Dr. Donald Ryan, Ph.D

Dr. Donald F. Ryan, Ph.D

Thursday, July 24th, 1930 - Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
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Donald F. Ryan PHD, 89, of 4 Valcour Blvd., Cliff Haven Plattsburgh, NY, passed away June 16, 2020 surrounded by his family. He was born, one of nine children, in Syracuse, NY on July 24, 1930, son of the late William D. Ryan and the late Clara (Domres) Ryan. In his younger years, he enjoyed playing many sports including baseball and was recruited to attend spring training for the Boston Braves in 1948. He was drafted into the U.S. Army on 7/17/1951 to serve at Yakima, Washington at Fort Lawton during the Korean War as a corporal. He was honorably discharged from active duty on July 16, 1953. He remained in the Army Reserve until September 10th, 1959. He used the GI Bill to attend Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY where he earned his B.S. and then completed his Post Doctorate in Physics at Catholic University in Washington D.C.
During this time, he met the love of his life, Julia Mary McEntee. They were married on September 12, 1959 in Syracuse, NY. Together, they built a home, a family, and a life, moving from Washington D.C. to Plattsburgh, NY, in the summer of 1966 where he became a professor at SUNY Plattsburgh in the Physics Dept. and then later served as Chair of that department for many years. He retired in 1996. An active member of the Catholic Church throughout his life, he attended daily mass, joined the Knights of Columbus, supported many charities and served for years as a Hospice of the North Country volunteer. While he enjoyed his backyard gardening, bird watching and a good cup of coffee with friends, he loved physics, astronomy, his Catholic faith and most of all his family, he especially counted his grandchildren as God’s most wonderful blessings. He enjoyed playing and coaching baseball with his children when they were young, and he spent many hours sharing his deep awe and wonder of God’s universe with all his family whenever he had the chance.
Donald is survived by his seven children--Michael Ryan of Plattsburgh, NY, Gregory Ryan (Maureen Monaco) of Burlington, Mass., Patrick Ryan (Karin Bremer) of Oneonta, NY, Andrew Ryan (Jennifer Lu) of Atherton, CA., Frances Ryan (Kent Eldridge) of Plattsburgh, NY., Mary Michalak (Jim Michalak) of Hadley, Mass. and Matthew Ryan of Plattsburgh, as well as sixteen dearly-loved grandchildren: Savannah & Jacqueline Moore, Hannah, Kyra, Patrick, Margaret & Aidan Michalak, Gregory Jr., Robert, William, Thomas & Anna Ryan, Lucas Ryan McLean, Thomas & Jackson Ryan and Alix Bremer Ryan. Also, by his sisters-in-law, Jane Ryan, Patricia Hartung and Frances Peebles, and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Julia, on May 29, 2005 as well as his parents and all his siblings.
In accordance with current restrictions, calling hours will be held at Brown Funeral Home in Plattsburgh, NY from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 21st, 2020.
Similarly, a funeral mass and burial are planned for 10 a.m. on Monday, June 22nd at Our Lady of Victory Church and St. Peter’s Cemetery. Due to the pandemic face coverings and social distancing will be required.
A separate memorial mass will be planned for a later date. Donations to either St. Jude’s Children Hospital, The Wounded Warrior Project or Hospice of the North Country can be made in lieu of flowers in his memory.
He will be dearly missed and always remembered.
Arrangements are entrusted to Brown Funeral Home, Plattsburgh. Online condolences may be offered at
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, June 21st, 2020 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Sunday, June 21st, 2020 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Brown Funeral Home, Plattsburgh
    29 Broad Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Monday, June 22nd, 2020 | 10:00am
    Monday, June 22nd, 2020 10:00am
    Our Lady of Victory Church
    4919 South Catherine Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    St. Peter's Cemetery


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John W. Porter

Posted at 01:30pm
I was so sorry to hear about Dr Ryan’s passing. He was a great man that I began to admire and respect the first time I met him in 1996, as my Physics Professor. I soon came to realize if you couldn’t learn Physics from Dr Ryan than you probably should find something else to do. I thank him to this day for his great teaching I received from him at SUNY Plattsburgh. As I learned over the years we had a lot in common which only enhanced our friendship. He was a great mentor. I will always cherish our weekly Friday lunches and other occasional get togethers over tha many years since my graduation. My thoughts and prayers are with Don and his family who are surely missing their great Dad and my great friend.
John W. Porter

Richard Ceckowski

Posted at 12:41pm
I graduated from State University of New York at Plattsburgh in 1971 with a B.S. in Physics. Dr. Ryan was one of my physics professors. I thank him and the other professors for imparting me with the knowledge necessary to enable me for a career in defense industry engineering. If I remember correctly, Dr. Ryan wore a blue suit and a black tie when I was there. The last time I saw him was at a homecoming. My wife and I met with Dr. Graham who called in Dr. Ryan and Dr. Szydlik from home to meet us. At first I didn't recognize Dr. Ryan because he was wearing jeans and a plaid shirt instead of his blue suit and black tie. When I realized who he was I apologized to him that I didn't recognize him in his civilian clothes. In addition to being an outstanding professor, I remember Dr. Ryan as being very friendly and helpful. May Dr. Ryan rest in peace and condolences to his family. Rick Ceckowski and wife Catherine.

Robert Shea Jr.

Posted at 09:01am
My deepest sympathies with the Ryan family. Growing up, your parents always made me feel extraordinarily welcome in their home and I’m grateful for the memories. Rest In Peace, Dr. Ryan, and God bless you.

Eileen Roach

Posted at 07:18pm
My deepest sympathies. I remember Dr Ryan from my grade school days with the Ryan kids at St Augustine’s. More recently I would see him when I brought my mama to weekly mass at Meadowbrook. May he rest In peace and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Patricia Ha Du Bo

Posted at 07:13pm
Dear Ryan Clan,

I am so sorry for your loss. I will always remember how kind your father was. I also had the privilege of having him as a professor. Dr. Ryan was passionate when teaching physics and astronomy. He was well-liked and respected by all of his students.
You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Tricia Hauk DuBois


Steve Viau Posted at 08:48pm

I last saw Mr. Ryan in 2012 when I brought my daughter to visit colleges. We stopped in to see him and he was incredibly nice and welcoming to both of us. He always made me feel like family when I was at the house and for that I will be forever thankful. Sincerely, Steve Viau and family

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