Stephen Paul Ryan died on Sept. 9, 2021 at his home in North Truro. He was 63. His death, of natural causes, was confirmed by his sister Nancy.
The son of the late John J. and Isabel (Shea) Ryan, Stephen was born the eighth of nine siblings in Milford and raised in Medway. He enjoyed hockey, which he played in his younger years, and he “caught the fishing bug,” Nancy said, in the ponds near Medway.
After graduating from Medway High School, Stephen attended Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass Dartmouth), where he studied construction technology. After two or three years, he left school and moved to the Outer Cape to pursue his passion for fishing. His brother Dave, in a Facebook post, noted that “the sea became his mistress.”
He began work as a commercial fisherman, serving as mate on several boats, including the Susan Lynn and Rolex. He worked on one of the tuna boats featured in the television series Wicked Tuna, and he tried his hand as a lobsterman.
He was a longtime mate on the Sea Wolf, Capt. Tommy Smith’s strike-net boat of bluefish fame. “He loved nature,” explained Capt. Smith, “and during slack time he would photograph the sunrise.” He would also carve quahogs into the shape of whales’ tails, Smith added. He made “really nice stuff.”
Stephen added carpentry to his skills and worked as a freelance cabinet maker.
He developed his passion for photography later in life, taking pictures every day. Photographer Nancy Bloom of Truro helped him upgrade from a cell phone to a more professional camera. He posted many of his photographs on the Provincetown Photography Facebook page, where “people loved the images,” Bloom said.
Just last week, Stephen rented one of the artist sheds on Provincetown’s MacMillan Pier. He hoped to sell some of his photography as well as the jewelry he made from beach stones he tumbled. His sister Nancy mused that his recent interest in rock polishing and shells felt like an echo of the rock and shell art his father did when Stephen was a boy.
When he wasn’t working, Steven spent much of his time walking the beaches, picking up debris, often assisting Center for Coastal Studies efforts to keep the harbor and beaches in and around Provincetown clean.
He leaves his brothers, John Ryan and wife Yvette of Richfield, Minn.; Edward Ryan of Bridgewater, N.H.; David Ryan and wife Donna of Raymond, N.H.; Jeff Ryan of Lincoln, N.H.; and Thomas Ryan of Jackson, N.H. He also leaves sisters Joanne Hall and husband Steven of New Llano, La.; Claire Bigelow of Plainville; and Nancy Ryan of Wilbraham; as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, and many good friends on the Lower Cape.
A memorial service for Steve will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 17 at the Gately Funeral Home, 94 Harry Kemp Way, Provincetown. Family and friends are invited to attend.
Donations in Stephen’s name may be made to the Center for Coastal Studies, 5 Holway Ave., Provincetown 02657.
To share a memory or leave an online condolence for the family, visit gatelyfuneralservice.com.