Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

John D. Ryan


"Ryan, John D. 90 Dec. 20, 1920 Dec. 19, 2011 John D. Ryan--lawyer, poet, author, orator, wit, literary activist, friend and the best kind of husband--passed away on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, just one day shy of his 91st birthday. John was born the second son of Thomas G. Ryan and Virginia Hadley Ryan of Portland. He attended Portland's U.S. Grant High School and Fordham University in New York City, serving as the president of the student body at both schools. When World War II looked as if it would interrupt his college studies, John convinced the Fordham Dean to begin a summer school program so he and his classmates could graduate early in order to enlist and serve in the war. It was in his years of military duty that he developed a literacy program for members of the Armed Services. He also served as a scriptwriter in the AAF First Motion Picture Unit, Culver City, Calif., with subsequent assignments to combat theaters in Europe. He was honorably discharged from active duty in 1946. After military life, John returned to Portland and studied law at Northwestern College of Law (now Lewis and Clark Law School). He became a member of the Oregon State Bar in 1950 and built a distinguished and courageous legal career for the next 60 years, becoming known as a lawyer who stood by his clients every step of the way just because they needed his help. Among many professional recognitions that John received were the Multnomah Bar Association Professionalism Award (1997); The Catholic Lawyers for Social Justice Award (1992); The Oregon Trial Lawyers Association Distinguished Trial Lawyers Award (1993); The American College of Trial Lawyer membership (1980); and The Oregon State Bar President's Special Award of Appreciation (2011)." [Obituary, The Oregonian, Dec. 25, 2011]

Ryan published three books of poetry, two cookbooks, and a biography, One Man's War.


John D. Ryan, No Road With a Turning (Portland, Oregon: John D. Ryan, 2005)