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James D. Ryan

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James D. Ryan

Graduated from St. Thomas College, St. Paul Minnesota with a BA degree in Business Administration in June 1954. Went to work for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company while I waited to enter pilot school. Went to Lackland in March 1955, and on to Bartow Air Base, Florida flying PA-18 and T-6 aircraft. Then on to Williams AFB, Arizona for T-28 transition and to T-33 training at Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, Texas.

While training at Laughlin, I flew solo one night flight with a cold. I told them I shouldn't. You know the answer, I did. I had a decompression with a faulty seal and blew some stuff into my inner ear. I ended up with an infection which eventually ended up in a stapendectamy. When I got out of the service a metal spring was inserted in my right ear at the VA Hospital in St. Paul.

I received my jet wings and because of my hearing loss I ended up in a troop carrier outfit with assignment to Sewart AFB, Smyrna, Tennessee as Base Personnel Officer. My boss' boss, Col. Lewis used to be Base Commander at Peterson Field, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since I was "single, sober, and happy", the colonel always had me fly with him and another pilot to Colorado at least two or three times a month. That is how I fell in love with Colorado Springs. I finally got transferred to a flying squadron flying C-123s, which I really wanted to do. I spent the rest of my military career there at Sewart, a total of two years, nine months, three weeks, four days, four hours and fifteen minutes. I got out on a Friday at fifteen minutes past twelve. All that time includes pilot school. They offered pilots an "early out" and I took it.

When I got out I went back to Firestone, but management had changed and I no longer felt this was my choice of a career. In 1959 I went to work for Addressograph Multigraph Corp. in St. Paul, Minnesota in sales. I was promoted to assistant sales manager in 1969 and transferred to Chicago, Illinois. In 1971 I was promoted to sales manager in Madison, Wisconsin. I stayed there until 1978. Finally I had enough of management and big business, so I transferred to a sales job in Denver Colorado. I was living in Pueblo West and traveled the mountains. It was the best decision I ever made. I love Colorado, native by choice.

In 1981 AM Corp took a Chapter 11 and I would have had to move into Denver. I decided to terminate after almost 23 years.

Because I loved the mountains and the outdoors, I worked and developed a portable firepit and started a firm called NAYR Industries (Ryan spelled backwards). I manufactured and started selling a portable firepit called the Small Fry. It folded up to one-half inch thick roughly and was less than 12 inches by 12 inches in area. It was not an open or ground fire but used any fuel like newspaper, wood, or charcoal. It even has a propane attachment while protecting the wilderness. I generally promoted it in Arizona at a place called Quartzsite where up to a million people winter each year. Also I promoted it in south Texas where a large group of campers (Snowbirds) go each winter. I also spent a great deal of time promoting the firepit with Forest Service and the Boy Scouts. I was always working and camping in my motor homes.

While selling and demonstrating Firepit in the desert at Quartzsite in January 2000 I didn't feel all that well one evening. I went to the hospital in Blythe, California. I was having a silent heart attack. I was flown into Phoenix and on February 6, 2000 received a quadruple bypass. It has slowed me up somewhat but I am still camping and enjoying the outdoors. I'm no longer a backpacker. I'm more of a front loader and it shows. I am not overweight. My nurse practitioner at the VA says that I'm not tall enough for my weight! I agree with her.

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