Jesuit Father William F. Ryan died July 13, 2014, at the Jesuit Infirmary in Spokane, Washington. He was 81. The younger of two brothers, Fr. Ryan was born in Spokane on July 18, 1932, to Donald R. and Kathleen (Prindiville) Ryan. He entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, Oregon, in August 1949 and followed the regular course of studies and training. He was ordained a priest on June 16, 1962, in Spokane. Graduate studies in philosophy took him to Europe; he earned a Ph.D. from the Universitie de Louvain, Belgium, in 1971.
Fr. Ryan returned to Spokane in 1972 to teach philosophy and theology at Gonzaga University; his courses were immensely popular with students and the Jesuit seminarians studying for the priesthood. A dedicated professor at Gonzaga University for nearly 40 years, Fr. Ryan consistently challenged his students to seek meaningful answers to profound philosophical and theological questions; his classes were noted for depth of intellectual conversation and good-natured humor. He wrote and lectured extensively on noted scholars such as Bernard Lonergan, SJ, Edmund Husserl, and Victor Frankl; his curriculum vitae lists an extensive number of scholarly papers presented, books edited, and talks given. In the last few years, significant health issues compelled Fr. Ryan to withdraw from the classroom and focus instead on his writing and research.
Fr. Ryan is survived by his older brother, James (Patricia) Ryan, two nieces, Susan Ryan-Osegueda and Julia Nell Hart, two grandnephews and one grandniece, several cousins and his brother Jesuits of the Oregon Province.