NORMAN — Dr. James F. Ryan, longtime resident of Norman, passed away Thursday, June 12, 2014, at the age of 95. He was born Dec. 11, 1918, in Asher.
He attended Asher schools, then completed 3 years of study at East Central State College in Ada. On July 28, 1940, he married Jean Sharp of Asher. In July of 1941 he joined the Army Air Force and was stationed at Randolph Field, San Antonio, where he received his wings and then served as a decorated fighter pilot in campaigns in New Guinea, the East Indies and the Asiatic Pacific Theater in 1942.
In 1943 he attended the prestigious Command and General Staff School, American Air Force, in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. He was a major when he retired from active duty in 1946 in Los Angeles.
After the service he attended Southern School of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn. graduating from there in 1948 and opening his first practice in Idabel that same year. He served as President of the Lions Club and the Chamber of Commerce during his years there, as well as serving as State President of the Oklahoma Optometric Association in 1955. In 1957, the Ryans moved to Norman with their two children, Judy and John.
Dr. Ryan specialized in contact lenses and visual training and opened his new office in the Bailey-Ewing Building in the summer of 1957. Dr. Ryan was involved in many civic organizations in Norman during his career and retired at the age of 77 in 1996, after 40 years of serving his numerous patients in the Norman area. He was described as being kind and generous, always a gentleman and respectful to all. Dr. Ryan was an institution in Norman and he always enjoyed going to work every day, saying after his retirement he should have worked at least 5 more years.
His favorite place to vacation and relax was Lake of the Arbuckles in Sulphur, where he owned a lake house and enjoyed many good times there with his family and many friends.