Donald John Ryan passed away at age 89 in Kalispell Regional Medical Center on Jan. 19, 2018.
He was born in Chicago, Nov. 26, 1928, to Matthew and Irene-Franz Ryan. He grew up in the Depression years performing a variety of early jobs, largely in the fuel industry. In spite of the financial difficulties of that time the family enjoyed the closeness and sound principles provided by traditional church and family relationships prevalent in Chicago suburb neighborhoods. Close friendships formed at Resurrection Grammar school remained strong throughout their lifetimes, including Don’s.
A brilliant, talented young scholar, Don’s thirst for knowledge and ardent reading of books started at a very early age and followed him throughout his life. He attended St. Ignatius High School, with a high scholastic rating, followed by St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, and then DePaul University College in Chicago where he obtained his law degree. He also obtained a degree as certified public accountant. He immediately enlisted in the Armed Service, entering Camp Roberts in California in 1952 followed by assignment and honorable discharge from the Presidio in San Francisco in 1958.
Early in his legal career Donald held positions with the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Security & Exchange Commission before becoming a partner in Foss, Schuman and Drake law firm with offices on LaSalle Street in Chicago. Here his clients included major corporations for which he performed all aspects of business law with a specialty in corporate tax.
His love of sports, starting with football, drew him into golf, tennis and skiing. As Chicago was not blessed with a mountain, the 800-member Oak Park Ski Club provided ski trips to slopes throughout the United States. Through this he met and married, in 1975, Clarice Fiala, also a ski enthusiast living in the Wheaton, Illinois, area. Together they enjoyed ski trips to Canada, France, Switzerland and Spain. Throughout life Don’s great sense of humor and quick wit gained him many friends. Among these was a small group skiing with Stein Erickson, who became well known for his graceful reverse-shoulder style, which Don adopted to perfection. It was largely skiing and their love of the mountains that attracted Don and Clarice to Montana where, in l992, they moved to their retirement home in Bigfork.
His musical talent was exhibited when playing and composing on his piano combined with creative writing of novels, one of which he was recently editing in preparation for publishing. Providing background for his writing and basic philosophies were various vacation trips, which included Europe, Czech Republic, Ireland, Turkey and China.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, older brother Matthew Ryan, his sister Eileen and brother-in-law Charles Buchanan.
Don will be greatly missed by his 10 nieces and nephews with whom he was greatly involved and cared for.
Future “Memories of Don” events are being planned for Montana friends (date to be announced) and another primarily for family members in the Eastern states.
A scholarship fund in Don Ryan’s name is being established by the writers group, “Authors of the Flathead,” of which he was a longtime active member. Contributions in support of those seeking expertise in writing skills may be sent to Authors of the Flathead, P.O. Box 7711, Kalispell, MT 59904-0711.