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Very Reverend James “Jim” Michael Ryan JCL

Service Date: September 17, 2019
Visitation Info: Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption
Interment Info: St. Stephen Cemetery
Service Info: Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption
Service Info

Very Reverend James “Jim” Michael Ryan JCL, 75, died Saturday, September 7, 2019 at Madonna Manor in Villa Hills, KY after a brief illness.

Fr. James Ryan was ordained a priest on May 17, 1975 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. For many years he served as a full-time teacher and Headmaster at Covington Latin High School while assisting at many different parishes. Eventually he also earned a degree in Canon Law and has served in our Diocesan Tribunal. Father served as pastor of St. Philip Church in Melbourne, KY and was pastor of St. Henry Church, Erlanger, KY from 1999 until he retired in July 2015. Fr. Ryan enjoyed being part of the Blessed Sacrament Church community where he continued to serve as a priest, but without the administrative responsibilities. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Lois Ryan; Brother Bob Ryan; Nephew Sean Ealy; brother-in-law Carl Gregory. He is survived by sisters Barbara Ryan Gregory and Kathleen Ealy (Lee); sister-in-law Mary Beth Feldhake Ryan and numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Monday, September 16, 2019 from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. with a Vigil at 7 p.m. at Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, 1140 Madison Avenue Covington, KY; Visitation prior to Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 from 5 p.m.- 6:15 p.m. Mass at 6:30pm at the Cathedral. Burial will be private at St. Stephens Cemetery, Ft. Thomas, KY. Memorials to Covington Latin High School, 21 E. 11th St. Covington, KY  41011 or Priest Retirement Fund of Diocese of Covington, 1125 Madison Avenue Covington, KY. Linnemann Family Funeral Homes is serving the family.


4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

1140 Madison Avenue Covington, KY
6:30 pm

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

1140 Madison Avenue Covington, KY

St. Stephen Cemetery

Address: 523 Alexandria Pike Ft. Thomas, KY 41075
12:00 am - 12:00 am

Very Reverend James “Jim” Michael Ryan JCL


Fr. Jim Ryan

Dear family members,

I’m a CLS grad and currently serve as Superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. I sent the following out to all my principals…

Last week, my former high school principal (although his actual title was “Headmaster”), Fr. Jim Ryan, passed away. Fr. Ryan was a holy, brilliant, and kind man who, in addition to his administrative duties, taught 4th year Latin to us as seniors. No matter where he went, I’m pretty sure he was always the smartest person in the room but he had a natural humility that could disarm anyone and make them a friend.

I was blessed to maintain a relationship with Fr. Ryan over the years. This past spring we had lunch for the last time and he said something interesting. He didn’t regard himself as a particularly gifted school administrator; rather, he felt his gifts were more as a teacher and pastor. While I’m loath to disagree with my mentor, he was, in fact, a person I considered to be a “giant” of Catholic education for three reasons. First, all of us knew that he truly loved us as people with our talents and quirks…and we were a quirky lot. Second, he was a person who everyone could trust in good times or bad. As students, it’s fair to say that we had a healthy respect for Fr. Ryan and never wanted to incur his wrath but we knew that he would be in our corner when it counted. Third, his faith was powerful and real. He lived it every day in how he treated us and others

I pray that all of us will be as “not particularly gifted” as Fr. Jim Ryan. I know that God welcomed him to the kingdom with the words “Euge serve bone et fidelis servus!” (If the grammar is incorrect, Fr. Ryan may haunt me!)

Have a blessed weekend,

Condolences to Family and Friends of Fr. Ryan

Judy and I extend our deep condolences to the family and friends of Jim Ryan, and to the Diocese of Covington on the death of Fr. Jim Ryan.

Jim and I met while we were studying at Mt. St. Mary Seminary in Norwood.

Jim and I spent the summer of ’72 painting St. Louis Chancery. We would listen to the Watergate hearings while we worked, and Jim would have a running commentary in his usual joking manner. Archbishop Joseph Bernardine would pass by occasionally and chat with us. What struck us as amusing were all those priests and important people who were waiting patiently to see the bishop, while at the same time, Jim and I would pass by his office, stick our heads in his doorway and chat for awhile.

I will miss Jim. While he was one of the smartest people I ever knew, he never let it get in the way of his personality. As you know, he was fun to be with.

Eternal rest grant unto Jim, O Lord,
and may he shine brightly in the Perpetual Light of Jesus.
May he rest in peace. Amen.

Ray Feldman

Sincere Sympathy

Let me express my sincere sympathy on the death Fr. Ryan. He was a very close friend of mine from the time we first met at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati in 1971. He and I enjoyed many things together, including Church history, art, classical music, and of course, eating. We were brothers of different origins, but it was always important for me, and I know for him, to get together several times a year, whether in Northern Kentucky, Lake Wawasee in Indiana, or in Florida. It turned out that we were also cancer patients together this year, and it is for that reason that I could not be present for his funeral. But know that I am there in spirit, and know as well that Jim will always be in my heart.
Fr. Bill Loveless

Father James Ryan

Sympathy to Father’s family. He was a great priest.