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Obituaries » Donald M. Ryan

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September 1, 1946 - July 27, 2020

Burial Date August 5, 2020

In accordance with his wishes, cremation will take place, and due to current restrictions, a private memorial will be held, followed by committal ceremony with full military honors at Fort Custer National Cemetery. A public memorial will be held in the near future, when it is deemed safe to gather. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the family for the educational expenses of his granddaughter, Madison, c/o the funeral home.

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Age 73, passed away on Monday, July 27, 2020. Don was born on September 1, 1946 in Attica, New York, son of Richard J. and Beatrice Mary Ryan. He graduated from Attica High School in 1964 and then furthered his education by attending 28 military schools and 27 civilian professional courses. Mr. Ryan enlisted in the United States Air Force on August 4, 1964 at the age of 17. He was the second Air Force Chapel Manager in the history of the Air Force to be certified by the National Association of Church Business Administrators (NACBA). Don was a 1969 graduate to the Air Force Systems Command Non-commissioned Officer’s Academy at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. He completed the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer’s Academy in 1979. Don’s long and storied military career concluded on September 1, 1990 when he retired holding the highest enlisted grade in the Air Force–Chief Master Sergeant and has retained the title of Chief since that time. During his 27.5 year Air Force career, Don was awarded a long list of awards and medals, including two Bronze Stars. Don eventually met a gal named Joyce and they were married on March 17, 1995, most recently celebrating 25 years of marriage. He and Joyce did everything together and were a team to be reckoned with. Don had a heart for volunteerism and service on many different councils while in the military, including Boy Scouts of America, Senior Services in Kalamazoo, Director of Community Relations for Gryphon Place, Area Agency on Aging Region IIIA and The Greater Kalamazoo Chapter of the Red Cross. Don was a warrior for Senior issues. He was instrumental in and was most proud of his work in the development and ultimate passage of the Senior Millage for Kalamazoo County. When he wasn’t volunteering in his community, Don had interests in computers, woodworking, writing and people-oriented programs. Don leaves behind his beloved wife, children and step children, Donald (Kristen) Ryan, Teresa Carson, Jennifer VanDoren, 5 grandchildren, Finn and Egan Ryan, Ryan and William Prewitt and Madison VanDoren, his sister, Donna (David) West, Step brother, John (Michelle) Ryan and step sister, Laura (David) Haynes.