Robert E. Ryan

10/06/1947 - 04/20/2024


Obituary For Robert E. Ryan

Robert E. Ryan, a man of unwavering strength and courage, passed away at his home on the morning of April 20, 2024, after bravely battling esophageal cancer for 18 months.

Bob was the beloved husband of nearly 56 years to Ellen (Kerr) Ryan, a devoted father to Theresa (Tish) Betz of Danville and Jennifer Sarff of Camp Hill, a cherished father-in-law to David Betz and Michael Sarff, and an irreplaceable grampy to Samuel Betz, Robert Charles Betz, William Sarff, Michael (Mac) Sarff, and Josephine Sarff.

Bob was born in Danville, PA, on October 6, 1947, to parents William H. Ryan and Helen J. Wildsmith. He was the fourth born of seven Ryan kids, and his first best friend was his eldest brother, William (Judy) Ryan of Berwick, PA, who preceded him in death in 1988. He was also brother to Charles (Bette) Ryan of Berwick, Susan Ryan of Danville, Sandra Ryan Sheppard of Danville, Joni Ryan Hales of Collegeville, and Jane Ryan of Richmond, VA. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Ron and Elizabeth Kerr Owens of Davidsonville, MD, their children Matthew (Rachael) Owens and Rachael (Michael) Owens Donehower, many nieces and nephews, and dear friends.

Significant achievements and contributions marked Bob's life. He graduated from Danville High School in 1966 and immediately enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He and Ellen were stationed in Pensacola, FL, where they welcomed their daughter Tish in 1968. He served with pride in Vietnam on the USS America as a flight captain, a role he held in high esteem until his Earthly death. After returning to Pennsylvania, he pursued his passion for carpentry, enrolling in the building and construction technology program at Williamsport Area Community College. Over time, he became a master cabinetmaker, and his furniture brings beauty to many homes in Pennsylvania and beyond. He was a proud retiree of Merck & Company in Danville, having spent nearly 30 years as a production supervisor.

Bob will be remembered as one of the hardest-working men ever to live. He could build absolutely anything. When he looked at something, he could see its potential to become something better. He knew every variety of birds and trees in existence. He loved sitting in tree stands, going to the flea market, fishing in Canada, snorkeling in Cozumel, talking to strangers, fixing rather than replacing all things, and showing pictures of his creations, hunting conquests, and grandkids to all who would give him the time. His idea of heaven was spending time at Tish and Dave’s farm in Rush Township, where he could fully appreciate nature, wildlife, and family. Spending time with his closest friends Carl Slater, Gary Aurand, and Lisa Bausch Hancock brought him immeasurable joy. Even with the difficulties he experienced during his recent journey, he would probably say that any given day was still a 10/10. He lived a simple life, yet one that was rich in experiences and relationships. He will never be forgotten, especially by his five grandchildren and those who best knew him.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life walkthrough visitation to be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024, from 10:00 AM – 11:45 AM at Visneski Funeral Home, Inc. 42 West Mahoning Street Danville PA where brief remarks to celebrate the significance of Robert’s life will be shared at 12:00 Noon. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.

The family will provide flowers. Anyone who would wish to express sympathy, please consider a memorial contribution made to American Legion Post 40 425 Northumberland Street Danville 17821 or Compassus Hospice 575 Montour Boulevard Suite 1, Bloomsburg PA 17814.


11 May

Walk-through Visitation

10:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Visneski Funeral Home, Inc. 42 W Mahoning St. Danville, PA 17821 Get Directions »
11 May

Celebration of Life

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM

Visneski Funeral Home, Inc. 42 W Mahoning St. Danville, PA 17821 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

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  • 05/09/2024

    Bob was a special man and so special to his older brother Bill throughout his life. They were alike in so many ways. Bob was a great comfort to me and my family when Bill passed.

  • 04/25/2024

    Sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I worked with him at Merck where he was always fun to work with and always available to help me especially when I was just starting out. He was a gentleman inside and out of work. He will be missed. Kathy (Reich) Miller

  • 04/23/2024

    So sorry to hear of the passing of Bob. He had the greatest smile ever. He had a knack of repairing everything we brought his way. Deepest heartfelt sympathy Ellen and to your family. Praying for God's peace and grace for all of you, Sharon and Jim Lewis

  • 04/23/2024

    Bob was a genuine person who loved life and everyone around him. Ellen and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Bob will be greatly missed by anyone who knew and loved him. Always willing to help anyone. Norma Bird

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