Former Durango resident Dr. Stephen Francis Ryan died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Haworth, N.J. He was 77.
Known as “Steve,” he was born to William and Dolores Ryan on June 6, 1935, in Durango. He graduated from Durango High School in 1953.
Dr. Ryan graduated from Regis College in 1957 and received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Colorado Medical School in 1961, where he was a Boettcher Scholar. He served his internship at the Columbia Division of Bellevue Hospital in New York City from 1961 to 1962, and his residency in pathology at the University of Colorado Medical Center from 1962 to 1964. Dr. Ryan was appointed a fellow in pathology studying electron microscopy in 1965.
On Sept. 16, 1957, he married Nancy Jane Poer at St. Columba Catholic Church in Durango.
His pathology career at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City lasted from 1966 to 2000, where he became chief of Anatomic Pathology and an expert in lung disease. Dr. Ryan also taught at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City from 1966 to 2000 and was named a professor in clinical pathology.
“Steve can be described as unassuming yet highly intelligent, a perfectionist, disciplined and hard working,” his family said. “Not least, he was a loving man. He was able with all of these attributes to resolve any of the challenges that he encountered during life. His family could count on him for common sense and practical advice. His sense of humor balanced him, and he had a quick wit, often making merriment in the moment.”
Dr. Ryan loved languages and spent his lunch hours maintaining his fluency in Spanish with the hospital staff members. In his earlier years, he studied the classical guitar, and later in life, he was a talented whistler. An avid sailor and oenophile, he also enjoyed spending time with his dog, Chico.
“He had an insatiable interest in everything, and two of his very favorite pastimes were listening to music and reading,” his family said. “He devoured books and scientific literature, and was able to discuss volumes of information, making for great conversation at work, at family dinners and with friends.”
Dr. Ryan is survived by his wife of almost 55 years, Nancy Ryan of Haworth, N.J.,; daughters Elaine Ryan of Brooklyn, N.Y., Elizabeth Ryan of Manhattan, N.Y., Celia Baney of Exton, Pa., and Lynne Andujar of Thousand Oaks, Calif.; brother, Thomas Ryan, of Pinole, Calif.,; sister, Diane Savell of Houston; two grandsons; and two nieces.
A remembrance ceremony was held Friday, June 27, 2012, at the family home.