Patrick Francis Ryan
Nov. 1, 1941 - July 20, 2013
PINEHURST, N.C. — Patrick Francis Ryan, 71, of Pinehurst, passed away Saturday, July 20, at the FirstHealth Hospice House after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer that lasted nearly two years.
Visitation will be Thursday, July 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Boles Funeral Home in Southern Pines. A funeral mass will be held Friday, July 26, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Southern Pines. Burial will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.
Pat was born November 1, 1941, in Clinton, Iowa. Rumor has it his parents paid the hospital bill for his birth with a wagonload of potatoes. He was a farm boy who turned down a college scholarship to play football and joined the Army. As a PFC, he became a crew chief for Army helicopters at Ft. Richardson, Alaska. He served his three years and returned to Iowa to farm, but he never got over his love for helicopters. Pat rejoined the Army and became an Army Aviator as a Warrant Officer.
Pat went to Vietnam as a UH-1 Huey pilot, returned, and received a direct commission to First Lieutenant. He then completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He returned to Vietnam for a second tour. Pat was promoted to Captain, and the Army sent him back to school for a Master of Science degree in Contract and Procurement Management at Florida Institute of Technology. He was then asked to sit on a selection board to purchase future helicopters for the Army while he continued to log his flight time. Pat had a one-year tour in Korea before he retired as a Major after 20 years in the Army.
After his military service, Pat entered an 18-year civilian career in contract procurement with Andrew Corporation. He retired as Director of Corporate Contracts after traveling most of the world on business. Pat and his wife Chris retired to their home state of Iowa for five years, but the snow blower broke and they decided to move to North Carolina. Pat worked part-time at Boles Funeral Home and volunteered at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital until his cancer diagnosis. Pat had several passions in his retirement. He enjoyed golf, gardening, and watching the St. Louis Cardinals. He trained and became a master gardener, but he was still working on master golfer. He and Chris celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past December.