Cover photo for Thomas  Joseph  Ryan, Jr. 's Obituary
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1926 Thomas 2021

Thomas Joseph Ryan, Jr.

November 25, 1926 — September 19, 2021

Thomas Joseph Ryan, Jr.

Thomas Joseph Ryan, Jr. was born November 25, 1926, to Thomas Joseph (Joe) Ryan and Ella Mathilda Wyman in Minneapolis, Minnesota, later living in Golden Valley, Bloomington and Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Tom was proud of his Irish and Swedish heritage. He had one younger sister, Mary Ellen Ryan. His Uncle Tom Ryan owned the original Ryan family homestead in what is now Edina.

When Tom was a child, his family’s pet was a black-and-white Springer Spaniel named Pepper. A highlight of Tom’s childhood was building a race car and competing in the Soap Box Derby. It was a thrill for Tom as a young adult when he and a close friend mentored the friend’s younger brother, who won the Minneapolis Soap Box Derby.

Tom attended Southwest High School in Minneapolis and enjoyed reunions with his classmates into his 80s. He served in the Army Air Forces in 1945, as World War II was ending. He majored in engineering at St. Thomas College in Minneapolis and graduated from the University of Minnesota.

As an adult, Tom volunteered for the Jaycees, helping with the Soap Box Derby and the Junior Miss Pageant at the Aquatennial festival in Minneapolis. He played trombone in this youth and enjoyed ballroom dancing and music—especially marching band and Big Band music and Broadway show tunes. His favorite desserts were strawberry shortcake and lemon meringue pie. He enjoyed spending time at his parents’ cottage on Lake Independence in Shakopee, Minnesota, playing horseshoes and croquet. He also liked snowmobiling in the winter.

Tom worked as a mechanical engineer at his own company, Ryan Air Conditioning, which he started in 1966. After moving to Dallas, he worked until he was 89 years old at Federal Mechanical Systems, designing air conditioning systems in schools. He had a natural ability as a handyman and enjoyed household repair and maintenance projects almost as a hobby.

In 2020, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, to be near family. He died of natural causes at New Cassel Retirement Center on September 19, 2021, at age 94.

Tom was preceded in death by an infant son. He is survived by children Kathy (Dan) Sullivan, Omaha, NE; Anne (Jack) Gauer, Billings, MT; Jim Ryan, Omaha, NE; Julie (Rob) Ryan-Silva, Silver Spring, MD; Jill Martin, Flower Mound, TX; Jolene Ryan, Albuquerque, NM; Thomas (Jennifer) Ryan, Pembroke, NH; grandchildren Danny, Eileen (Dave Cormier), John and Bob Sullivan; Jon and Shannon Gauer; Isabel and Bobby Ryan-Silva; Jacob Martin, Jennifer (Luke) Johnson and Elizabeth Martin; Kaitlyn and Madison Homolka and Bryan Wilson; Hunter, Connor and Alexis Ryan.

A private burial at Resurrection Cemetery, Mendota Heights, MN, is planned at a later date.

Memorials may be sent to New Cassel Retirement Center Foundation, Omaha, NE.

John A. Gentleman Mortuaries and Crematory

1010 North 72 Street

Omaha, NE. 68114


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