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Ferrell Spencer Ryan


1930 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Ferrell Spencer Ryan Obituary
Ferrell Spencer Ryan passed away on July 7 at age 88 after a brief illness, surrounded by family in Brevard, NC. He will be laid to rest by his family at Arlington Memorial Park in Atlanta, GA on July 11 at 1:00 PM. A service celebrating his life will follow at 2:00 PM at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, where Ferrell served as a deacon for many years. Arrangements are by H.M. Patterson & Son. The family has requested donations in lieu of flowers to Wears Valley Ranch, 100 One Fine Place, Sevierville, TN 37862 in accordance with his wishes.

Ferrell was born and raised in Selma, AL before earning his business degree at Auburn University. After serving in the Army during the Korean War, Ferrell married his high-school sweetheart Rhonwyn on December 8, 1952. They raised 4 children in Signal Mountain, TN and Atlanta, GA as Ferrell's pharmaceutical sales career burgeoned. After founding Georgia's first pharmaceutical company, Ferrell shepherded Reid Rowell's growth using innovative product development and strategic acquisitions before overseeing its sale to Solvay Pharmaceuticals. He was known for his integrity and a warmth that could nurture consensus in a room of adversaries. Renowned as the grandfather of the state's pharmaceutical industry for advising and assisting his peers in establishing more than 10 other successful pharmaceutical and life science companies, Ferrell was awarded the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award by Georgia BIO for "incredible inspiration to entrepreneurs and innovators throughout his career."

What set Mr. Ryan apart as both a businessman and family man was his unerring positivity and willingness to give. One protege he helped along the way said "Ferrell was the 'high tide' - everyone around him was raised up." As the family's patriarch, "Pop" built a tightly-woven extended family around his generosity and loving-kindness. Though they will miss his guiding presence, Ferrell's family will forever carry forward his character and grace. Though a 2014 article dubbed him "The Entrepreneurial Encourager", he was ultimately the man he often recounted in describing a new friend or associate - "the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet."

Ferrell is predeceased by his mother Ethel S. Ryan, father Benjamin A. Ryan, brother, James A. Ryan, sister, Nelda R. Gray, and granddaughter, Maggie W. Bonesteel. He is survived by his wife of 65 years Rhonwyn; his children Ophelia Annette Ryan, Ferrell Spencer Ryan, Jr., Lynn Ryan Walker (Ray), and Rhonwyn Ryan Bonesteel (Paul); his grandchildren Ferrell Spencer Ryan, III (Molly), Benjamin Waid Ryan, Kate Malone Parsons, Anne Ferrell Walker, Jonah Wolven Bonesteel, and Luke Aklilu Bonesteel; and his great-grandson James Augustus Ryan.

Ryan, Ferrell Spencer
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from July 10 to July 11, 2018
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