Jim Ryan, CEO of his family's Minneapolis-based real estate design firm Ryan Companies, died Thursday after a lengthy battle with melanoma. He was 66.
Ryan was born and raised in Hibbing, Minn., and started working in the family business in the eighth grade. He continued with the business through school and during college breaks.
Ryan later joined the company full-time as a construction project manager after graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1965. His first project was remodeling a National Tea store into Target's fourth store in Bloomington, Minn.
"Jim's goal was not to build the biggest buildings or be the largest company," his cousin Pat Ryan said in a statement. "His goal was to build character in his employees, build confidence in our customers and to build better communities."
Jim Ryan became CEO of the family business in 1989 and since then had helped the company open offices in Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, Tampa, and three cities in Iowa.
He also served as chairman of the board for Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and the Minnesota Nonprofits Assistance Fund, served on the boards of The Minneapolis Foundation and Amicus, and worked in various capacities for the United Way.
Jim Ryan is survived by his wife Colleen, children Molly (Mike) Carson, Maggie (Craig) Allen, Kate (Zach) Hegman, Tim, Nell, Dan, Sean and Tess; six grandchildren; an uncle Fran Ryan, an aunt Jean Rothstein and sisters Patricia, Jill and Bridget (Scott) Strudwick.