Cover photo for Alan Ryan's Obituary
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1929 Alan 2016

Alan Ryan

August 30, 1929 — December 7, 2016

Al Ryan of Sharon Springs passed away at age 87 on December 7th 2016. He had been a hospice patient at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center in Denver for the past two months.

Al was born in Goodland on August 30, 1929 to Allen Thomas Kear and Ruby Violet Rice Kear.

He attended his first few years of grade school in Oakland, California while his father built ships for the World War II military effort.  The remainder of his childhood was spent in Goodland attending Grant Grade School and Sherman Community High School.

Like many children of the depression, Al went to work at a young age. With prohibition winding down, he was hired as a delivery boy for local bootleggers.  His summer job was working on his grandparent's farm in Thomas County. At that time his family still didn't have tractors and his job was to work the fields with a mule team. Another grade school job was helping at the sale barn. In addition to caring for the horses, Al helped with training and then riding them in the arena to demonstrate to buyers their levels of ability and temperament. At age 12, he started working for the Albert Holton family learning auto-body repair. This was a skill he used for much of his adult life. In his late teens, Al moved with his brothers to Montana to work in the copper mines. In 1950, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Korea as a gunner in H Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment. He was injured in action and awarded the Purple Heart.

When he returned from the war, he married Betty Daise Barkley and from this marriage one child, Judy Lynn Kear was born.

For several years, Al owned a landscaping and tree service business that operated throughout the tri-state area. For more than a decade he owned Kear Auto Body in Goodland, and later moved the business to Denver. In the 1980s, Al taught auto body repair at the Aurora Public Technical School. He spent his final working years as a Licensed Home Inspector and retired to Sharon Springs in 1990 where he lived the remainder of his life.

Al had many interests: He loved animals and couldn't resist helping any strays he encountered; he enjoyed lengthy and frequent coffee breaks with friends; gardening; wood working and pulling elaborate practical jokes. He had a unique skill which was designing and building banjos. Although he didn't read music, he was self-taught and became an accomplished musician. Many students sought him out as a banjo teacher and he performed in several groups over the years including the Rocky Mountain Dixieland Jazz Band.

In addition to his parents, Al was preceded in death by his sister Norma (Gail) Topliff, Gene Kear, Maurice (Jessie) Kear, Vic (Flossie) Kear, Darrell (Jolene) Kear and three nephews Lonny, Terry and Pat Kear.

He is survived by his daughter Judy, granddaughter Shawn and son-in-law Frank Finnegan all of St. Louis, along with several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Memorial services will be held at the United Methodist Church in Sharon Springs on Friday January 6th, 2017 with Pastor Duncan Ibuuri and Reverend Paul McNall officiating. The service will begin at 11:00 a.m. with lunch immediately following.

A private burial will be scheduled in the military section of the Goodland Cemetery.

Charitable donations may be made to:

Fischer House
C/O Koons-Russell Funeral Home, 211 N. Main St., Goodland KS 67735

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alan Ryan, please visit our flower store.


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