Ryan has one of the warmest, kindest, most-welcoming, energetic, and contagious smiles. This was the first thing I ever saw, knew, learned, and appreciated about Ryan. I was privileged to be one of Ryan’s many classmates. I never worked directly with Ryan on a team project or assignment, but I was aware of him, observed him, and appreciated Ryan’s contributions. One particular interaction stands out to me in addition to my very positive first (and last) impression of Ryan.
At one point during the semester, Ryan was thinking about buying a new car. We had talked about this briefly in passing one day. Perhaps a couple months later, I asked him how his new car was – Ryan was still looking! He then proceeded to tell me all the different sources he was using to research the most desirable, functional, practical car as well as the criteria he had set up in looking for his car. I was floored! Not only did this have much to do with who Ryan was (in my estimation), I also observed that Ryan also took his strengths and talents and combined it with new principles we were learning in the grad program. He was so thoughtful and thorough.
I think Ryan approached life much in the same way, with thoughtful and thorough analysis (and a bit of humor :) and pure love along the way too. I appreciated his intellect and respected the refinement of his character and learning. For me, he was a giant in character, kindness, intellect and insight yet approachable and inviting. I only saw him use his strengths to the benefit of others and to further his own learning and development. His character, intellect, and kindness are all truly something truly to aspire to.
It’s hurtful to know that Ryan is now gone. I miss knowing that someone who impacted me deeply with relatively few interactions now leaves a gaping hole in the hearts and souls of those who knew and interacted with Ryan at a much deeper level than I did. My heart aches especially for Ryan’s wife and family. We are all blessed and better for knowing and interacting with Ryan. He will be missed.