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James  Marcell Ryan
  • James M. Ryan Memorial Scholarship Fund at St. Philip Catholic Central School
    63 North 24th Street
    Battle Creek, MI 49015

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“I have memories of Jim as my math teacher. Mr. Rayn was so animated in his teaching style! I loved when he walked the number line. :) I became a...Read More »
1 of 11 | Posted by: Lucy Sailor - Commerce Township, MI

“I delighted in Mr. Ryan's geometry classes my freshman year at St. Phil. He would take the time to tell us about his family. The first a little Lad...Read More »
2 of 11 | Posted by: Suzanna Kay Carney - GA

“God Bless you all as this faithful saw the part at the mercy of God rest in peace. I don't remember all my teachers but I will always remember Mr....Read More »
3 of 11 | Posted by: Lynn VanGeisonCulver Culver - MI

“Mr. Ryan was one of my teachers at st. Philip in Battle Creek. He made teaching fun! He's very passionate and entertaining. Hey remember he taught us...Read More »
4 of 11 | Posted by: Susan Haan - Kalamazoo, MI

“Dear Joyce, God bless and sustain you, your sons and their families at this time of great loss. Having known you for so many years, it was an honor...Read More »
5 of 11 | Posted by: Marilynn Miles - Battle Creek, MI

“Thinking of you, Joyce and family. Jim was a wonderful man to work with at St. Philip. He always had a smile and a kind word to share. You will...Read More »
6 of 11 | Posted by: Brenda Sohlich - Florence, KY

“Thinking of you, Joyce and family. Jim was a wonderful man to work with at St. Philip. He always had a smile and a kind word to share. You will...Read More »
7 of 11 | Posted by: Brenda Sohlich - KY - Coworker

“Mrs Ryan, I am truly sorry for your loss. Mr Ryan was a kind and patient man, as evidenced by his tolerance for all of us math whizzes in high...Read More »
8 of 11 | Posted by: Tom Zavitz - Battle Creek, MI

“I'm so sorry to hear about Mr. Ryan's passing. My love and prayers go out to the Ryan family.Mr Ryan was one of my favorite teachers at St. Philip....Read More »
9 of 11 | Posted by: Sandra Haan Humes - South Haven, MI

“Mr Ryan was an excellent teacher!<3 ”
10 of 11 | Posted by: Karenn Vernagus - Lansing, MI

“Many many good memories of Jim at Saint Philip he was a sweet man ”
11 of 11 | Posted by: Ed Ponscheck - Battle Creek, MI


Love Emblem

James M. Ryan, 86, passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long fight with Lewy Body Dementia on April 2, 2018, with his family by his side.

James, known as Jim or Mr. Ryan to his students, was born June 20, 1931, in Monroe, Mich., to Thomas and Lezetta (Saum) Ryan. He was the third of five children, with Rosemary, Thomas, Patricia and John.

Jim went to high school at Monroe Catholic Central and began his collegiate studies at the University of Detroit, but followed his calling to Notre Dame to become a Holy Cross Brother. After completing his training and taking his vows, he finished his bachelor's degree at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, where he began his 42-year teaching career at various Catholic schools in Austin, Long Beach, New Orleans, Wichita Falls and Miami. In 1970, he settled in Battle Creek, Mich., to teach math at St. Philip Catholic Central, where "he walked the number line" with thousands of students until his retirement in 1997. He also met Joyce Jacobs, who taught across the hall from Jim at St. Philip, in 1970. They were married on a snowy Saturday, April 3, 1971, at St. Rose of Lima Church in Hastings, Mich.

Jim was passionate about maps, driving and travel. He and Joyce spent their honeymoon driving through 15 states in eight days. His new wife quickly learned what was in store for them. They had three children, Peter, Daniel and Michael. Jim, Joyce and the boys traveled throughout the country almost entirely by car, and once in a Winebago. Jim visited 49 of the 50 states (because there is not yet a bridge to Hawaii), as well as Canada and Mexico. He was even brave enough to drive through the countryside in Ireland.

As their sons grew, Jim and Joyce continued their travels to support them as they performed with the Battle Creek Boychoir, the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club and The Friars, and various opera companies in Santa Fe, Banff and Portland, Maine. Those travels continued as their five grandchildren became active in various performances, productions and activities.

Jim loved spending time with his children and grandchildren and lived by the Ryan Family Motto he created: "All the guys together!" Jim loved warm weather and the beach, particularly his frequent trips to Clay Banks on the shores of Lake Michigan, at ports of call from Caribbean cruise ships and to Cozumel, Mexico. Jim was a devout Catholic and was very involved in the St. Philip parish, including the countless overnight hours he spent in the Adoration Chapel. He was kind, generous, warm, had a delightful sense of humor and was well liked by all who met him, especially by the amazing staff at his final residence, Evangelical Home of Michigan in Saline, Mich.

James M. Ryan was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Lezetta (Saum) Ryan; his siblings: Rosemary Phelan, Thomas Ryan and Patricia Kane. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Joyce (Jacobs) Ryan, formerly of Battle Creek, Mich., now of Ann Arbor, Mich.; his brother, John Ryan, and wife, Ginna, of Portage, Mich.; his children, Peter Ryan and his wife, Alice, of Bellevue, Wash.; Daniel Ryan and his wife, Heather, of North Andover, Mass.; and Michael Ryan and his wife, Maryann, of Ann Arbor, Mich. Jim was also blessed with five grandchildren, Noah and Isabelle (Peter), Madeleine (Daniel), and Maggie and Rosemary (Michael).

A visitation will take place from 4 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, 2018, at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home, 105 Capital Ave., N.E., Battle Creek, MI 49017, and a funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, April 27, 2018, at 11 a.m., officiated by Rev. Father John Fleckenstein at St. Philip Roman Catholic Church- 92 Capital Avenue N.E., Battle Creek, MI 49017. All are welcome to the luncheon following the mass in St. Philip Parish Center.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the James M. Ryan Memorial Scholarship Fund at St. Philip Catholic Central School, 63 North 24th Street, Battle Creek, MI 49015. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home, as well as at the church.