Donald Joseph Ryan

July 23, 1925August 14, 2014

SPARTA- Donald Joseph Ryan went home to the Lord on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at Valley View Care Center in Newton, NJ. He was 89. Donald was born in the Bronx, NY, to Joseph and Rose Ryan, and currently resided in Sparta, NJ. He was called “Father Don” for his compassion and empathy that he wished to everyone and never judged. He combined a first class mind with a quick, warm wit. His sincere smile signaled his eager, true enthusiasm towards life and other people. He was a good man. Don taught for more than sixty years, retaining to the end, the ability to share his knowledge with clarity and humor. While teaching at Teaneck High School, his cross country and track teams won county championships. He was Chairman of the English Department at Northern Highland’s Regional High School. His philosophy classes at Sussex County Community College were always popular and well attended. He was a Master Teacher. Predeceasing Donald is his sister, Dorothy Ryan Boranian and his beloved son, Stephen Michael Ryan. Surviving him is his loving wife of 55 years, Barbara Louise (Ellis), a son; Donald Gerard of California, a daughter; Kathleen Patricia of Haddonfield, NJ, and a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews. He was truly a loving family man and will be deeply missed by all. Barbara Ryan wishes to extend her deep gratitude to the nurses, and aides at Valley View Care Center. Her husband received continual care, that was most knowledgeable and professional, and always given with respect, and warm loving attention. Family and friends are invited Sunday from 2 ~4 and 6~8 pm to Goble Funeral Home 22 Main Street, Sparta, NJ. A 10 am funeral liturgy will be celebrated Monday, from Saint Kateri Tekakwitha RC Church 427 Stanhope Rd Sparta.



  • VISITATION: Sunday, August 17, 2014
  • VISITATION: Sunday, August 17, 2014
  • FUNERAL LITURGY: Monday, August 18, 2014

Donald Joseph Ryan

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Mary Ellen Bruno

August 21, 2014

Your light will shine on in all whose lives you touched Professor Don Ryan.

Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen Bruno

August 21, 2014

Remembering Don Ryan
August 21, 2014

Over 10 years ago, when I was a student at Sussex County Community College, I was very fortunate to have Don Ryan as my teacher, mentor, and friend. During this time, Professor Don Ryan's gentle and compassionate manner nurtured my self-confidence, which allowed me to sharpen my critical thinking skills. He was a bright light in my life that has never dimmed throughout the years since I was his student.

My daughter was also a student of Don's and she kept in touch with him for many years. During their conversations, he would always mention me and send kind words my way. We appreciate the positive influence that Don brought to our lives.

I always looked forward to the inspirational quotations that were on his classroom's blackboard; oftentimes, there was a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote and I could always relate to these quotes. So I will leave with the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

“Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.”

Mary Ellen Bruno

P. S. Though I am sad to know that you are no longer with us Professor Don Ryan, it gives me some comfort to know that I have another angel looking down upon me as I continue my journey through life.

Love, Mary Ellen

Erin Bruno

August 20, 2014

Professor Don Ryan was an amazing Philosophy Professor. I took two classes with him, which inspired me greatly. My mother also took a class with him and was inspired in many ways by him and his teachings.
I kept in touch with Prof. Ryan for the past 8 years on and off, an occasional e-mail. He always wrote back very kind and touching e-mails. I would send him different things I was doing at the time (music and writings) and he would always be very encouraging. He was a mentor to me, along with several of the other great professors at SCCC. I remember his kind-hearted personality but strong teaching style. He wanted you to know your stuff and he was passionate about it. I'm so amazed at how dedicated a teacher he was, having taught for so long. His lessons about the Greek philosophers and Existentialists changed my perceptions on life. He even gave me a gift, a used book by Albert Camus' with his lyrical essays. I still have that book and treasure it. For that, I will end with a quote by Camus,
"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."

God Bless Don Ryan. You will be remembered by many.

Love, Erin

Elia Y.

August 20, 2014

I miss seeing you Don, you touched my heart with your kindness and the love for your family. it is sad not seeing you anymore. To the family my deepest and sincere condolences.

Linda Opt Hof

August 18, 2014

Don Ryan, a gentle, humble, man of integrity. I was blessed to have him teach me at SCCC. God 's speed to paradise, "Father Don".

Rich Linden

August 18, 2014

Don was a gifted college professor and a wonderful colleague. His philosophy classes were so popular with the students. He changed lives!

Dennis McGowan

August 17, 2014

Take comfort in knowing that now you have a special guardian angel to watch over you.

G. Freeman

August 16, 2014

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

August 16, 2014

Sincere condolences goes out to the Ryan family during your time of grief.