David Ryder

August 22, 1915September 4, 2013
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Captain David Folger Ryder, 98, formerly a lifelong resident of Chatham, MA until his recent move to the Woodlands at Pleasant Bay in Brewster, died on September 4th of natural causes. The son of Surfman Richard E. Ryder of Chatham and Rebecca (Smith) Ryder of Nantucket, David was born in Chatham August 22nd, 1915. Brother Richard Allen, sisters Arethusa and Emily, his first wife Alice Wheeler, his second wife Lorraine Clayton as well as Grandson Scott Ryder predeceased him. David was a 1933 graduate of Chatham High School. He was drawn to the sea at an early age, as his father was a career Coast Guardsman. He made a trip on an oil tanker out of Fall River, and later spent several summers working as a crewman on a schooner yacht on the Great Lakes. Returning to Chatham in the late 1930’s, he started fishing with experienced men. In 1941, he acquired and refurbished a used boat and started on his own. He served in the Coast Guard Temporary Reserve during WWII. He had his first new boat, the Alice and Nancy built in Nova Scotia after the war. Subsequent new wooden boats, the Alice and Nancy II and the Sea Peach, were built in Maine. He took excellent care of all of them. He fished only with hooks his entire 56-year career as a commercial fisherman. Towards the end of his fishing days, a local paper referred to him as the “Dean of Chatham Fishermen”. He was widely respected for his fishing skill, his boat handling and keen navigating, his honest dealings and his quiet manner. David was a Chatham Selectman for 15 years, and was responsible for envisioning an observation deck for the Chatham Municipal pier. He served as the Chatham representative for the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission. He was a founding member of the Chatham Fishermen’s Co-Op. When Francis Sargent was Governor of Massachusetts, he appointed David to the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, a position that he held for many years. He spent a large part of his life outdoors, either fishing, gardening, shell fishing or hunting. Only recently did he have to stop his daily visits to the Woodlands exercise room. He was a fan of Boston sports teams on TV and lived long enough to see the Red Sox win the World Series. “So Far So Good – So Good So Far” was a favorite expression, as was “I’ve got a lot goin’ on.” David was a 50-year member of the St. Martins Masonic Lodge in Chatham. He is survived by his brother William C. Ryder of the Woodlands; daughter Nancy Petrus of Chatham; son John and his wife Glenna of Cumberland, ME; son Richard and his wife Patricia of Eastham; and son Robert of Chatham. Stepdaughters Nancy Smith of Naples, FL and Jane Alexander of Eastham survive him, as do 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Devoted former daughter-in-law Jane Ryder of Harwich survives him as well. Calling hours will be held on Saturday, September 14th from 4 to 7 PM at the Nickerson Funeral Home, 87 Crowell Road, Chatham. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 15 at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church of Chatham. The Rev. Dr. William Coleman, retired, will officiate. The church is located at the corner of Main and Cross Streets in downtown Chatham. Memorial donations may be made to the Old Harbor Fund, c/o Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore, PO Box 550, Wellfleet, MA 02667 or to VNA Hospice & Palliative Care, 255 Independence Drive
, Hyannis, MA 02601 The Ryder family deeply appreciates the kindnesses extended by the Woodlands staff for the past 5 years, the VNA Hospice team, and the Privatus caregivers.


  • Memorial Visitation Saturday, September 14, 2013
  • Memorial Service Sunday, September 15, 2013

David Ryder

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September 28, 2013

Family: I will remember David in my prayers. I am a friend of Bill Ryder. Don Gagne

September 24, 2013

Liz, As the only daughter and eldest child of David, I can truly attest to the fact that you touched my Dad's heart each time you performed. Please know that the job you do for our Seniors is an important one. They live a sheltered life and depend upon folks like you to relieve them of the monotony of everyday life. Thank you, Liz from David and me!! Nancy Ryder Petrus

Liz Saunders

September 23, 2013

I just called The Woodlands to book entertainment for 2014 and Shirley Enz told me of David's passing. Please know that I always looked forward to seeing his smiling face when I sang at The Woodlands. He was one of my anticipated "boa-audience members". I am scheduled next there in October and I just want to tell all his loved ones that he will be highly missed by me. Although I never got a chance to really get to know him on a personal level, I could tell he was a very genuine and neat guy who always made me feel welcomed and appreciated. I am sure he was like that for his family and friends also. I feel honored to have touched his bald head! Rest in peace David! Much LOVE and Musically Yours...

September 14, 2013

First started fishing in Chatham in 1980. Got to meet some pretty wonderful fishermen....all that I wanted at the time. I met many and Dave was one of the best. Out offshore can be quite unnerving when things go wrong which they often do. Dave saved me from two bad situations with a knowing smile.
Thank you Dave for the wisdom you shared and your gentle kindness.

Story, Debbie and Annie Fish

maura whelan

September 13, 2013

My children, Reilly (17) and Lily (10) Larkin, two of Dave's great grand children, could not ask for a better role model, nor a man to be related to. How excited and proud they were to get up to Chatham for the July 4 parade and see Dave as the honoree. To be part of such an old wonderful Chatham family, really gave them a sense of family, place and history. I am grateful for his long life so my children could get the chance to know they are related to such a wonderful man.

I will not forget all he taught me about fish, (which was a lot coming from NM!) and how he tried to help me catch one when he and Lorraine would winter in Florida. His grandson Dave Larkin and I would always look forward to our trips to Marco for their annual winter visit.

I feel privilidged that for many years I was related by marriage to such a wonderful man. And we can only hope to live a life such as his...doing what he loved (making a living at sea)productive, respected, helpful and cherished, surrounded by family. I know how much he will be missed. Lorraine has been waiting and has a place for him I am quite sure.

With much love and great respect

Rebecca Ryder Carney

September 12, 2013

Dear Family, I am wishing we could join you in the celebration of Uncle David's life. My husband Eric and I want to convey our expression of sympathy to his children, Grandchildren and the rest of the Ryder family. Uncle David was the handsomest and nicest man on Cape Cod, we loved him for his sincereity and kindness to all who came in contact with him . He was a true gem and he is missed always.

Patricia DeSimone

September 11, 2013

I'm so sorry for your loss Dave and Cindy and Family!

September 9, 2013

I worked in the Selectman's office during the time that Dave was a selectman. Never known a nicer, more considerate, gentler, fairer soul than him. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends. He was the very embodiment of a gentleman in every sense of the word.
Marcia (Pratt) Thompson

Debbie Jett

September 8, 2013

"Twilight and evening bell, And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark; For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crost the bar. A. Tennyson

Sail on, David

Debbie Jett, Chicago, IL

The Staff of Nickerson Funeral Home

September 7, 2013

We wish to extend our deepest sympathies at this difficult time.