MANCHESTER, NH – Michael F. Ryan died peacefully surrounded by his loving wife and daughters on Tuesday November 27, 2018 at the Concord Regional VNA Hospice House.
Michael courageously battled cancer for nearly five years and his girls reminded him until his last breath that he beat it: by how he lived, by why he lived, and by the manner in which he lived.
Michael was born in Webster, MA, and always loved to share the story of Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. He was a skilled storyteller, a history buff and a patient man (which lended itself to helping with the pronunciation of said lake). He grew up in Burlington, MA, and his girls loved hearing the stories of his childhood there.
Early on it looked like a career in baseball may be in his future, though ultimately the love of a different sport would steer his path. Mike was elected to the PGA of America in 1981. He first served as assistant golf professional at Plausawa Valley Country Club in Pembroke, NH. A kind and friendly couple who were members at the club took him under their wing, making sure the young Michael had plenty of home-cooked meals. That couple would ultimately become his father and mother-in-law, for as soon as he laid eyes on their daughter Bonnie, he knew she was the one. With Bonnie by his side, Michael would later serve as assistant golf professional at several other clubs including Salem Country Club in Salem, MA, and Beaver Meadow Golf Club in Concord, NH.
In 1996 he became head golf professional at Derryfield Country Club in Manchester. He was loved and respected by his members and contributed much to the club. He engaged in continuing education to remain current on the latest teaching methods and was consulted by fellow pros near and far on the rules of golf. He was proud of his work in establishing a PGA Tour Simulator room at the club so that folks could enjoy golf year-round. The fact that he remained working at “the Moon” until the end of his life is a testament to his dedication to the club and his great passion for the game. That love and dedication was formally recognized in 2017 when he was elected by his peers as the NH Chapter PGA Professional of the Year.
While Michael had a great love for the game of golf, nothing surpassed his love and devotion to his family, who always came first. Michael and Bonnie were truly a pair, and modeled a beautiful and supportive marriage for their daughters. Michael was a steady and calming presence in his house full of girls, always available with a hug, steady hand (perfect for fixing anything that needed fixing) and warm smile. He had great pride in passing on his love for golf to his daughter Lauren, and appreciated the fact that Bonnie and Kristen loved to “ride along.” As was his nature, he welcomed Kristen and Lauren’s husbands with open arms into the family, and was known for his best-ever “man hugs.” He was always available to play a game of fetch with his grandpuppies Daisy and Remi (who knew him as “Ball Buddy”). His last great accomplishment was that of Grampa, and he enjoyed a wonderful year with his Josie.
Michael was preceded in death by his parents, William and Alice Ryan; his parents-in-law Asa and Elizabeth Jacobs; his nephew John Nicoletta; and Matthew Choiniere, who was like a son to him. He is survived by his wife Bonnie of Concord; his daughter Kristen Breault, her husband Jeff and their daughter Josephine of Scarborough, ME; his daughter Lauren Belcastro and her husband Brett of North Andover, MA; his three sisters Betty Nicoletta and her husband Stephen; Jane Ryan; and Kathy Winslow and her husband Brian; along with many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends.
Calling hours will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 6 at Bennett Funeral Home in Concord. A service will take place on Friday Dec 7 at 10 a.m. at Pembroke Congregational Church in Pembroke, followed by a celebration of Michael’s life at the Puritan Backroom Restaurant in Manchester.
Michael had a great passion for youth golf and helped grow interest in the community, and in general took great joy in supporting organizations that furthered the lives of children. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to New Hampshire Golf Association for The Mike Ryan Memorial Junior Golf Tournament at 56 S. State St Concord, NH 03301 or the ForMatt Foundation 11 Forest Hill Road, Meredith, 03253. Arrangements are entrusted to the Bennett Funeral Home of Concord. Online condolences may be expressed at www.bennettfuneral.com