Cover photo for Michael John Ryan's Obituary
Michael John Ryan Profile Photo
1948 Mike 2023

Michael John Ryan

July 3, 1948 — October 25, 2023



Mike Ryan of Lodi, age 75, died on October 25th at Oakwood Village Prairie Ridge in Madison, following a fairly brief but brutal illness.

Michael John Ryan was born on July 3, 1948, to Donald M. Ryan and Josephine Burns Ryan. The second child and first son, Mike is survived by an older sister, Patricia Kaiser (Val) of Monument, CO, a younger sister, Mary Ryan-Miller (Thomas Miller) of Eau Claire, and a younger brother, Robert (Marcia) of Orland Park, IL. He is also survived by his niece, Allison Ryan Guarino (Peter) of Wheaton, IL, and by his nephew, David Ryan (Lauren) of Naperville, IL. In addition he is survived by a grandnephew, Elliot Guarino and a grandniece, Hope Guarino, both of Wheaton. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Mike lived an active, involved life, which can perhaps be summarized by three features. First, Mike was devoted to family and place. Like his father, Mike lived most of his life in Lodi, with the exception of higher education (at UW Stevens Point) and military service. Professionally, he worked for the federal government, principally in Madison. But for most of his working life, he lived in or near Lodi. For the last 20 years he lived in a house which he had built on Ryan family land on Lake Wisconsin, just eight minutes outside of Lodi. He particularly loved his home on the lake and even toward the end, he made certain that Mary and Bob were taking care of the home to which he longed to return. He was devoted to his niece and nephew and to Elliot and Hope—he loved being with them and was a model uncle. He was close to both Mary and Bob and the three of them, with Marcia and Tom, tried to get together as often as possible, usually at Mike’s lake home and frequently at Mike’s condo in Fort Myers Beach, FL. He had been a model son, supportive of both his parents in their later years. Especially after his father died Mike was an invaluable support to his mother. Like his parents, he loved south Florida, and continued to spend much of the winter at the condo in Fort Myers Beach, especially after he retired. It would be nearly impossible to separate Mike from the Ryan family or his ties to Lodi and Fort Myers Beach.

A second defining feature of Mike’s life was the number of his many and wide-ranging friendships. He had good friends from all aspects of his life and maintained friendships which dated to his grade school years. He maintained good friends from his professional connections, and those friendships continued after retirement. He enjoyed entertaining and his game dinners and beer-can chicken were legendary. The breadth of his friendships became especially apparent in his last illness. He had visits by friends he knew from Florida who literally came from all over the country to visit him in the hospital and at Oakwood. Friends from all aspects of his life visited frequently, in some instances nearly daily. Clearly Mike was a great friend and will be missed by many.

Finally, Mike loved the outdoors and nature. He avidly hunted and fished and enjoyed art works which depicted outdoor activities. One of the aspects of his home on the lake which he especially appreciated was the changing seasons and the wildlife which frequented the region. He took pictures of eagles, herons, muskrats, and other creatures as well as sunsets, fall colors, winter scenes, and whatever he found interesting around him. He loved to cruise on Lake Wisconsin on his pontoon and enjoy the beauties the lake presented. When he was in Florida, he continued to enjoy the outdoors, taking walks, photographing birds and animals, sunsets, and seascapes. His homes, both in Wisconsin and Florida, abound with evidence of his love of nature.

The sense of loss which his family and friends feel is mitigated by the wonderful memories he left behind. Fortunately, his last illness lasted only a few months and he continued to live life as he enjoyed it as much as he could right to the end. The family especially wishes to express appreciation to Dr. Doug Hobson, palliative care specialist at SSM St. Mary’s, and particularly to nurse practitioner Polly Boynton, also of SSM. Polly was indispensable during Mike’s last days—caring, compassionate, at the same time candid and direct. She was always available to communicate with Mary and Bob at nearly any hour of the day or night.

Given the number of his friends with who he spent many pleasant days, and who visited him frequently during his last illness, it is unfortuate that space allows the family to identify specifically only two.  First, thanks Mike’s colleague and friend, John Grall, and his partner, Maria Schumacher for years of pontoon rides, shared meals, special friendship, and frequent visits until the very end of his life. Also, special thanks are due to Mike’s friend and neighbor, Steve Dick, who truly went the extra mile. Among Steve’s last words to Mike were these which many would echo. A member of the Menominee Nation, Steve told Mike the Menominee people don’t ever say ‘goodbye’ but ‘see you later.’ Steve added when he last spoke to Mike, ‘I will see you on the other side.’

At Mike’s request, there will be no formal memorial service. But watch for a future party to celebrate Mike’s life in a way he would enjoy. In Mike’s memory please feel free to make a donation to a charity of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michael John Ryan, please visit our flower store.


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