Hon Michael D Ryan portrait

A new portrait of Hon. Michael D. Ryan, dedicated on April 25, 2014.

On Friday, April 25, a terrific lawyer and judge was honored with the dedication of an oil painting depicting him. The jurist recognized was Justice Michael D. Ryan.

You can read Justice Ryan’s obituary here. I wrote about him in Arizona Attorney Magazine here.

Today, I share a great story about the event written by the staff of the Superior Court for Maricopa County. I was very sorry to have to miss the event, but I am pleased that Mike Ryan’s friendly visage has become a permanent part of the courthouse.

Here’s the story:

On April 25, Superior Court celebrated the distinguished career of The Honorable Michael D. Ryan with a portrait dedication ceremony.

Justices, judges, former judges, court staff, friends and family attended the ceremony at the Old Courthouse in Phoenix to pay their respect to a brilliant legal mind who dedicated 24 years to working in the Judiciary. Justice Ryan served as a Superior Court Judge, a Court of Appeals Judge and an Arizona Supreme Court Justice.

During the ceremony, Justice Ryan’s wife, Karen, and son, Kevin, unveiled the portrait and Presiding Judge Norman Davis, Commissioner R. Jeffrey Woodburn and Retired Judge Ron Reinstein spoke on behalf of their friend and former colleague.

Justice Ryan was known as a fair and thoughtful jurist who managed his courtroom in a firm but respectful manner. He was respected by all who appeared before him as well as those who served beside him.

As a Superior Court Judge, he presided over high profile cases such as AzScam, the Phoenix Suns drug case and the criminal trial of Governor Evan Mecham. Prior to joining the Bench, he served as a Maricopa County prosecutor.

Justice Ryan received his Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University. He also was the recipient of two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star for his service as a United States Marine Corps platoon commander in the Vietnam War.

This afternoon is the visitation and funeral mass for retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Michael D. Ryan. Details are below.

You may read the obituary online and share it with others here.

To view it as it appeared in print, click here (the image is also on this page to the left; click it to enlarge).

Michael D. Ryan

Arizona Supreme Court Justice (Ret.)

Michael D. Ryan passed away on Monday, January 30, 2012. He was 66. His friends, family and colleagues are shocked and saddened by his sudden passing.

Justice Ryan retired from the Arizona Supreme Court in August of 2010, after serving as a Judge in Arizona for more than 24 years. A lifelong community servant, his passing has left a huge loss for everyone who knew and loved him and for Arizonans who depended on him as a patient, careful and thoughtful jurist.

Family and friends will remember Mike as a loving, kind and thoughtful man. He found the love of his life early on and loved her until the day he died. Karen was his partner in life and his best friend, and together they raised three sons. In recent years, they became proud grandparents of two beautiful grandchildren. From 1974 through 2000, Mike and Karen cared for more than 80 high risk infants, before they were placed for adoption or returned to their birth parents.

Colleagues of Justice Ryan will remember him as a brilliant legal mind. His kind, soft-spoken demeanor masked a fair and thoughtful jurist who managed his courtroom in a firm but respectful manner. His straightforward approach on the bench was respected by all who appeared before him, as well as those who served beside him. Even in retirement, Justice Ryan continued to serve the state as chairperson for several Supreme Court Committees and as visiting Justice on several cases. Throughout his career, he volunteered his time to numerous charitable and professional boards. He was a familiar face around the courthouse and spent part of his last day at the Supreme Court—a place in the world he loved, filled with people who loved him.

Before his appointment to the Supreme Court in 2002, Justice Ryan served on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, for more than five years and as a Judge of the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County for more than 10 years.

As a trial judge, Justice Ryan presided over a number of high-profile cases on the Maricopa County Superior Court, including AzScam, the Phoenix Suns’ drug case, and the criminal trial of Governor Evan Mecham. Before becoming a judge, Justice Ryan was Deputy County Attorney in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, where he served in the major felony bureau and the office’s sex crimes unit.

Justice Ryan received his B.A. degree from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota in 1967. After college he served in the United States Marine Corps as an infantry platoon commander from 1967 to 1969. He received a medical retirement because of wounds received in combat in Vietnam and was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat “V” for heroism in combat. Justice Ryan came to Arizona in 1970 and later obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from Arizona State University Law School in 1977.

Justice Michael Ryan is survived by his wife Karen, sons Michael (Michelle), Kevin, and Chris (Jenny), grandchildren Alicia and Aidan, sisters Kathy (Jim Elson), and Megan (Bob Kline), brothers Matthew and Patrick, nieces Mary and Cassandra, and scores of adoring Minnesota cousins. The Justice was predeceased by his parents Don and Kay, and beloved brother Sean and sister-in law Janice.

A funeral mass will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church 4715 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ on Friday, February 3, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. with visitation one hour before.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.