James Francis Ryan
May 1943 - January 14, 2021
James Francis Ryan passed away on January 14, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. We take comfort that he is at peace, but our hearts ache as for the last six weeks of his life he was not able to see his cherished wife, Rose Mary, due to C19 protocols.
Jim was born in May of 1943, in Brooklyn, New York, to Patrick and Mary (Cunningham) Ryan. Jim grew up as the treasured baby brother to Tom and Jack. He attended Xavier High School in New York City, where he graduated with rank of First Lieutenant and as class valedictorian. Through Xavier's drama program, Jim found his feet. During these years, he met his best friend and future wife, Rose Mary Cacciolo. They married in 1965, one day prior to Jim graduating from St. Peter's University with a degree in Classic Studies, powering a life-long passion of reading Greek and Latin poetry in their original text.
With an effortless command of language and a voice to match, Broadway sought his talents, but Jim secured a role in corporate communications for IBM, Inc. as a speech writer and contributor for THINK magazine. When Dyker Heights and his'65 Ivy Green Mustang could no longer accommodate a growing family, Jim moved his clan to Westport, Connecticut in a more practical car. Jim's career was decorated by diligence IBM by day, teaching writing at Fairfield University by night. A prolific writer of his own accord, Jim's poetry and short stories were published in a variety of periodicals. In 1987, he made a creative jump to Zacks and Perrier, Inc. in New York City as Executive Producer, and eventual Partner. With clients such as AT&T, NBC, BMW, and IBM, Jim's talents literally came full circle. After a corporate merger, Jim became Chief Executive of Caribiner International's White Plains campus. With prospects on the western horizon, Jim joined Candle Corporation as Executive Producer and Senior Writer in 1997, splitting time between Santa Monica, California and Bozeman, Montana. Jim was honored to have his play, French Cuffs, selected as part of the 2005 Ojai Art Center Theater Co.'s One Act Festival. Jim was fortunate to retire within his own firm, The Partnership Works, which focused on speech writing and coaching.
Jim loved to tell a good story, whether written on paper or told aloud with perfect diction. A ham radio operator since his youth, Jim was an enthusiast of electronics and gadgets: his dexterity on an IBM selectric was legendary. He took theater seriously, relished in the sheer joy of Mel Brooks movies and was fascinated with the Weather Channel. Jim had a passport thick with stamps, yet preferred travel on his BMW-K75 motorcycle. He had a penchant for tassel loafers, fine watches, and his wife's chicken cacciatore. With an easy and calm kindness, Jim had a true interest in everyone's own unique story. He was a giver of great gifts, but the only gift Jim truly wanted from you was a phone call on New Years' Day.
Jim is survived by his wife of 55 years, Rose Mary; his daughter, Laura M. Ryan and her husband, J. Chris Naumann of Bozeman, Mont.; his son, Anthony J. Ryan and his wife Amanda, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and grandchildren, James Christopher Naumann, Joseph T. Ryan, and Lila E. Ryan.
In his last months, Jim revisited the lyrics of the archaic Greek poet, Sappho. A former professor once told him to memorize her verses, so that when he was an old man, he could readily recall what was meant by civilization. We are abundantly grateful that Sappho offered Jim final solace. "The Moon is setting, And so are the Pleiades. It is the middle of the night; Everything is still, And I, I sleep alone."
In lieu of flowers, the Ryan family wishes to support the Xavier Dramatics Society at Xavier High School in New York City. Please make donations payable to: Xavier High School with the memo "In Memory of James F. Ryan '61 for Dramatics" to Xavier High School, 30 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 or at www.xavierhs.org/XDS