John R. Ryan Obituary
Calumet – John R. Ryan, age 92, passed away at his home on Saturday, August 7, surrounded by his family.
John was born in Calumet on April 3, 1929, a son of Charles and Stephanie (Kobe) Ryan. He graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Laurium in 1946. He served in the Army Reserve and was a member of the 107th Engineer Association. He attended Michigan Technological University majoring in business administration and graduated from Wisconsin School of Mortuary Science in 1951.
John met Marguerite J. (Grahek) Ryan at the Memorial Hospital in Laurium where she worked as a registered nurse. John and Marguerite married on September 26, 1953, at St. Joseph Church in Calumet. They had six children. John Ryan owned and operated the Ryan Funeral Home, taking over management after his father was injured as a Calumet Fire Department firefighter in 1950.
John gave a lifetime of service to the community. He was a member for seventy years of the Knights of Columbus. In 1960, John was the youngest mortician appointed to the Board of Examiners of Mortuary Science at the age of 31 by then Gov. John Swainson. John was a founding member of the Houghton County Airport Authority, serving as Vice Chairman from 1968 until the late seventies. The Airport Authority secured funding and drove planning and construction of the present-day Houghton County Airport and Houghton County Memorial Airport Industrial Airpark. He served as the acting president of the Coppertown USA Development Corporation, fostering industrial and tourism development in the area. He also served on the Copper Country Area Industrial Council as treasurer.
He was a lifetime active member of the Elks 404 for seventy-one years. He also served for many years as a member of the Lions Club and on the Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, serving for a time as president of the chamber. He also served the March of Dimes National Foundation for years. He also was a longtime member of the CLK Sportsmen’s Club and the CLK Rotary.
John was a cherished unofficial local historian of the Copper Country, often consulted for historical context across a broad range of subjects. He had a wealth of stories about the history of the local copper industry, businesses, and the local people.
John is survived by his four sons John (Colleen) of St Clair Township, MI, Timothy of Calumet, Robert of Houghton, David (Ann) of Ann Arbor, and two daughters Mary (Michael) Straneva of Paradise Valley, AZ, and Patricia (Darren) of Reno, NV. Also surviving are grandchildren Jolene (Jeff) Rosseter, Anne, Ryan and Kate Straneva, Thomas, and Keri Ryan and one great-grandchild, Claire Marguerite Rossetter. He was preceded in death by his wife Marguerite in 2014, his sister Mary Pat in 2020, and his brother Charles in 2021.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, August 14 at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Calumet with the Rev. Fr. Gracious Pulimoottil to officiate, followed by a burial at Lake View Cemetery in section H. Friends may call on Friday from 2 to 5p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Ryan Funeral Home, with Elks Toast at 7 p.m. and Parish Prayers at 8 p.m. A luncheon will be served on Saturday, August 14 at 1p.m. in the basement of St Anne’s Church. View the obituary on ryanfhcalumet.com. Donations can be made to St. Paul the Apostle Church or the Keweenaw County Historical Society. A livestream of the service will be available from the Keweenaw Catholic Community YouTube channel.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John R Ryan, please visit our floral store.