SPARTA - Donald Joseph Ryan, 89, went home to the Lord on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 at Valley View Care Center in Newton.
Donald was born in the Bronx, N.Y., to Joseph and Rose Ryan, and resided in Sparta. He was called "Father Don" for the compassion and empathy he had for everyone and never judged. He combined a first-class mind with a quick, warm wit. His sincere smile signaled his eager, true enthusiasm towards life and other people. He was a good man.
Don taught for more than 60 years, retaining to the end the ability to share his knowledge with clarity and humor. While teaching at Teaneck High School, his cross country and track teams won county championships. He was chairman of the English Department at Northern Highland's Regional High School. His philosophy classes at Sussex County Community College were always popular and well attended. He was a master teacher.
Donald was predeceased by his sister, Dorothy Ryan Boranian, and his beloved son, Stephen Michael Ryan. Surviving him are his loving wife of 55 years, Barbara Louise (Ellis); a son, Donald Gerard, of California; a daughter, Kathleen Patricia, of Haddonfield; and a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews. He was truly a loving family man and will be deeply missed by all.
Barbara Ryan wishes to extend her deep gratitude to the nurses and aides at Valley View Care Center. Her husband received continual care that was most knowledgeable and professional, and always given with respect and warm, loving attention.
Family and friends are invited today, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m., to Goble Funeral Home, 22 Main St., Sparta. A 10 a.m. funeral liturgy will be celebrated Monday, Aug. 18, at Saint Kateri Tekakwitha R.C. Church, 427 Stanhope Road, Sparta.
Published in The New Jersey Herald on Aug. 17, 2014