Gary Ryan, age 79, of Tolna, ND, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Grand Forks, ND.
Gary Ryan, age 79, of Tolna, ND, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Grand Forks, ND. Visitation: Thursday 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., with a Rosary Service held at 6:30 p.m., followed by a Vigil Service, all in St. John’s Catholic Church, New Rockford. Mass of Christian Burial: St. John’s Catholic Church, New Rockford. Date and Time: Friday, Dec. 1 at 10:30 a.m. Burial: Tolna Cemetery, Tolna. Gary Gene Ryan was born on April 29, 1938, in Moorhead, MN, to Carl and Elizabeth (Boule) Ryan. He was raised on the family farm in Eddy County, North Dakota. He married Christine Nemec on Feb. 4, 1961, in Midland, SD. Gary and Christine made their home in Midland, working for multiple farmers and ranchers in the area. Gary bought a gas station in Belvidere, SD, and moved his family there. The family later moved to Pierre, SD, where he owned another gas station. They relocated to the family farm at Hamer, ND, in 1970, where he lived the rest of his life. Gary was a lifelong farmer. When asked what he raised, he would answer "kids and grain." He spent many summers running his custom combine crew as far south as Kansas. He could make anything run and always found a solution to whatever problem he faced. Gary loved music and loved to play with a group in a "jam session." Many years were spent with his favorite dance partner demonstrating the perfect polka steps. He was never happier than when listening to his favorite old time songs and artists. After retirement, Gary developed a love for golf that lasted the rest of his life. He golfed with family and friends every chance he got. He was an avid golfer year round as he wintered in Texas, where he could golf with his friends from around the US and Canada. He was a private pilot and whether he was flying an airplane or just lying on the floor playing with a baby, he lived life to the fullest. Gary had a passion for traveling and loved planning his next trip to see someplace new and meet new people. One of his granddaughters once said, "Grandpa knows how to wreck a perfectly good stranger" meaning he befriended everyone he met. He loved to strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone; no one was a stranger for long when he was around. He was also known to befriend any dog or cat that crossed his path; he always asked about his kid's and grandkid's pets and we all know the special way he had of talking to animals. Gary's deep and abiding faith, strong work ethic, and unfailing honesty and integrity, set an example for his children and grandchildren to live up to and strive for. "What would Dad do?" and "What would Grandpa say?" are questions they all have asked and will all continue to use as a guide for their lives. His counsel and advice was always sought after and were always thoughtfully given. Gary wouldn't tell you what to do, he would help you decide for yourself what the right answer was. The pride he took in his family was evident when he spoke of them by the smile he would give them as soon as he caught sight of them. He had a zest for life & was happy up until the moment he died. This amazing quality inspired everyone around him. Privileged to have shared in his laughter and be loved by him were his wife of 56 years, Christine, Tolna, ND; his children, Jeff (Mary) Ryan, Mesa, AZ, Karla (Russ) Wald, San Tan Valley, AZ, Marie (Dale) Snyder, Devils Lake, ND, Monte (Dawn) Ryan, Devils Lake, Vernon (Jennifer) Ryan, Watford City, ND, Todd Ryan, Kimball, NE; his 14 grandchildren, Stephanie (Randy) Rowland, Kasey (RJ) Gregoryk, Samantha (Joshua) Nelson, Beau (Nikki) Snyder, Jordan Snyder, Courtney Ryan, Elizabeth (Clay) Feldner, Klae Ryan, Colton Ryan, Emily Ryan, Cody Ryan, Simon Ryan, Amanda (Grant) McAninch and Garrett Ryan; his nine great-grandchildren, Jackson, Cadence, Justin, Markus, Rowdy, Harvest, Forest, Emet and Kira; his sister, Valerie Schwab, Tolna; numerous sisters-in-law and brother-in-law; and many nieces and nephews. Gary was preceded in death by his parents; Christine’s parents, Edward and Elizabeth Nemec; a grandson, Joshua Snyder; six brothers-in-law, Daniel Schwab, Art Bergeson, Lloyd Vandermay, Charles Wyman, Edward Nemec, Raymond Terkildson; and three sisters-in-law, Nora Wyman, Sister Edna Nemec and Wynn Bergeson. On-line condolences may be sent at www.EvansFuneralHomeND.com.