Robert Samuel “Bob” Ryan Sep 25, 1925- Apr. 15, 2016
Robert Samuel Ryan, age 90, of Madison, AL, passed away at 9:40 p.m. on April 15, 2016. Mr. Ryan is preceded in death by his parents: Cephus Randolph and Ruby Marie Ryan; wife: Clara Jean Matthews Ryan; sister Florence Ryan and brother: Randolph Cephus Ryan.
Mr. Ryan is survived by his sons: Richard Michael Ryan (Vicki) and Stephen Gregory Ryan (Renee); sisters: Faye Nell Ryan Yancey (Ronald), Martha Sue Ryan Ray (Bill), and Betty Jo Ryan; granddaughters: Sarah Marie Ryan and Jamie Lee Ryan; grandsons: Aaron Thomas Ryan (Holly), Bobby Joe “BJ” Ryan (Taylor), Jonathan Gregory Ryan (Ginger) and Christopher Stephen Ryan (Meagan); great-grandchildren: Cortney Lee Glover, Baker Callaway Ryan, Paisley Reese Ryan, Tommie Michael Glover, Gray Channing Ryan, Gregory Thomas Ryan, Hattie Olivia Ryan, and twins, Charlotte Elizabeth and Jackson David Ryan; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mr. Ryan was born September 25, 1925 in Morgan County, Alabama. He was a former World War II veteran. After his brief service to his country, he went back to school and became a school teacher and basketball coach. He taught high school science and coached basketball and baseball at Priceville High School, Morgan County, Alabama from 1948 -1955. His basketball teams won two Alabama Class “A” championships in 1951 &1955, one 2nd place in 1952, and one 3rd place in 1954.
From 1956 until 1960, Mr. Ryan worked as an aerospace engineer for the Army Ballistic Agency. He worked on Redstone, Jupiter, and Pershing missiles and then the Explorer, JUNO satellites and the Saturn I Launch system. In 1960 the Von Braun team was transferred to NASA, and he started working on the Apollo program where he served as chief of the Dynamic Analysis Branch for Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). He has served in various management and leadership positions for MSFC as Branch Chief, Division Chief of Structural Dynamics, and retired as Deputy Director of the System Dynamics Laboratory. He worked on Saturn V Apollo, Skylab, Hubble Space Telescope, HEAO, Space Shuttle, AXAF, X-33, Spacelab, and numerous scientific payloads.
After retiring from NASA in 1996, he worked as a consultant for Boeing on the International Space Station and Lockheed on the single stage to orbit X-33 launch vehicle. During this time, he started consulting with NASA on the Constellation Program and Space Launch System Program and has taught short courses in launch vehicle design and lessons learned in engineering. He continued to teach special courses and consult for NASA part time up until his death.
He has over 100 publications and special presentations to his credit. He also received the first AIAA Crichlow Trust Prize in 1995 and was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2007.
In addition to his many achievements, he is most renowned for his unique ability to mentor and nurture people both physically, mentally and spiritually. This is also reflected in his service as a longtime member of the First Baptist Church of Madison and the Madison, AL community. He served as deacon, teacher, lay leader, volunteer on missions and chaired many committees. In the Madison community, he was chairman of the first recreation board for the city and was appointed to lead the committee that worked with the Madison County Commission and the Madison County Board of Education to establish Bob Jones High School.
The family would like to especially thank Dr. Chris Russell, Dr. Gordon Cash, and Dr. Roger Coomer for their many years of tireless, extraordinary medical efforts which enabled him to maintain his quality of life and continue to contribute to his family and community. In addition, the family would like to thank Dr. Kelly Newton and the Huntsville Hospital nursing and support staff of CCU II, the Respiratory Care Unit, and the Cardiac Care Unit for their compassionate care for him and his family in his final days. In addition to flowers, the family requests any donations made to the Jean Ryan Endowed Music Scholarship at the University of Alabama or the building fund of the First Baptist Church of Madison, AL.
Visitation was held on Wednesday, April 20th 12:00 – 2:00 pm. at First Baptist Church, Madison AL. The service followed at 2:00 pm with Rev. Bert Breland officiating. Burial was held at Huntsville Memory Gardens.