his family tribal photograph from the 1927 pageant was prominently displayed in his home.

Mr. Ryan was a member of Fleming Baptist Church and was previously a member of Burns Memorial United Methodist Church, where he and his wife sang for many years in the choir.  He was also a member of the Men’s Club, the Happy Club, and Urban Ministries.  He was an avid photographer and gardener.  He was also a voracious reader throughout his adult life and a frequent patron of the Appleby Library.  Even as his Alzheimer’s disease steadily progressed in his later years and impaired other activities, he retained his passion for his daily crossword puzzles.  To the very end, he continued to entertain family and visitors with songs and hymns.  Although grieving his passing, his family rejoices in the certain knowledge that he is now at rest in the heavenly kingdom.

His family would like to give special thanks to Ms. Jalecia Holmes of Rest Assured LLC, and Mrs. Bobby Montgomery and the other members of the homebound ministry of Fleming Baptist Church for all of their help and care during Mr. Ryan’s final years.

Mr. Ryan was preceded in death by his parents; two younger brothers, Kenneth Leland Ryan and Paul Nathaniel Ryan; his eldest son, Kevin W. Ryan; his niece Elizabeth M. Ryan, and his great grandson Jody Nathaniel Clyburn.

In addition to his beloved wife, he is survived by his sons, James A. Ryan and his wife, Eileen, of McKinney, TX, Steven P. Ryan, Patrick W. Ryan and his wife, Teresa, of Aubrey, TX, Jeffrey M. Ryan, of Augusta, GA, Timothy D. Ryan, Sr and his wife, Alisa, of Hephzibah, GA, and Christopher S. Ryan and his wife, Carolyn, of Sanger, TX; seventeen grandchildren:  William F. Ryan, Robert W. Ryan, Shannan D. Ryan, Clinton Ryan, Travis Ryan, Jonathan D. Ryan, Jason M. Ryan (Heather), Kristen Mary Ryan, Kyle A. Ryan, Damon P. Stagakes, Emily S. Ryan Romig (Justin), Timothy David Ryan, Jr., Jeffrey Paul Ryan, Alan J. Ryan, Meagan E. Ryan, Dorothy K. Ryan, and Sean David Hinson; and seven great grandchildren.

If so desired memorial contributions may be made to the Fleming Baptist Church Building Fund, 3027 Peach Orchard Rd, Augusta, GA 30906, or to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1899 Central Ave, Augusta, GA 30904.

The family will receive friends Wednesday, August 17, from 7:00 until 9:00 PM at the funeral home.

Chance & Hydrick Funeral Directors 2502 Richmond Hill Road, Augusta, Georgia 30906.



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