Ryan Michael Adams

Ryan AdamsRyan Michael Adams, 18, of Ridgefield, Connecticut died tragically in a plane crash on Sunday, September 20, 2015 in Eaton, New York, just seven days after his 18th birthday.

He is the precious son of Mary Lou Hanney and John Adams and the beloved brother of Kelly Adams whose lives will never be the same.

Ryan was born in White Plains, New York on September 13, 1997 and was raised in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Ryan attended Ridgefield public schools through seventh grade, and then transferred to and graduated from St. Luke’s School of New Canaan. Four weeks ago to the day, Ryan started what was to be a promising college career at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, his mother’s alma mater.

Anyone who had the privilege of meeting Ryan can attest to what a truly remarkable person he was. Ryan had so much promise. Losing him at such an early age is completely devastating to his family, as well as anyone who knew him.

Ryan was a Boy Scout since first grade where he was an active member of Cub Scout Pack 124 and Boy Scout Troops 116 and 76. From the start, Ryan made his mark in scouts. He rose to every challenge and excelled in all aspects of scouting.

Most notably, Ryan earned the highly-coveted rank of Eagle Scout in eighth grade at the young age of 13, making him among the youngest Eagle Scouts in the nation. At his Eagle Scout Court of Honor, his Assistant Scoutmaster said this: “(Ryan’s) personal focus on excellence and achievement have allowed him to rise to the rank of Eagle faster than any other scout I’ve worked with…Along the way, Ryan has become well respected by his peers because he knows what he’s doing and he’s always willing to help others at all times…But for all these accomplishments, it is Ryan’s scout spirit that makes him stand out in my mind.”

Ryan’s illustrious scouting career continued after earning his Eagle. He was elected by his fellow scouts to the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society. He held numerous leadership positions in the troop, including Senior Patrol Leader (highest scout position in the troop) and seven terms as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. In addition, he earned four Eagle Palm awards, and the Pope Pius XII and Ad Altare Dei Religious Emblem awards. Most recently, he was awarded the Connecticut Eagle Scout of the Year by the American Legion and Connecticut Scout of the Year by the VFW, sponsored by Danbury Post 149.

A former advisor to Ryan at St. Luke’s often called Ryan the “Renaissance Man” because of his varied interests and extraordinary talent.

Ryan was an outdoor enthusiast and pursued these interests with the same heart and passion that he devoted to scouts. Ryan obtained his PADI Open Water Scuba certification in Honduras with his cousin and then had the opportunity to dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia while on a trip with his parents and sister. Ryan also obtained U.S. Sailing certifications for Keelboat, Cruising, Bareboat Cruising and Catamarans. This past summer he was a member of the crew of the Tenacity, sailing out of Rowayton, Connecticut. Ryan was so looking forward to coming home at the end of October and sailing in the final regatta.

Other outdoor interests of Ryan included backpacking in the mountains of New Mexico and the Adirondacks, surfing in the cold ocean of New Hampshire, and whitewater rafting and rock climbing in Colorado and Alaska.

Ryan was an avid golfer and played on the Varsity golf team at St. Luke’s. His golf instructor said this: “(Ryan) is the All Star student all teachers want in their stable. Highly motivated, passionate, talented, humble, strong listener, and asks questions to understand the process… Ryan is respectful and always looking out for the people around him. He is a delight to be around and highly intelligent. I see big things in his future. I don’t think there is anything he can’t accomplish if he puts his mind to it. I am honored to work with such a special young man.”

Ryan’s new love was squash. He joined the Varsity squash team at St. Luke’s in his senior year, after playing three years of Varsity Ice Hockey. At Colgate, he enjoyed playing squash with his new friends and was planning on playing on the club team.

Also at St. Luke’s, Ryan was the Founder and President of the Support our Soldiers Club and the Vice President of the Investment Club. And in addition to his many other interests, Ryan played the piano and trumpet.

Ryan was a true academic. He loved to learn for learning’s sake. He was an insatiable reader, particularly about World War II. One of Ryan’s Colgate professors, recognizing Ryan’s vast knowledge of World War II, reread a book he was assigning to his class just so he could be “one step ahead” of Ryan. Another professor tearfully said that Ryan was a “star among stars”.

Ryan intended on double majoring in Economics and International Relations at Colgate and was already taking three courses toward his double major. His interest in finance began at St. Luke’s where he did his senior thesis on identifying a correlation between U.S. economic factors and those of developed market economies, and he created a model to predict the growth of developing and emerging markets which earned him a STEM distinction. Ryan’s finance teacher and mentor said this in a letter he wrote to Ryan: “I always preach how important it is to leave a legacy. Make a mark that inspires others, and you will ultimately be better for it. Well there is no doubt that you were stolen from us too early, but you have made a mark. Your energy will always be alive within me and I trust that you will always be looking over my finance classroom. Your spirit for adventure will always inspire me to take that extra wave, when I think it is time to head in or that extra run at the end of the day.” Ryan had hoped to work on Wall Street and was already working with the Colgate Career Planning Office to secure a summer internship.

Ryan was a Connecticut Boys’ State delegate in June 2014, sponsored by Ridgefield American Legion Post 78. Ryan was elected Boys’ State Treasurer and received the Stempick Award. He returned as Junior Leader in June 2015. Ryan was also the Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of the Connecticut Boys’ State Foundation.

Ryan was a member of St. Mary Parish in Ridgefield. He taught a first-grade religious education class with his mother and sister for two years. He was also an ordained Eucharistic Minister, bringing Holy Communion to the homebound. A former priest at St. Mary’s said this: “Ryan is an open, unspoiled, and genuinely kind young person whose interest in others is noticeable, especially to those who might be alienated or in need of friendship.”

Ryan’s sudden and unexpected passing is a tremendous loss for his mom, dad and sister. The four of them were extremely close. They enjoyed traveling together, most recently going to Amsterdam, Norway and Belgium. Thankfully, Ryan’s mom, dad and sister drove to Colgate on September 13th to help celebrate Ryan’s 18th birthday. They decorated their hotel room with streamers, balloons and a Happy Birthday banner just as they had done at home for the past 17 birthdays, and then took him out for dinner. The next morning they met him outside his dorm and spent forty minutes walking around campus with him. They hugged and kissed him good-bye outside Wynn Hall before he went to his freshman seminar. That was the last time they saw him. They are heartbroken and devastated.

In addition to his parents John and Mary Lou and his sister Kelly, Ryan is survived by his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth (Chema) Hanney formerly of Fort Myers, Florida and Yorktown Heights, New York; paternal grandmother, Dorothy Adams of Rye, New Hampshire formerly of Glen Cove, New York; his aunt and Godmother, Colleen Hanney Cunney of White Plains, New York; his uncle and Godfather Kevin Hanney of Ponte Vedra, Florida; his uncle Michael Hanney of Huntington, New York; his uncle Robert Adams of Greenlawn, New York; his uncle James Adams of Andover, Massachusetts; their spouses; and Ryan’s treasured cousins and friends. Ryan was predeceased by his grandfathers John (Jack) Hanney and James Adams.

Calling hours will be on Friday, September 25th from 4 pm to 9 pm at Kane Funeral Home, 24 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, September 26th, at 11 am in St. Mary’s Church, 55 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield.


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Jowdy Kane and Kane Funeral Homes