Mike O. Ryan passed away peacefully in his sleep, warmly surrounded by the love and comfort of his family.
Mike was born on September 12, 1947, to George William Ryan and Delsa Mae Purdy (as a widow, married to J.R. Moonie) in Fontana, California. Mike enjoyed a childhood similar to “Opie” from the Andy Griffith Show, including spending many delightful and memorable days eating fruit (oranges, apricots and avocados, specifically) straight off the trees. Mike married his first wife, Paulette Baggett, shortly after high school and together they had two boys, Shane and Shanon. Mike’s second marriage was to Patricia Wilburn (later Patricia Belmont). Patricia brought three daughters (Tracie, Kelli and Kristen) to her marriage with Mike, thus creating a ‘Brady Bunch’ family situation along with Mike’s sons, Shane and Shanon. In the 1970’s, Mike met the love of his life, Mary Fran Griffin. Mike and Mary Fran were together for two years before separating, but again found one another and were married in 1996. Mary Fran was Mike’s love, soul mate, travel companion, fellow plant lover and music partner. Mary Fran was at Mike’s side when he left this world.
Mike wore many hats during his lifetime and happily conquered his dreams while providing tremendous love and support to his family.
Mike was a landscaper in California before selling his business and moving north to Jefferson County, Washington. Mike then started and managed a plant store in Port Townsend, WA. Mike always enjoyed gardening and had beautiful flower and vegetable gardens at his home. Mike also enjoyed playing music. After playing guitar for 60 years, he decided to learn flamenco music and played that for 5 years. During the 1970’s, Mike took a walkabout along with his good friend, Curt Marlow. The two made a living as buskers. Always motivated and creative, Mike enjoyed boat building with his friend Neal Close and constructed his own boat using wood and fiberglass. Mike was also an accomplished construction worker, building and/or working on many homes on Marrowstone Island with his friend Mark Northerscold. An extremely talented and artful carver, Mike made a living at one time as a wood carver. Mike had created over 600 carvings, including the famous seals carved into the bench at Port Townsend’s Pope Marine Park. Another hobby that Mike enjoyed immensely was bicycle riding. He could be seen in and around Irondale and Chimacum riding his road bicycle any given morning. Mike at one time rode his bicycle to Mt. Rushmore from Irondale and even to the Arctic Circle, via the ALCAN Highway. Mike went on to write two books about these two bicycle-riding experiences, in which he illustrated them as well. Around 1982, Mike volunteered with the Jefferson County Fire District, Chimacum station, and eventually became a lieutenant. This eventually became a full time, paid position (the first paid position at the department). In the year 2000, Mike took retirement due to an on the job injury.
Mike and Mary Fran enjoyed decorating and spending time in their 100 year old home in Irondale, in which Mike resided the last 45 years. The home was at one time the Irondale General Store but then gradually became outfitted, inside and out, with Mike’s eclectic artistic ideas. Among some of the most notable and popular traits this home exhibits are the front of the house’s glass-bottle wall, the blue and clear glass-bottled fencing in the backyard, the totem poles that Mike carved, the collection of yard art, and various carvings throughout.
Mike touched many lives throughout his daily life and various jobs and hobbies. He will be missed by many. Mike is survived by his loving wife, Mary Fran Ryan, sister Pat Ryan (of Riverside, California), son Shane O. Ryan (married to Jayme), son Shanon O. Ryan (married to Kristi), step daughters Tracie Bick, Kelli Greenspane and Kristen Wilburn, grandsons Cody O. Ryan, Shane O. Ryan, Cameron O. Ryan and Marc Evans, granddaughters RhiAnnon Foster (married to Jace), Ilona Ryan, Poppy Ryan and Ashley Evans and great-granddaughter Jadelynn Foster.
A celebration of Mike’s life will be held at the Chimacum Fire Station, 9193 Rhody Dr., on Saturday, August 3, starting at 11am. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that a dish be brought and cherished stories be shared.