Michael Ryer, 79, commercial Realtor, community volunteer
Michael Paul Ryer died suddenly on October 15, 2013 at his home in Ridgefield, CT.
He was born and raised in Maryland, where he married his wife of over 50 years, Lynn MacMurray Ryer. They relocated to Ridgefield, Connecticut in 1965 where they have resided for over 48 years.
In addition to his wife, Mike is survived by their two sons, Michael Jeffers Ryer of Southbury, CT and Jonathan Hill Ryer of Germantown, TN, and their wives, Laurie Goldsmith Ryer and Nancy Hooper Ryer, and four grandchildren; Taylor Ames Ryer of Glastonbury, CT, Clayton MacMurray Ryer of Kittery, ME, Michael Augustus Ryer of Ridgefield, CT, and Charles Austin Ryer of Brooklyn, NY. He is also survived by his brother, Stephen Ryer of Germany, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
In 1972 Mr. Ryer founded Ryer Associates Commercial Real Estate, Inc., a residential and commercial real estate company. As an active participant in the rapidly expanding real estate market in the greater Danbury area, he assembled the land for Union Carbide’s corporate headquarters as well as the land for the Danbury Hilton Hotel.
Mr. Ryer also participated in the land sale that brought the corporate headquarters of Novo Laboratories and Boehringer Ingelheim to the area. As a consultant to Newmont Exploration, he was responsible for the sale of most of its Danbury holdings.
In 1979 Mr. Ryer merged the residential division of Ryer Associates with Realtech Associates, Inc., a large residential real estate firm serving Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield Counties. In 1985 Realtech was acquired by Centerbank of Waterbury and Mr. Ryer served as the company President through 1988 and as Chairman until April 1989.
During his association with Realtech, he expanded the agency to twenty-two offices and over 400 sales associates. Under his direction the company created a relocation department and formalized its marketing and training systems. Since May of 1990, Mr. Ryer remained active in brokerage and real estate management.
As a real estate professional, he held past positions as President of the Danbury Board of Realtors and Director of the Connecticut Association of Realtors. Since 1997 he has served as Chairman Emeritus of Ryer Associates Commercial Real Estate, Inc., where his son, Jeff Ryer serves as President, and his grandson, Gus Ryer, works as a sales associate.
Mr. Ryer formerly served as director of the Danbury Chamber of Commerce, director of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee of Ridgefield, co-chairman of the Housatonic Valley Economic Partnership, director of the Ridgefield Community Center, member of the Community Relations Board for the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Chairman of the Ability Beyond Disability Development Fund, member of the Ancell School of Business Advisory Committee, and member of the Advisory Committee for NewMil Bank. He was honored as Man of the Year by the Ridgefield Rotary Club, Honorary Chairman of the Connecticut Society to Prevent Blindness’ People Vision Dinner, and a recipient of the 2012 Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America Good Scout Award in recognition of his many community service commitments and success in business. In addition, Mike served as Senior Warden of St. Stephens Church for a number of years.
In recent years, Mr. Ryer dedicated most of his philanthropic efforts to the Ridgefield Visiting Nurses Association where he was much beloved, serving on the Board of Directors in a variety of capacities from 2005-2011, and again from 2012 until his death. He served as Chairman of the RVNA’s Development Committee for numerous years, playing a robust role in the organization’s fundraising efforts. In addition, at the time of his death he was serving as Treasurer on the Board of Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc.
Mr. Ryer attended Washington & Lee University and was a graduate of the University of Maryland where he earned a B.S. in Economics. He served in Germany as a member of the United States Army from 1954-1956.
Mike’s warmth, generosity, wry wit, business acumen, and positive outlook will be greatly missed by family members, the greater Danbury and Ridgefield communities, and many residents in the community of Charlestown, Rhode Island, where he held a second residence.
In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made in his honor to the following organizations: Ridgefield Visiting Nurses Association at 90 E Ridge Rd Ridgefield, CT 06877, The Connecticut Institute for Communities, Inc. located at 7 Old Sherman Turnpike Danbury, CT 06810, and Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church located at 351 Main St., Ridgefield, CT.
A memorial service will be announced.