Richard "Dick" Ryden Obituary

Dick Ryden
Richard "Dick" B. Ryden

September 4, 1924 - March 15, 2015
Born in Des Moines, IA
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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Richard "Dick" Ryden, 90, passed away on March 15, 2015. Dick was born on September 4, 1924 to Laura (Reed) and Harry Ryden. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Kathryn (Smith); his sister, Janet Michener; his daughter, Jeanne Baitzer and his granddaughter, Elizabeth Baitzer.

Dick graduated from Roosevelt High school in 1942 and attended Grinnell College, where he was a member of the Varsity Basketball team. Dick served in the Army as a Sargent in the Italian Campaign. Dick returned to Des Moines and graduated from Drake University in 1948. He continued in the Army Reserves, notably serving as Captain in the Military Intelligence until 1957.

Dick joined the Equitable of Iowa Life Insurance Company in 1949 and became Agency Manager in 1963. He was a member of the Equitable of Iowa Advisory Council 6 times, serving as Secretary of the Equitable Organization Club in 1972. Dick was Past President of: the Iowa State Association of Life Underwriters, 1979-1980, the Des Moines CLU Chapter, 1958-59, Des Moines GAMA, 1967-68, and the Iowa GAMA, 1968-69. He served on the Board of Directors of the National GAMA, 1973-76, and was named "Man of the Year" in 1975 by the Iowa State Association of Life Underwriters.

Richard was very active in the Des Moines community, serving as Former Polk County Chairman for the Sister Kenny Foundation and as Past President of: the YMCA Membership Campaign, the Des Moines Seratoma Club, the Des Moines Reciprocity Club, and the Des Moines ATO Alumni Association. and served as Past Director of the Royal Order of Jesters. In 1959, Dick was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the Des Moines JayCees.

Dick met Kathryn Smith in kindergarten at Hubbell Elementary. They became sweethearts while attending Roosevelt High School and were married in 1945 at St. John's Lutheran Church in Des Moines. Dick and Katie enjoyed a full life and valued their many friends and family. They were active members of Des Moines Golf and Country Club, The Seratoma Club, the Des Moines Reciprocity Club and the Embassy Club, where he had a sandwich and a memorial chair named for him. He took great pride in presenting the chair to his granddaughter, Meghan, when she graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. Dick and Katie loved playing golf. He was an avid golfer throughout his life and played for years with his foursome of friends at the Club and at courses around the United States. Dick was also a member of the Iowa AAU Volleyball Team in the 1950's.

Dick is survived by his daughter, Patricia (Gregory) Skirving of Winnetka, IL; four grandchildren: Michael Baitzer, Meghan (Michael) Thelen, Matthew Skirving and Molly (Kevin) Fahey; 2 great granddaughters; Grace and Bluebelle Thelen and several nieces and nephews.

Private services will be held at a later date.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Me Fine Foundation, Inc., located in Raleigh, NC. Online condolences may be expressed at