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by Gale Branch-Alexander 28.MAR.08

It was with great shock and sadness that I learned last week of the tragic death of a beloved teacher, Hynford Ryan.

For those of us who have had the privilege of being taught by Mr. Ryan, and whose lives have been deeply touched and influenced by him, we will always remember him fondly, with great respect and pride. Rural school teachers of Mr. Ryan’s generation didn’t have many opportunities for formal training early in their careers; it was Mr. Ryan’s great native intelligence and natural talent that first placed him in the ranks of the outstanding. Yet he always remained humble and unassuming, seemingly unaware of his exceptional gifts and abilities. Patient, firm, fair, dedicated, and kind, he urged his students to strive for excellence, and was proud of our accomplishments. I remember his dedication to our Common Entrance class that he taught after school to prepare us for the rigorous exam. I remember how proud he was when I did well, and gained a scholarship to attend the St. Vincent Girls’ High School. He remained interested in my progress through High School and beyond.{{more}}

I am grateful that I had the opportunity a few years ago to let Mr. Ryan know just how much I valued the role he had played in shaping my young life. I have also found out that many other Park Hill School mates at one time or another took the opportunity to thank him, and to tell him of the profound impact he had had on their lives. I was struck by the fact that these spontaneous tributes are further testimonials to Mr. Ryan’s calibre as both a man and a teacher.

Hynford Ryan will be sorely missed in the community to which he dedicated a lifetime of service. He was part of that wonderful generation of teachers who selflessly taught and molded so many young lives, and whose profound influence on our lives still resonates after all these years. May he rest in peace.