James M. Ryan, 88, died October 20, 2013 at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Jim was born July 3, 1925 in Los Angeles, California to Thomas and Ruth Ryan. He spent much of his childhood on Coronado Island graduating from Coronado High School in 1943. He joined the Army Air Corps during the war. Jim attended San Diego State and UCLA. In the early 1950's he came to Alaska looking for adventure which included a 1953 Denali attempt. Jim's first Alaska job was as a lineman for Chugach Electric. While there he walked through the Portage tunnel after the 1964 Earthquake to help restore power in Whittier. With a partner Jim founded and ran Alchem, constructing buildings through-out Alaska. He worked as an Operator for ARCO on the North Slope from 1977 until he retired in 1994.
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Jim met Paulette Hay when he and a buddy helped a group of newly arrived school-teachers move into their house. They were married in 1954, upsetting Paulette's plans to live in Alaska for "2 years at the most." The Ryans bought a house off a dirt lane that later became O'Malley Road. They also homesteaded on Liten Lake, a small lake near Big Lake. Many happy summer days were spent at the homestead. Jim never met a project he was afraid to tackle. He got the greatest satisfaction in starting a new project and figuring out how to make it work. Finishing the project was not always a priority.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and younger sister, Phyllis Kraus. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Paulette Ryan; son, Stephen (Katrina) Ryan and grandchildren, Megan and Eric Ryan; daughter, Phyllis (Rick) Rogers and grandchildren, Heidi and Emily Rogers; sister, Patricia Kroutil ,Carlsbad, California; and many nieces and nephews.
Jim will be remembered as a man who loved his family and who would do anything for them. He was a devoted husband, much loved father and grandfather.
Memorials may be sent to the
. Jim was cremated. A memorial will be held at a later date.
Published in Alaska Dispatch News from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4, 2013