Roger Ryan - WA5JXX Memorial

posted 3/26/16


Here are Mike - N5MS and Roger - WA5JXX from HamVention 1997



William Roger Ryan was born May 13, 1949, in Duncan, Oklahoma, to Henry Grady Ryan II and Mary Juanita Hines Ryan.  He passed away on March 17, 2016, at the age of 66.  He attended elementary school in Healdton, OK, Bowie, TX, and Lindsay, OK.  He graduated from Lindsay High School in 1967.  While in high school, he was a member of the menís chorus and the mixed chorus, played tenor saxophone in the marching band and concert band, starred in the Junior and Senior plays, attended Boys State and was a member of the Honor Society.  As a senior, he received the Danforth I Dare You Leadership Award.

He was active in Boy Scouts and Explorers, attending Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base in Minnesota and Ontario, Canada.  At the University of Oklahoma he was a University Scholar and a member of the Pride of Oklahoma in 19671968.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics from OU in 1972 and was a member of Sigma Tau honorary engineering fraternity.  He was a licensed Professional Engineer in Oklahoma.

He was a Ham radio operator (WA5JXX) and a private pilot with an interest in a small airplane.  For several years he was an avid skier, preferring Taos, NM to lesser venues.  He was a member of the Tulsa Caving Club (Tulsa Regional Oklahoma Grotto) and a Life Member of the National Speleological Society.  He was a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and Ring 46 Ė The Seymour Davis Ring in Oklahoma City. He was active in several organizations in Norman, Oklahoma City and Dallas that supported the LGBT communities in those and other cities.

To the end he was a skilled engineer whose career was focused on the hardware design and the programming of embedded computer systems that were part of major advances in oilfield exploration.  His work on the design and programming of the Visulogger at Metrodata, Inc. and later Totco, Inc. in the mid to late 1970's was part of the very first applications of microprocessors to monitoring the drilling process.  He also worked in the modernization of banking check processors and specialized programming of computer hard drive firmware, including substantial work for Seagate Technology on their legendary Barracuda SCSI drives.

His generosity and loyalty toward his many friends meant he was always willing to help, whether solving a computer problem, fixing electronics, providing homework assistance to students, or helping his fellow magicians.  He was stage manager for many years for the Pandemonium Magic Show of Ring 46.  He will be missed by many friends who were the beneficiaries of his intelligence, gentle sense of humor, encouragement, and generosity.  Roger gifted copies of Harry Potter books to the teenage children of his friends and others to promote both reading and the book series he loved.  He believed reading was a key to education.

He was predeceased by his parents, his grandparents Grady & Anna Ryan and Roger & Mary Hines, and his goddaughter Sara Maisano.

He is survived by his sister Maggie Coulter of Perryton, Texas, and her daughter Suzanne Cox of Amarillo, Texas, by his brother Hank and his wife Ann of Norman, Oklahoma, and by his cousin Alicia Maisano and her husband Jim and their daughter Melissa all of Norman, Oklahoma.

He requested that any donations be sent to the Engineering Physics Department at the University of Oklahoma. He was cremated pursuant to his request. Arrangements have been handled by Tribute Memorial Care.




DE N5MS - I assisted in the preparation of his obituary and I added a couple of paragraphs to it about Roger as a person.  I first met Roger in Engineering Math II at Oklahoma University back in September 1969.  We talked after class and found we both were amateur radio operators.  This was about the time that a group of amateurs were trying to restart the University of Oklahoma Amateur Radio Club and a group of us including Roger spent time working on that.  This was the start of a lot of projects for the club.

Roger started out as a Physics major, but eventually switched to Engineering Physics because he knew he would not have to take a language to get an Engineering Decree.  That was not the case in Arts & Sciences. Math and Physics were his forte.

We had several other classes together in the Engineering curriculum including Control Systems and Communications Systems.  Roger was a great student and became an excellent engineer.  Even though I have an engineering degree, I really did not learn to troubleshoot at a component level until I spent time with Roger testing and fixing designs of projects that I built for the repeater, other projects, and eventually computers.  He was always willing to help with maintenance on the repeater or, really, anything else.   Amateur Radio was certainly one of his interests but I think that he enjoyed more talking and visiting with people he came into contact with through the hobby.  While he had an HF transceiver, he did not have any HF antennas up.  I remember when we both bought IC-7100 VHF/UHF receivers about a month before federal law required the be cell-blocked.  We bought two of the last nonblocked radios in the country.  But he was not interested in listening to then 800 Mhz analog cell phones.  Instead, he used it more to listen to the 900 Mhz studio transmitter link (STL) of the local NPR station since that was easier to hear inside the concrete and metal building that the station itself.  This unusual approach is just how he solved problems.

Most important, Roger was a good friend, always upbeat, always wanting to be helpful, and someone who was extremely loyal to his friends.  Like I said, I learned a lot. Some of the more interesting times talking about circuits and electronics was the time I spent with lunch partners, Roger and Joe Buswell K5JB. I miss both of them and their deaths are true losses.

Micheal Salem

N5MS, N5JFQ and WA5JXX - HamCom 2015


Liz, N5JFQ and WA5JXX - HamCom 2015


N5JFQ, AA5RT, N5MS and WA5JXX - HamCom 2015


DE WA8ZWJ - I remember Roger as always having a smile on his face and he was pleasant to be around.  I remember Joe - K5JB used to call him T-Roger because of his love to go spelunking.  Joe thought he was a Troglodyte = T-Roger!  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Roger's family and friends!


Hank, Roger's brother, has a link below to a Youtube video that Rob Lake posted.  Apparently Roger, Jim Smithson, and Rob did this someplace and got a video of it. 

Rob and Jim were both professional magicians.  Rob got his start when Roger would pick him up and take him to the Magic Club meetings in Oklahoma City.  After Rob became a professional magician, Roger would sometimes help stage manage his productions and work promotions and sales in the lobby.

Jim Smithson was a long established member of the Magic Club and became friends with Roger.  Jim did a lot of commercial magic and was a nice person.  Roger was always very helpful to Jim especially when Jim's health began to fail.  

Seymour Davis was a very well known magician and the Oklahoma City Magic Ring (Club) is known as the Seymour Davis Ring.  That is where the got the name of the Seymour Davis trio.

Roger never told me about this.


Micheal Salem - N5MS

Here's the link: