Memorable Manitobans: Timothy Joseph “Tim” Ryan (1943-2004)
Born at Renfrew, Ontario on 12 May 1943, son of Harold John Ryan (1909-1974) and Catherine Teressa Comerford (1912-2004), he lived in the Ottawa Valley until 1965 when he married Dianna Lynn Buck and settled in Winnipeg, where they raised two children. After a number of years in the pharmaceutical industry, he founded Bonnechere Systems Inc., specializing in government relations and board development for non-profit and charitable community groups. He spent 25 years as President of the Saint-Boniface Mohawks Senior Hockey Club, and was a shareholder of the Winnipeg Warriors (now the Moose Jaw Warriors of the CHL). He spent a quarter of a century as a director of the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association and was marketing director for the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum from 1996 to 2002. He was a founding director and President of Total Community Development Inc., a not-for-profit organization that raised millions of dollars for the Manitoba sports community from 1976 to 1986. He served as Executive Vice-President of the 1999 Pan American Games and consultant on the Arctic Winter Games at Iqaluit, Nunavut, in 2002.
In addition to his work in Manitoba sports, he was a founder and director (1982-1986) of the Manitoba Learning Centre, an organization for children with learning disabilities. He was fundraising director for Knowles Centre in Winnipeg from 1984 through 1994, providing care for troubled adolescents throughout northern Ontario and Manitoba. In 2000, he became a founding director of the Graffiti Art Program for street kids. During the period 1997 to 2001, he was also a director of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. In 1995, he joined the board of the national charity, Epilepsy Canada, becoming President in 1999 and serving until 2003 when ill health prevented him from further participation. Through this time he travelled extensively as an advocate for people suffering from epilepsy. He also sat on the Board of the Canadian League Against Epilepsy, the professional arm of the International League Against Epilepsy.
Active in politics, he was President of Saint-Boniface Federal Liberal Association for a decade, President of Radisson Provincial Liberal Association, a candidate for St. Vital in the 1995 provincial election, President of the Liberal Party in Manitoba 1993 to 1995, and Chief Financial Officer of the Liberal Party in Manitoba from 1992 to 2000. Elected Vice-President (Prairies) for the Liberal Party of Canada, he sat as a member of the national executive from 1998 to 2003, and chaired numerous election campaigns in Ontario and Manitoba. A few days before he died, he received a late-night visit in hospital from then-Prime Minister Paul Martin, who was in Winnipeg to officially open the newly-built Liberal headquarters at Molgat Place.
He was recognized for his community work with a Silver Medal for Community Involvement (1992), Volunteer of the Year Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association (1995), Honorary Life Membership in the Liberal Party (2002), Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), and Pioneer Award of Epilepsy Canada (2003).
He died at Winnipeg on 4 October 2004 and was buried in the Saint Andrews Parish Cemetery at Killaloe, Ontario.
“Loyal PM bids adieu to friend, supporter,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 October 2004.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 October 2004.
“Timothy Joseph Ryan,” Patrick Donlevy Family Tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 20 January 2021