Lester Erwin Ryan, age 93, passed away peacefully on April 24, 2023, at Fernandina Beach Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Fernandina Beach, Florida. He was a long-time resident of St. Mary’s City, Maryland.
Les was born January 9, 1930, in Osceola, Arkansas to Lester and Mabel (Rogers) Ryan.
He graduated from Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge Tennessee in 1947 and attended the University of Tennessee for one year prior to enlisting in the U.S. Navy, where he served until his retirement as a Lieutenant in 1967. As an instructor at the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Millington, TN, he met his future wife, Mary Jo Crowley where she was his student. After marriage on December 28, 1950, she was to be his faithful wife for 67 years until her passing in 2018.
As he rose through the ranks in the Navy, he moved his growing family no less than 15 times to duty stations all over the United States. This included duty stations in California, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, Virginia and Maryland. While deployed to NAF Sigonella, Sicily as an Aviation Maintenance Officer in his P-3A squadron, VP-44, his wife and five children, ages 1 to 9, joined him in a small apartment in Catania. After retirement from the Navy in 1967, he and his family returned to St. Mary’s County, where they had been stationed at NAS Patuxent River twice before.
Les was a gifted athlete, especially in fast pitch softball, where he was selected to several All-Navy and All-Star teams as a prolific home run hitter, and was the coach/player of the NAS Beeville, Texas team.
After retirement from the Navy and brief employment at Placid Harbor Yacht Club and General Kinetics, he continued his career at NAS Patuxent River in the Civil Service, first at Weapons Systems Test and then as the head of the Targets Section. Following retirement from the Civil Service, he enjoyed employment at Wyle Labs and DynCorp in Lexington Park before joining his wife in retirement to their home in St. Mary’s City.
Lester is survived by his five children; Lester, Mikel, Laurie, Jody and Stuart; seven adored grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind innumerable friends in the Patuxent River area. He is predeceased by his parents Lester and Mabel, his wife Mary Jo, and his sisters Louise, Sydney, Mildred, Norma Jean and Bernice.
His love of family, animals and wildlife, and especially his love of his wife, will always be remembered by his family and many friends.
His remains will be cremated and joined with those of his beloved wife. There are no planned services.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Well Pet Clinic. 21800 North
Shangri La Drive, Unit 16, Lexington Park, MD 20653, to the Humane Society, or to a local Animal Rescue.
Les was a very special boss, mentor, and special life long friend. He was always very kind, encouraging and led by example and quite a family man. He was so incredibly proud of his family, and I loved to hear the stories about his children and grandchildren. God bless you Les🙏
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