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Thomas Fortune Ryan IV

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Thomas Fortune Ryan IV Obituary
A memorial Mass is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19, 2011, at St. Peter's Catholic Church for Thomas Fortune Ryan IV, who passed away Monday, May 16, 2011, at Eastern New Mexico Medical Center in Roswell after a brief illness. Father Juan Antonio Gutierres, OFM, of St. John's Catholic Church will officiate. A memorial celebration of life will follow at 5:30 p.m. at Esperanza Developmental Services at 72 Earl Cummins Loop West RIAC (big blue building). The service and celebration are not formal; in fact, please dress colorfully at the request of the deceased.
Thomas was a native New Mexican, born in Carrizozo on Sept. 23, 1947. He was the only son of Thomas F. Ryan III, of Philadelphia, Pa., and Henrietta Agustina Neys Ryan, of Java, Indonesia. He was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy Sanchez Ryan, of Tularosa, who died in 1972.
He is survived by his son Thomas F. Ryan V, of Las Cruces; sister Victoria Ryan, of Patzcuaro Michoacan, Mexico; sister Caroline Crawford, of Alamogordo; sister Irene Denae, of Prescott, Ariz.; half-sisters Mary Jane Saidy and Patricia McGuinness, of Hillsborough, Calif.; and nieces and nephews Autumn Michelle Ryan, of Santa Fe, Thia Denae, of Tucson, Ariz., Naiz Denae, of Santa Fe, Alicia Applin, of San Francisco; and Carolina Gaskins, of Carrizozo.
"Forty," as he was known, had many fond memories of growing up riding horses and working on the Three Rivers Ranch, where he married the love of his life, Dorothy Sanchez Ryan, and had his wonderful son Tommy. He lived in La Jolla, Calif., for a period of his younger life, but his love of horses and his love of the Southwest kept him in New Mexico almost all of his life.
Forty touched the lives of many people during his 63 years. He will be remembered by every life he touched, whether it was a long acquaintance or short one. His rough and tough cowboy exterior only masked the funny, caring person he was inside. Forty was a character and everyone who loved him has a favorite "Forty" story. Forty meant a lot of things to a lot of people in his lifetime. He was an inspiration to many people. He held people close to his heart. Not everyone had the patience, love or ability to develop the kind of understanding it took to know him, but those who made the effort were rewarded with a new vision of life and a new perspective of what made Forty so special.
Forty left a permanent imprint on the hearts of those who loved him the most. His crooked smile and somber giggle could bring joy and illuminate any dark room. With his presence he could sometimes melt the coldest of hearts.
Forty lived in a different world and by a different life code than the average human being. He loved and cherished deeply, and if you were touched by him you were changed for the better. Forty possessed the innocence that every human strives for and the heart as big as a shining star. Forty was the friend who made you re-evaluate your position in life and truly appreciate every breath, every joy and every sorrow.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to charities doing research in the area of traumatic brain injury or developmental disability.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from May 19 to June 19, 2011
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