John Francis RYAN

May 16, 1935January 2, 2020

RYAN, JOHN F. Age 84, of Naples, FL, passed away on January 2, 2020. Beloved husband, best friend and soulmate of Joanna (Leary) Ryan. Loving father to Christopher M. Ryan and wife Jane, Andrew T. Ryan and wife Teri, and Anthony J. Ryan. Remembered with great love and affection by his grandchildren: Cierra, Jackson, and Jack. Dr. Ryan’s absolute loves were his wife Joanna and his family, closely followed by his passion for healing infants and children at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was Chief of Pediatric Anesthesiology for over 30 years and a pioneer in the field of pediatric anesthesia. Dr. Ryan had a unique career: John attended Cathedral High School where he was senior class president and valedictorian. He then matriculated at Boston College where he was the valedictorian of his class of 1957. During summer breaks from medical school at Columbia University College of Physician and Surgeons, John worked for the Air Force and developed the calibration technique for measuring micrometeorites used in the early satellites and the first moon shot. After graduation, Dr. Ryan interned at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and then spent two years at Vandenburg Air Force Base where, in March of 1965, he was awarded a Commendation Medal for his work in establishing the first intensive care unit in the United States Armed Forces. Following two years at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, John joined Massachusetts General Hospital where he was Chief of Pediatric Anesthesiology until 2002. Also an Associate Professor of Anesthesia at the Harvard Medical School, John influenced the careers of hundreds of residents and fellows‐in‐training while instilling in them his core values of resilience, hard work, and above all, compassionate care. His authoritative textbook, A Practice of Anesthesia for Infants and Children, remains as influential today as it was when first published decades ago. Dr. Ryan was awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Society of Pediatrics in 1997. In the year 2000 he earned his Masters of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and dedicated himself to perfecting the design and efficacy of resident education for Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. John Ryan’s skill, expertise and compassion as a physician were surpassed only by his exuberant spirit as a loving husband, father, grandfather and as a great healing force for God’s children. Donations may be made in Dr. Ryan’s memory to: The Cathedral High School Scholarship Fund, 74 Union Park Street, Boston, MA 02118. John Ryan was a natural storyteller-- click on this link, OR copy and paste the link to your browser to see and hear John tell his story:


John Francis RYAN

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April 23, 2020

I'm sorry to hear that John has passed away. He was a wonderful classmate at P&S. I'm impressed now to learn about hisfull career. My sympathy to the surviving family members.

Susan Standfast, P&S '61

Shahriar Alikhani Laguna Hills

March 3, 2020

Dear Joanna,
My condolences to you and your family. I am very saddened to read about John's passing. He clearly has touched so many hearts and lives. I am lucky in that I know you and John, both professionally and personally. To me, John was a patient father and a most respected educator. I owe so much to him.
He was most instrumental in guiding me through my Chief Residency year. To this day, I still have a very special artwork that he made. It hangs in my office. It is a simple artwork, but I look at it every day. I often try to emulate his kindness and wisdom. I am lucky to have had such a good friend.

February 7, 2020

Joanna, I was deeply saddened to hear of John's passing. John and I met in 1941 in the kindergarten class at the Francis Parkman School in Forest Hills, MA. where we spent the next nine years together. While John attended Cathedral High School in Boston, I went to Boston College High School. We both went on to Boston College and graduated with the class of 1957. While our professional careers took us on separate paths, we were reunited at the 50th reunion in 2007. Since then we enjoyed many social gatherings with old friends from Forest Hills including various golf outings as well as social gatherings in Ft. Lauderdale and Naples. Pat and I along with all John's friends from Forest Hills send our deep condolences. He will be sorely missed by all.

Ed Murphy Dedham, MA

Lee Ann McGinnis Charlotte

January 14, 2020

Dr. Ryan was a special mentor, ensuring we residents learned the skills we needed to provide safe care to the precious children who came thorough the MGH ORs, and then take out into the world. What a legacy he leaves from his thirty years of sharing himself with us, guiding us as he did, always with respect and care. He loved his work, and he worked with love. My sincere condolences.

Michael Davies Melbourne

January 12, 2020

John Ryan was a wonderful person, a true gentleman who was always very friendly to the many Australian anesthesiologists who worked at the MGH in the 1970s and 1980s.He was a leader in his field and a terrific teacher. Our specialty owes a debt to John Ryan.

Joan Hill North Eastham

January 12, 2020

After my son had an MH crisis, John was so kind and calming to me and our family. He sponsored and mentored a research project that I did, with a great deal of help from him, at MGH. His soft, kind voice and sharp intelligence stay with me forever.
My deepest condolences to his family. Joan Hill, Eastham, MA

Paul and Merilyn Allen Knoxville

January 11, 2020

Joanna, Merilyn and i want to send you our deepest condolences at your loss. It was a long struggle and you both made the best of it, and enjoyed life to the fullest. We fondly remember our day with you both in Marseilles. John was my great mentor, both for research and for life. I owe him a great debt for my success and will miss him very much.
Paul and Merilyn Allen

Jim Quinn Plymouth

January 11, 2020

As our colleagues have noted so well, John had compassion as his soul and kindness as his personna.The twinkle in his eye and his subtle laugh will always be remembered.It is no wonder he took care of the most fragile and vulnerable of us---our children.
His caring extended to everyone he met, as his personal character embraced all, in whatever capacity he interacted with them. I admire John for his humanity and selflessness and hope I emulated some of his attributes.
This eagle soars high forever,
Jim Quinn

David Cullen Cambridge

January 11, 2020

John was a dear friend and wonderful colleague. He was a superb teacher, clinician and human being. His wisdom was always so helpful to me and his sense of humor was infectious. We had so many good times at the Anesthesia Board exams, AUA and ASA meetings. I especially remember taking him and Joanne up into Golden Gate Park on a beautiful day where we could see for miles in all directions: Pacific Ocean, mountains and of course the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco in the background. It was magical and he was so thrilled to have that view. We will miss you so. David and Kathy Cullen

January 10, 2020

I was a resident in anesthesiology at MGH from 1987-1990. I must say that Dr. Ryan was possibly the most influential anesthesiologist I encountered in my training. His kind and calm demeanor, his wonderful sense of humor, and his fine skill at teaching the specialty were all unmatched. Thank you Dr. Ryan, you will be sorely missed.

John C. Rivard, MD Ann Arbor, MI