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Official Obituary of

John Thomas Ryan

November 14, 1933 ~ March 1, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old

John Ryan Obituary


John Thomas Ryan, 90, Peru, passed away on Friday, March 1st, 2024, at his home - exactly where he wanted to be.  

John was born November 14, 1933, to Leo and Bessie Wise Ryan in Kokomo, Indiana where he lived until he started Junior High School.  He was raised by his mother Bessie and graduated from Macy High School in 1952, where he had great memories of the shenanigans they had in a small school. 

He married his love, Joan Pearson, and together they lovingly raised their four children.   John worked at various businesses, and he owned and successfully operated Ryan’s Cleaning Service and the Central Cigar Store. 

An avid collector of elephants, he truly enjoyed cooking, deer hunting, fishing, camping, and a cold beer; all of which gave him many great stories and memories.  

Involvement in the community was easy for John. When he believed in something, he gave his all and was a member of numerous community clubs and organizations throughout the years.  Due to his children's involvement, he became a fixture at the Circus City Festival for over 50 years and was a true Circus Fan.  He loved his time as a Big Top Clown and as a Board Member.  He was the first Road Show Vice President, he helped build and construct numerous pieces of equipment, and he was proud to have been part of the committee that started the Circus Performers scholarship fund which continues to support higher education.   This generation of parents/volunteers is why CCFI made it through the leanest years and continues to this day.  After retirement, John, always the fixer, joined the guys at the Circus Wagon Shop, helping paint, repair, purchase and drag home many “old iconic wagons” to restore.  He was also a member of the CFA and had attended many CFA conventions. He had sawdust in his veins.  

His community involvement gave him and many people great memories and opportunities along with some grief, because he always stood for what was right, being fair, honest, and following the bylaws.  Did we mention he had strong opinions?  

Above all, John valued his family.  He worked hard, played hard, stood beside and took care of his wife, and was present in the lives of his family.  He would often say of his children “their mother raised them right” downplaying his contribution in his very own family circus, but his pride for his children and grandchildren was never in question.  John had a quiet faith, helped many people anonymously, and if you were his friend, you knew it. You also probably knew it if you were not.   

His legacy will be his work ethic and the love for his family.  He will always be remembered as Pops - a special man who was strong, opinionated, fun, believed in traditions and never missed a special event in the lives of his family.  He was a fixer of most things including a few broken hearts.   God’s speed Pops, “May all your days be Circus Days!” 

John is survived by his daughters and their special husbands; Melanie “Susie” (Richard) Taylor and Jerri (Larry) Stapleton.  His brother in-law; Frank (Jenny) Pearson.  Grandchildren; Sarah (Alex) Kritzman, Darcey (Nolan) Hazlett, Dustin Clark, Elizabeth, Nathan, Amy, and Ryan (Kerianne) Taylor.  As well as his cherished nine great-grandchildren; Emma & Eli, Parker, Olivia & Grayson, Bret, Tirzah, Lily & Hudson. 

He was preceded in death by his mother Bessie, his father, his brother Robert, wife Joan, son John K. (Jackie), daughter Linda, and grandsons Richard W. Taylor III and Jack Robert Ryan.   

A visitation with the family is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6th from 10:00 am. - 12:00 pm, at Riverview Funeral Home, Peru.  The service will follow at 12:00 pm with Richard W. Taylor II officiating.  A private family burial will follow. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Circus City Festival Scholarship fund in memory of John at the funeral home or to the CCFI office. 

Riverview Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.  Messages of condolences may be made online at

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March 6, 2024

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Riverview Funeral Home
421 West Canal Street
Peru, IN 46970

Funeral Service
March 6, 2024

12:00 PM
Riverview Funeral Home
421 West Canal Street
Peru, IN 46970


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