Michael D. Ryan
Michael D. Ryan Arizona Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Michael D. Ryan passed away on Monday, January 30, 2012. He was 66. His friends, family, and colleagues are shocked and saddened by his sudden passing. Justice Ryan retired from the Arizona Supreme Court in August of 2010, after serving as a Judge in Arizona for more than 24 years. A lifelong community servant, his passing has left a huge loss for everyone who knew and loved him and for Arizonans who depended on him as a patient, careful and thoughtful jurist. Family and friends will remember Mike as a loving, kind, and thoughtful man. He found the love of his life early on and loved her until the day he died. Karen was his partner in life and his best friend, and together they raised three sons. In recent years, they became proud grandparents of two beautiful grandchildren. From 1974 through 2000, Mike and Karen cared for more than 80 high risk infants, before they were placed for adoption or returned to their birth parents. Colleagues of Justice Ryan will remember him as a brilliant legal mind. His kind, soft-spoken demeanor masked a fair and thoughtful jurist who managed his courtroom in a firm but respectful manner. His straightforward approach on the bench was respected by all who appeared before him, as well as those who served beside him. Even in retirement, Justice Ryan continued to serve the state as chairperson for several Supreme Court Committees and as visiting Justice on several cases. Throughout his career, he volunteered his time to numerous charitable and professional boards. He was a familiar face around the courthouse and spent part of his last day at the Supreme Court -- a place in the world he loved, filled with people who loved him. Before his appointment to the Supreme Court in 2002, Justice Ryan served on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, for more than five years and as a Judge of the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County for more than ten years. As a trial judge, Justice Ryan presided over a number of high-profile cases on the Maricopa County Superior Court, including AzScam, the Phoenix Suns' drug case, and the criminal trial of Governor Evan Mecham. Before becoming a judge, Justice Ryan was Deputy County Attorney in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, where he served in the major felony bureau and the office's sex crimes unit. Justice Ryan received his B.A. degree from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota in 1967. After college he served in the United States Marine Corps as an infantry platoon commander from 1967 to 1969. He received a medical retirement because of wounds received in combat in Vietnam and was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat "V" for heroism in combat. Justice Ryan came to Arizona in 1970 and later obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from Arizona State University Law School in 1977. Justice Michael Ryan is survived by his wife Karen, sons Michael (Michelle), Kevin, and Chris (Jenny), grandchildren Alicia and Aidan, sisters Kathy (Jim Elson), and Megan (Bob Kline), brothers Matthew and Patrick, nieces Mary and Cassandra, and scores of adoring Minnesota cousins. The Justice was predeceased by his parents Don and Kay, and beloved brother Sean and sister-in law Janice. A funeral mass will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church 4715 N Central Ave Phoenix, AZ on Friday, February 3, 2012 at 3:00PM with visitation one hour before. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. www.mcsf.org/judgeryan www.semperfifund.org

Click here to view the obituary as it appeared in print.
Published by The Arizona Republic from Feb. 2 to Feb. 3, 2012.
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22 Entries
I was fortunate enough to have worked as a volunteer for Mike at the Maricopa County Attorney office. What an honor to learn from such a wonderful man. One day at the law library, I don't think he understood my emotion, so I confessed that I was totally puzzled by someone like him showing me so much respect. A lesson I will always carry with me, until we meet again. I can't imagine the loss his family feels, but I do know he would want you to be happy.
February 18, 2021
Dear Karen and Family,
We were so sorry to hear from Aunt Fran of your unexpected loss. We never were lucky enough to meet Mike, but have heard so many wonderful things about him from Aunt Fran and Uncle Dick.
I remember your kind words and wonderful stories when Mom and Dad died. I am not very good with words, but just know that you and your family
are in our hearts and prayers.
Stan and Rosie (Ostrowski) Gonsior
February 8, 2012
Karen and family, we are so sorry for the unexpected loss of Mike. We met him in 2002 when he was the Guest of Honor of the RS Phoenix Marine Corps Birthday Ball. He is truly a special person to everyone. We have kept in touch with him since we left AZ in 2005 and have always appreciated his guidance and suggestions. We know that he will watch over you and your beautiful family. We wish we could of attended his memorial but we are on the East Coast. Jon recently talked to him about a month ago seeking guidance on returning to AZ for retirement. Our prayers and thoughts will be with you always.
LtCol. & Mrs. Jonathan Scrabeck
(Jon and Jenn)
February 7, 2012
Karen and family, From your extended family in Ohio we were very sorry to hear of Mike's passing. Too many years go by and we don't see our family then we have those regrets in times like this. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time.
Marlene Rushnok (Ames)
February 7, 2012
We knew Mike through his professional involvement on national criminal justice issues, and had the opportunity to work with him on a number of projects. He was a man of great professional stature, enormous personal warmth, and character. He will be greatly missed by all of us who knew him here at the Center for Effective Public Policy.
Peggy Burke
February 6, 2012
I never had the honor of meeting Judge Ryan, but am a distant relative who knew, respected and loved his parents, Don and Kay. What a reunion they are having now, with Sean, too! I am sorry I didn't get the chance to know Michael, too. May God hold you in this time of grief.
Jeanne Scanlan Doyle
February 6, 2012
My condolences on Judge Ryan's passing. I always appreciated him both in and out of the courtroom. He was a good man and my prayers are for the consolation of all that knew and loved him. May his soul rest in the loving arms of Our Father in Heaven.
John Jakubczyk
February 6, 2012
Karen and family - we are so sorry to hear of Michael's passing. I know how much he adored his family. What a wonderful man. Karen, you and Michael were the model couple. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Rita and Tom Dickinson
February 5, 2012
I grew up with Michael in St. Paul MN. In fact I lived next door to him and babysat him on occasion. He was a pleasure to know. You have my sympathies.
Elaine (Jahn) Mielke
February 3, 2012
I am a retired County employee who never officially met Judge Ryan, but always felt like I knew him when passing him in the hallways. His compassion exuded from his being. I was saddened to read of his passing and know many lives are better by his being. With deepest sympathy to his family.
Constance James
February 3, 2012
My condolences to the Ryan family. I was on the AsScam jury many years ago and I had the utmost respect for Judge Ryan and I have never forgotten him. We need more like him. Trust in God and he will see you through this most difficult time.
Joy Kiggins-Smith
February 3, 2012
I was so sorry to hear of the loss of Judge Ryan.

