John J. Ryan Jr.

John J. Ryan Jr.
World Trade Center

A Born Equity Trader

For John J. Ryan Jr., going to work on Wall Street was a natural: his father, John Sr., had been an equity trader. So, in due course, was his younger brother Patrick. "It was in the blood," said Patrick Ryan, who works for J. P. Morgan. ''We all have the personality where we get on with people, which you need. That and a sense of humor. And I guess we all like the energy you get on Wall Street."

John Ryan Jr. — known to his friends as J.R. — began his lifelong commute to downtown Manhattan at the age of 14, when he traveled from Suffern, N.Y., to attend Xavier High School on West 16th Street. Later, after graduating from Holy Cross College, he began work at a bank. At age 45, he was still commuting, from West Windsor, N.J., where he lived with his wife, Patricia, and their three children, to a job as an equity sales trader for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

In an age of electronic trading, Mr. Ryan prided himself on an old-fashioned relationship with his longstanding clients. "He was very customer-oriented," said Mrs. Ryan, who also once worked on a Wall Street trading desk. "He learned the right way, from the old school."

Those clients may not have known a few other things about Mr. Ryan: his fanatical devotion to the rock band the Who, or how he could easily have become a history teacher or a high school coach. He may have worked hard, but he was still a "hands-on father," Patrick Ryan said.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 2, 2001.

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