I have learned many things from my siblings-so too can you!

I am in a particularly reflective mood today.  I vacillate from happiness to sadness quite often and all of this is a result from the loss of one of my two older brothers to cancer last evening.  I miss my brother, John Ryan, dearly, but i also have much happiness and even joy in knowing that he is in a better place with his Savior.  No longer will he be ravaged by the pain and anguish of the cancer he endured.

John is one of two brothers i have been blessed to have.  My other brother, Pat Ryan, is one year and three days older than John.  I then came along about 7 years later.  The two of them have had a profound influence on my life.  I felt it would be of value to share a few of those with you today in the hopes that you too can garner some value from those siblings you have or have had in your life.

Pat and John can be similar, but also very different.  Let me share some insight of how each of them have made me who I am today:

Pat, as the older brother, was typically the more athletic member of the two.  He was a fairly good basketball and baseball player and he had good speed, at least in his younger years.  I always joke with people that Pat would never challenge anyone to a fight, but he would often challenge others to a race.  And when he did race, he had the good fortune to usually win.

John was the first of us to go to college.  John attended Murray State University from 1970-1974 and earned a BS in Nursing.  He had tremendous insight in choosing nursing as a career and he spent his entire career working for one employer, TVA, the Tennessee Valley Authority.  John also spent a number of years “playing Army” as he would joke, being a member of the Army Reserve.  His play became quite serious in the early 1990’s when he shipped off to the First Gulf war to run a MASH hospital.  I would never compare John to Hawkeye Pierce, but he played a key role in providing a great service to our country.

Both of my brothers had a keen sense for music and much of my musical taste lends itself to their time frame and not my own.  Pat always had the newest 45’s when we were growing up and i learned a lot about the Rolling Stones and many other bands through Pat.  John introduced me to the James Gang, CSN&Y and Deep Purple when he went off to college and I still listen to those bands today, especially Joe Walsh and Neil Young.

John also played a key role in my college decision and my geographic locale.  My original college choice was the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and i spent a year there during July of 1977.  After choosing to leave the academy, I enrolled at Murray State because I had contacts there through John and his wife.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I earned my first degree from MSU in 1981 and also met my wife there.  32 years later I am sitting here typing this and feeling very thankful.

Pat was always interested in attending sporting events and we have been to more than one Notre Dame game in our lives, the first being in South Bend in 1987 when the Irish defeated Southern Cal.  I had the good fortune to take Pat and his wife to the Music City Bowl in December 2014 when ND defeated LSU on a last second field goal.  I think he enjoyed the game.

John & Martha helped me to get to know many people in Murray and Western Kentucky in my younger days and I still have many friendships today as a results.  John’s son, Rex, was also the first Eagle Scout in the family and my two sons have since followed suit.

I have been the benefactor of many great things being the youngest of three brothers.  It saddens me to know that John is no longer here in this world, but the memories I have will last forever.  He leaves behind a great legacy and many friends who will miss him.

I trust i can do the same when my day comes.

So too should you.