Thomas Ryan

Thomas J. Ryan, age 88, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, at home.

Tom grew up in Bexley and was a childhood polio survivor. He credited the nursing skill of his mother, Alice Ryan with surviving polio. Her insistence on exercise made him strong, and he said that was one of the reasons he excelled in sports. At St. Charles, he was an all-city and all-state award winning football player.

He returned to St. Charles to coach football with the legendary Jack Ryan, and in retirement, he cheered on the teams of his grandson, Evan. Just last week, he was featured in St. Charles’ fall publication, The Cardinal.

Tom played football as a scholarship athlete at the University of Notre Dame under coach Frank Leahy. Upon returning to Columbus after a brief illness, Tom was recruited to play under coach Wayne Woodrow Hayes at The Ohio State University. 

He graduated with a degree in the fine arts and continued painting and sketching throughout his life. During summer semesters, Tom worked as an ambulance driver for his father, Michael Ryan, at Egan-Ryan Funeral Home.

Service to the country in the United States Marine Corps was an honor and a privilege for Tom. Among his several tours, he served for four years in Washington, D.C. at the Marine Corps Institute and separately at Marine Barracks Washington D.C. at Eighth and I Streets.

Tom led the Marine Corps Ceremonial Guard and the guard of the President of the United States at the White House during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.

While Tom rarely shared stories of his work in military service, he did enjoy telling stories of the antics of the Kennedy children, who often brightened his days. Tom’s family always wished he would tell stories of the White House and Camp David, but he never would, citing national security. While stationed in Japan, Tom hiked all four paths to the top of Mount Fuji. 

Following his military retirement, he pursued an entrepreneurial career with long stops in the restaurant industry and later in computer services and consulting until he retired when in his seventies to provide daily, loving care for his wife.

While many 80-year-olds settle down, Tom forged ahead at full steam. He published his first novel, “Terrorist Quest for Power” in April of 2021; read more about the novel here. He was recently interviewed by PatZi Gil, whose podcast, Joy on Paper, features many authors of best-selling books. Listen to the interview here.

During the COVID lockdown, Tom began writing his autobiography.

Even in his later years, Tom was engaged in his community, and on the day of his passing he was excited to join Bob Dilenschneider and his cousin Jan (Gigi) Dilenschneider at his alma mater Saint Charles Preparatory School’s annual Borromean Lecture. Truly, only death could keep him away.

Tom was most proud of his role as husband, grandfather, and father. He embraced these roles by attending any event his children and grandchildren were in. He could often be found on the sidelines with a Yorkie tucked into his coat. Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Alice Ryan, his wife of 58 years, Susan P. Ryan, and his son Cliff Ryan.

Tom is survived by his son T.J. (Terise) Ryan, his beloved grandchildren Evan, Nina, Anne, Clayton, and Sable, his Yorkie, Princess Grace, and many dear friends.

Tom’s family would like to thank the many friends and family who shared their time and their gracious thoughtfulness throughout his life, and particularly during Sue’s illness and during the period following Sue’s passing. Your kindness was so important to Tom and will be forever appreciated.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Saint Charles using this link. For more information and to share your condolences, visit

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