Joseph Everitt Ryan of Fredericton passed away October 5, 2018 at the age of 94. Joe had a long and good life. He was well known in education, sports and UNB alumni circles. Born in Hampton in 1924, Joe was the son of Ernest and Mary Ellen (Boyle) Ryan. In the 1930’s the Ryans moved to Fredericton, where Joe’s dad built a house on St. John St. It would remain Joe’s home base until 1988, when the long-time bachelor married Mary Jane (Jean) Garagan (nee Dixon).
Beside Jean, he is survived by Jean’s children Maureen Gallacher (Mike), Calgary, AB; Pat Garagan, Fredericton, NB; Louis Garagan (Nancy), Calgary, AB; and Jeannie (Sean), Gilford, ON. He also leaves Jean’s grandchildren Courtney, Connor, Erin (Richard), Sarah (Peter), Andrew, Stephanie (Josh), David, James and Jordan.
Joe was a beloved uncle to Patrick Murphy, Anne Marie Everitt, Peter Ryan (Suzie), Colleen Maloney (Gerald), Moira Bosse (Norm), Mike Murphy (Wendy), Carmel Oster (Peter), Mary Lawrence (John), Margaret Volke (Brian). He had many grand nephews and nieces, and many great grand nieces and nephews.
Joe was predeceased by his brother Maurice Ryan (Margaret), twin sisters Evelyn and Helen Ryan, and sister Rita Murphy (Joe).
Joe and Jean had many happy years together. They enjoyed kicking up their heels, having met at a Legion dance. They bowled together, travelled on many excursions near and far, and had happy visits with family across Canada.
Joe was a proud alumnus of UNB, where he obtained a BA, B.Ed., and M.Ed. He and Jean would enthusiastically attend annual alumni events. He loved to sport his bright red UNB sweater and cap.
After working several years in the civil service, Joe was persuaded by his teacher brother Maurice to try his hand at that profession. He enjoyed a long career teaching at schools in Southhampton, Fredericton (Albert Street), Saint John (St. Rose, St. Francis-Hazen White) and finally Doaktown where he spent 16 years. Many former students have fond memories of "Mr. Ryan."
Sports was in Joe’s blood. Over the years he played a lot of badminton, bowling, curling and softball. He curled and played senior men’s softball till his late 80s! The last few years he enjoyed playing catch with his nephew Peter, who says, "Over 90, Joe could still throw strikes with ease."
Joe also enjoyed coaching. One of his proudest feats was coaching the St. Dunstan’s C.Y.O. women’s softball team to the 1953 Maritime senior women’s championship, thanks to a grand slam homer in the last inning. In 2013 he and the 1949-53 St. Dunstan’s team were inducted into the NB Softball Hall of Fame.
Joe devotedly followed sports on radio and TV, especially hockey and baseball. The Montreal Canadians and Toronto Blue Jays were his teams! He relished telling one sports tale. One day as a young fellow walking in downtown Fredericton, Joe got tapped on the shoulder and heard, "Hey, kid." He turned around. It was Babe Ruth.
The past several years Joe resided at York Care Center, and previously at Nashwaak Villa. Even as his health declined, his spirits remained good. The indomitably positive outlook Joe had through life continued amid illness. His cheerful, easy going ways made it easy for staff to like "Joe Joe." He got a kick out of the fact some staff were former students. His family wishes to gratefully acknowledge the good care Joe received at both nursing homes.
Joe was quite religious. He long attended Holy Family Catholic Parish and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. At York Care Center, if a prayer service was held, Joe would invariably be there.
Visitation will be at McAdam’s Funeral Home, 160 York St., Tuesday, October 9, from 2-4 and 7-9 pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Rev. Dr. Michael McGowan at 11 am on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Leverman St. in Marysville, Fredericton. Interment following Mass will be in Hermitage Cemetery.
Donations may be made to York Care Center (Birch Grove Unit), NB Right to Life, or UNB.