Richard E. Ryder Jr. ’55

Deceased May 9, 2012

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In Memory

My friend Dick Ryder died on May 9, 2012, following a year-long battle with cancer of the esophagus. Dick came to Amherst from Hall High School in West Hartford, Conn., where he was a musician and class officer. Dick had fun right from the start of freshman year, beginning with touch football on the campus the day we arrived. Maybe too much “fun” caused the administration to send Dick to Hartford sophomore year? Dick was determined to return to Amherst, which he did for our junior and senior years, graduating as a philosophy major. Dick was on the cross-country team and in the band, choir, glee club and Christian Association. He and I were members of Theta Xi and roommates there our senior year until December when Dick informed me, via a handwritten card, that he and Sue Goff (Mount Holyoke ’57) had gotten married, and he would henceforth be rooming with her and not me!

After Amherst, Dick went on to Harvard Divinity School for a M.Div. degree. He was a United Church of Christ minister in Connecticut, Maine, New York and Florida after being ordained in November 1958. Dick also served as an interim minister to two churches, one in Maine and the other in Vermont. While in Maine, Dick was chair of the board of trustees at the Bangor Seminary. After retiring, Dick renewed his interest in playing his clarinet and saxophone. He also enjoyed taking adult education classes, exercise programs and church involvement. Dick believed in the church’s mission for the world.

Dick is survived by his wife of 57 years, Sue, and their four daughters, including Laura ’85. Dick loved Amherst, his family and life. He loved all of those to the fullest. 

A great guy—and a true friend.

Rob Sowersby ’55