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John David Ryan

October 10, 1933 ~ September 28, 2021 (age 87)

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John D. “Jack” Ryan, age 87, of Wilmington, DE, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. 

He was born in New Castle, son of the late John and Dorothy (Hall) Ryan. Jack served honorably in the US Army and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame. He enjoyed a long and successful career as a chemist for DuPont.

Throughout his life, Jack was always helping others. He was involved with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, he taught the Thresholds Program in the prisons, and he taught at James H. Groves Adult High School. Outside of these formal roles, he was always willing to help those who needed him.

He was a devout parishioner of Resurrection Parish, a member of the Knights of Columbus, and a participant in Cursillo, a Catholic movement which encompassed a retreat and weekly reunions which Jack faithfully attended.

Jack and his wife Barbara met at the University of Delaware and continued to remain engaged there throughout their lives. After retirement, they took University of Delaware classes in the areas of foreign languages, art, music, criminal justice and history. They often ran into their granddaughter while she was on campus completing her undergraduate degree. In addition, Jack and Barbara went on study-abroad trips with the University of Delaware to France, Italy, Spain and Germany. They lived with host families, practiced their language and got to know the undergraduate students on their trips. 

Jack was a wonderful and devoted father and grandfather, staying very involved and active in their lives. He traveled near and far to support everyone in their academic and athletic adventures. Jack and Barbara also took their children and grandchildren to countless plays, museums, and shows. 

He is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Barbara (Mooney) Ryan; his children, Laraine Ryan, Bridget Smith (Stephen) and Matthew Ryan (Paula); his grandchildren, Kelsey Cummings (Bryan), Adam Smith, Connor Smith, Alex Ryan, Raymond Powell, Maggie Ryan, and Lucia Ryan; his great-grandson, Henry Cummings; and his brother; Michael “Mickey” Ryan (Anne). 

In addition to his family, Jack was a wonderful friend who maintained longtime friendships with many people, especially his buddies Ken Lewis, Jack Naylor, and Frank Vella.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Paul, Elaine, Patrick, and Ann Marie.

Jack’s family would like to thank his wonderful caregivers, especially Sam, Nancy, Carol and David, and Seasons Hospice for being of service to him in his final months. With this help, he was able to visit with family, enjoy dining out and go walking in the neighborhood. He was able to attend the annual family reunion on the Chesapeake Bay, which he loved.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2:00 pm on Monday, October 11, 2021 at Resurrection Parish, 3000 Videre Drive, Wilmington, DE 19808, where family and friends may visit beginning at 12:00pm. Interment will be private. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Jack’s memory to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware or Resurrection Parish.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John David Ryan, please visit our floral store.


October 11, 2021

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Resurrection Parish
3000 Videre Drive, Skyline Ridge
Wilmington, DE 19808

Mass of Christian Burial
October 11, 2021

2:00 PM
Resurrection Parish
3000 Videre Drive, Skyline Ridge
Wilmington, DE 19808

Private Interment


Parish of the Resurrection
3000 Videre Drive,Skyline Ridge, Wilmington DE 19808
Tel: 1-302-368-0146

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Delaware
413 Larch Circle, Wilmington DE 19804

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