John F. Ryan ’44 died on January 4, 2008, in Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania.
He was born on July 16, 1921, in New Haven Conn., and prepared for college at New Haven High School and Lincoln Preparatory School. A mem- ber of Delta Upsilon fraternity, he left Bowdoin in 1943 to join the Army Air Forces and served in the Pacific Theater. He was a staff sergeant and crewmember aboard the B-29 bomber Sitting Pretty when it was shot down over Yokahama, Japan, on May 29, 1945. He was held prisoner with other American airmen under harsh conditions by the Kempi Tai, the Japanese Secret Police. In late July, he was turned over to a regular POW camp at Omori, near Tokyo, and was liberated by the U.S. Navy on Aug. 29, 1945. He returned to Bowdoin after his discharge in 1946. That year, while still a senior at Bowdoin, he and his sister, Irene Ryan, opened J.F. Ryan and Company, a clothing store on Maine Street in Brunswick. In 1949, while continuing to operate the clothing store with the help of his father and sister, he took a position with United States Rubber Company in New York City and launched a successful career in advertising and publishing. He worked as a copy- writer for the Kenyan and Eckhart Advertising Agency in Philadelphia and later had assignments with Arndt, Preston, Chapin, Lamb & Keen Inc.; Horton, Church & Goff; Young and Rubican in New York; The Saturday Evening Post, and TV Guide. He was predeceased by his wife Faith in January 2008. He is survived by two daughters and two sons, including Parker J. Ryan.