Nicholas Lee "Nick" Ryan was born on a bright Sunday morning, Jan. 18, 1981, in Kearney, to Randy and Shirley Ryan. Nick departed this life July 18, 2011, from a hiking accident along the Grinnell Glacier Trail in Montana’s Glacier National Park.
Nick grew up on the family farm north of Overton. Nick seemed to instinctively have a sense of adventure. Early days were spent riding bikes, horses, playing ball and just looking at things for a time, taking them apart to see how they worked and then reassembling them.
Nick grew up in the Holy Rosary Parish where he was baptized and confirmed.
Nick loved riding horses. He started junior rodeoing at a very young age. Nick continued working with horses, training them with his dad as a summer job for six years. He had a lot of fun, enjoyed roping and coming back for the family branding in the spring. This May for branding, Nick’s request was to get a horse without bucks in it.
Nick graduated in 1999 from Overton Public School. Athletics were a big part of his school years. Nick played baseball in the summer, football in the fall, basketball in the winter and track in the spring. There was never a season that did not include weight training. He was mentored well by his two older brothers, Eric and Andy. Nick was always their biggest and most loyal fan. Nick in turn mentored his three younger sisters, Jody, Lisa and Shalee, through sports, homework, boyfriends and life in general.
You could always find Nick telling stories on how wonderful his family and extended family was and how he admired each and every one of them. We feel so grateful for God blessing us with his presence for the past 30 years.
Nick attended the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, graduating in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. He worked as a strength and conditioning coach at UNL and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While in Illinois, Nick attained a life goal of becoming a certified personal trainer.
Nick fulfilled another goal in his life when he and the love of his life, his wife Liz, moved back to Omaha and purchased their own athletic training facility, Fitness Together. The business logo was 1 Client 1 Trainer 1 Goal, so very fitting. Nick taught his clients how to be healthy and challenged himself to be the best example.
Nick was a true family man. His wife and daughters, Hallie (age 3) and Reagan (9 months) were his biggest delight. Their little faces lit up, as did his, whenever they were together. His love for his wife and daughters was so apparent - how he loved them.
Nick lived life with adventure and no regrets, lived each day to the fullest with a contagious smile for everyone he came in contact with. Nick never found an obstacle too big and never did anything half way. It was always done with excellence. Nick didn’t touch you with his hand, he touched you with his heart.
Nick’s love for God, family and friends was so obvious and we are going to miss him like crazy. A couple of his favorite quotes were: “Better to be righteous than liked.”; and “See you on the other side.”
Nick is survived by his wife, Liz; daughters, Hallie and Reagan of Gretna; parents, Randy and Shirley Ryan; brothers, Eric and wife Hayley Ryan, Wyatt, JoLee and Daisy of Overton, and Andy and wife Sandy Ryan, Tayah, Jaydah and Braelyn of Denton; sisters, Jody and husband Josh Roberts, Bailey of Ansley, Lisa and husband Mitch Mitchell, Jakcee of Sutherland, and Shalee Ryan and Andy McCarter, Elle of Overton; grandparents, Keith and Marilyn Hogg of Ansley; Auntie Patti and John Greb of Omaha; a loving host of aunts, uncles and cousins and numerous friends, co-workers and clients.
Nick was preceded in death by grandparents Leo and Patty Ryan.
Funeral services were July 23, 2011, at Lifegate Church in Omaha. Interment was at Overton.
Published in Custer County Chief, July 28, 2011