Cover photo for James J. III  Ryan's Obituary
James J. III  Ryan Profile Photo

James J. III Ryan

d. June 9, 2016

James (Jim) Jay Ryan III, Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, passed away quietly at home on June 8, 2016, with his family around him, holding his grandson’s hand. Jim and his twin sister, Patricia Ann, were born on May 16, 1928 in Washington, Pennsylvania to James Jay Ryan II and Perle Cunningham Ryan. His mother died when the twins were 12 months old and his father subsequently married Gertrude Voelker. In 1945 Jim graduated from Central High School in Saint Paul and began classes at the University of Minnesota. He entered the U.S. Navy in 1946 and served as a Radioman on the island of Adak in the Aleutians. He returned to the University of Minnesota and completed his Bachelor’s (1951), Master’s (1954), and PhD (1957) degrees in Psychology.

Jim married Mary Louise Heimer in 1953 and they had six children. Jim’s scholarly career took his family to Wayne State University, the University of Nevada, the University of Minnesota’s Math Curriculum Research Center, and the Minnesota Department of Education. In 1968 he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he taught and did research in psychology until his retirement in 1993. After his retirement, in addition to doting on their children and their six grandchildren, Jim and Mary Lou enjoyed attending jazz festivals and cruises in Europe, the Caribbean and on the Great Lakes.

Jim was intellectually and physically energetic throughout his life. In addition to his scholarly pursuits and his engagement in civic affairs, he enjoyed bicycling, hiking, and cross-country skiing. He was active in the local Democratic Party and served on the Executive Committee from 1996-2005. He and Mary Lou were also active in the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and supported the La Crosse Jazz Society.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Mary Lou, his twin sister Pat Brandner, and his brother Frederick S. Ryan. Survivors include his children, Steve Ryan (Janet), Tom Ryan (Wendy Hellerstedt), Terry Ryan Jastrow (Fred Jastrow), Suzanne Ryan, Mike Ryan, and Ellen Ryan and his grandchildren; Matt Palen, Brice, Croix and Calley Jastrow, Mackenzie Ryan, and Dakota Ryan. Memorials may be sent to the La Crosse chapter of NAMI: NAMI of La Crosse County, PO Box 595, La Crosse, WI 54602] or the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Memorial contributions may be made through the UW-L Foundation. Please direct your contributions to Wimberly Scholarship fund at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Foundation, 615 East Avenue North, La Crosse, WI 54601.

A visitation will be held from 4 to 7:00 PM, Friday, June 17, 2016 at Blaschke Schneider Funeral Homes, 1501 West Ave. South, La Crosse, WI. A Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday June 18, 2016 at the Funeral Home with a visitation starting at 10:00 AM.

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