My thoughts are with you all.
Jennifer Masiello
February 3, 2012
February 3, 2012
I had the pleasure and honor to work for Justice Ryan in Superior Court for almost 10 years as his court reporter. Like everyone else, I am saddened and shocked hearing the news of his death. Justice Ryan was admired by all who knew him. He was a man with great integrity, a brilliant mind, and a fair judge. He was always respectful to all who appeared in his courtroom. He also had an incredible sense of humor which all the staff enjoyed with him. He was a very gracious, kind and gentle man. There are just not enough words to describe this wonderful man, and I feel blessed that we remained in contact and continued our friendship even after my move to California in '98.
He proudly served our country as a U.S. Marine, and he was a great servant to the State of Arizona. He touched the lives of many, including the foster children whom he & Karen helped.
Karen and family, you have my deepest sympathies. May our Heavenly Father comfort you at this time and continue to heal your grieving hearts. Mike Ryan, rest in peace.
Carol Bowen-Worsdell
February 3, 2012
I only served on jury duty once about 20 years ago! I remember what a common sense, bright and civilized man he was. We should be so lucky if all our judges could live up to his example. I'm privileged to have served with him, if only briefly.
L Patsey
February 2, 2012
My name is Karalee Koger Blain, Nancy and Wayne Kogers daughter, Mike is our friend, and 1 of our lawyers, and a constant source of support, he helped all of us through some of our darkest days, we will always love and respect him. God Bless You Know On Your Path To Heaven, Gods Speed Judge Ryan.......With Love The Koger Family
Karalee Blain
February 2, 2012
justice ryan will be missed, i had the pleasure of knowing him when i worked at the states court bldg.
my prayers go oout to his family
john arbanas
February 2, 2012
Unfortunately you and I did not know each other well but on those occasions that I did meet you and obseve you and Mike together I could see the mutual Love. I was always so proud to talk to others about Mike, besides sharing the same name, Mike was an Eastsider, he went to Crtein, he became a lawyer and a Judge, whereas I made it to law school I never finished, so I always took pride in talking about my cousin Mike who did make it big. His father was one of my heros and Mike is and was definitely a modern day Hero. How I escaped Vietnam I don't know, I was in the reserve but never got called. Guys like Mike went willingly, He's a Hero and I will tell his story forever-God Bless you and your children. I am so proud to have such a cousin and I am so happy I got to visit him at his office shortly after he was installed-a very good memory.

Michael L. Ryan and Carole Ryan
Michael Ryan
February 2, 2012
Mike was the best. Our love and prayers. Leo & Pat Sax Wenatchee, WA
February 2, 2012
Judge Ryan was a great man and a very fine lawyer. May the many memories he helped create find root in your hearts and bring sweet recollection to your minds as you both mourn and celebrate his life.
Bernald Porter
February 2, 2012
To the family of Michael Ryan, my sincere condolences. Michael Ryan was a part of my families life early in his career as he sucessfully prosecuted the killer of my brother and his girlfriend. We knew immediately that we were in capable and compassionate hands when we first met with him. We have lost a truely great man. I feel honored to have met him. The James Burgoyne Family.
February 2, 2012
Mike was a great man and will be missed. He always seemed to have the right words to say and always a great story to tell. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Liz Wiederhold
February 2, 2012
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