Cover photo for John Ryan's Obituary
John Ryan Profile Photo
1941 John 2020

John Ryan

December 18, 1941 — September 25, 2020

John C. Ryan passed away unexpectedly at home on the 25th day of September 2020. Funeral Mass will be held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. with Father Charles Howell officiating. Visitation will be held at Harrod Brothers Funeral Home from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.

A graduate of St. Catharine College (class of 1962) and the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences (1964) and College of Law (1967), he practiced law for over 50 years, specializing in bankruptcy and administrative law. He was a lifetime fellow of the Kentucky Bar Foundation, and a member of the Franklin County and Kentucky Bar Associations, where he held Senior Status. He was an active member of the Choateville Ruritan Club, and a longtime member of Good Shepherd Church.

A native of Lebanon, Kentucky, he was born on a family farm, and remained a farmer at heart all his life, spending hours outside on his tractors, tooling around in the yard, and devoting his twilight hours to the crop of wine grapes he’d just harvested this September. He was especially fond of the Ford 8N tractor that he’d inherited from his dad. He loved classic cars, planes, bourbon, motorbike rides on sunny days with his wife, and generally doing anything the old-fashioned way. He was a night owl and a secret sentimentalist (or maybe just a pack rat), who saved every greeting card or note he ever got from his siblings or his girls, and loved to tell stories about his early days on the farm, the best nightclubs in Marion County, or his early (and brief) forays into Kentucky politics.

Mr. Ryan was predeceased by his parents, John C. Ryan, Sr. and Aileen Ryan. He is survived by his devoted wife of 53 years, Judy Nicholls Ryan; daughters, Jennifer Ryan, Kimberly Shields (Jeff), Robyn Smith (Matt), and Kelli Ryan (Noor); siblings, Doug Ryan (Mary Helen), Harriet Stuart (Clay), Rick Ryan (Jamie), and Martha Howard (Jim); grandchildren, Evan Shields and Ellery Shields; his Aunts Jewell McCauley, Barbara Spalding, and Velma Spalding and nieces, nephews, and cousins of whom he was truly fond.

To order memorial trees in memory of John Ryan, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Harrod Brothers Funeral Home

312 Washington St, Frankfort, KY 40601

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Funeral Mass

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Good Shepherd Catholic Church

316 Wapping St, Frankfort, KY 40601

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