Ben E. Ryan Jr.

ben ryan

February 7, 1929 ~ May 6, 2023

Born in: Waterloo, IA
Resided in: New Hampton, IA

Ben E. Ryan, age 94, of New Hampton, Iowa passed away on May 6, 2023, at the New Hampton Nursing & Rehab Center as a result of colon cancer.

Ben was the son of Ben E. Ryan, Sr., and Martha L. (Haker) Ryan. He married the love of his life, Mary C. Bockenstedt, in 1952 and they had three children: Ron (Lucy) Ryan of St. Louis, MO, Tom (Nancy) Ryan of New Hampton, IA, and Ann (Jeoff) Block of West Des Moines, IA. He has six grandchildren: Angie (Jason) Gibson of Boone, IA, Jenna (Kris) Feldmann of Washington, MO, Ted Ryan, and Max (Amy) Ryan of St. Louis, MO, Ashley (Sam) Myers of Waukee, IA, and Jacob (Tori) Block of Van Meter, IA. He has six great-grandchildren: Logan and Bryce Gibson, Abby and Audrey Feldmann, and Charlotte and Oscar Ryan. He is preceded in death by his parents and stepmother, his wife, Mary, and his sister, Genevieve.

Ben was born February 22, 1929, in Waterloo, IA, near the beginning of the Great Depression. At age 9, his father became unable to walk, which caused the family to move-in with Grandpa Frank Haker on the farm. A year later, his parents & sister moved-in with Grandparents Harry & Alice Ryan, and Ben moved-in with Uncle Chuck’s family on the farm for eight months to complete fifth grade with country school classmates. When Ben was 11, his father was able to obtain a desk job in Greeley, IA, and they finally had a home of their own. At age 16, his mother died from a surgery complication. During his junior & senior years, Ben drove a country school bus for Greeley Consolidated School students.

Following high school, Ben became manager trainee with Farmers Lumber & Supply Co. at Farley, IA, Northwood, IA, Brookings, SD, and was promoted to manager of the Earlville, IA yard.  He served proudly in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a Special Agent with the Counter Intelligence Corps. After military service, he worked at the Fayette Co. Loan Co. in West Union, IA, which prepared him to launch the Family Loan Service, Inc. in 1953 in New Hampton. He sold the loan business in 1960 and became Secretary-Manager of the Chickasaw Mutual Insurance Association in New Hampton. He later created the Ben Ryan Agency to provide insurance protection that complemented the Association.  After 32 years, Ben retired as President of Chickasaw Mutual Insurance Association in 1992, and sold his business to son, Tom.

Ben was a New Hampton ambassador – active in community and business affairs. He served on the boards of the Mutual Insurance Association of Iowa, New Hampton Chamber of Commerce, New Hampton Rotary Club, People’s Mutual Savings and Loan Association, New Hampton Pleasant Manor Corporation, New Hampton Public Library, and Chickasaw Mutual Insurance Association. He was past president of the New Hampton Chamber of Commerce, and the New Hampton Rotary Club.

There wasn’t a parade, fish fry, pancake breakfast, or church supper that Ben would miss. Between Rotary and the New Hampton Chamber of Commerce, he was always buying or selling tickets. One of his proudest accomplishments was in 1978, when he led a successful “Operation Rescue” drive to fund emergency heart respiratory equipment used by the local ambulance service. Highlights also include administering the Rotary Club’s student loan program for many years, and renovating Calvary Cemetery after years of neglect.  Ben was presented Rotary Club’s “Paul Harris Fellow” award (and was a 60-year member) and was named “Boss of the Year” by the Jaycee organization in 1978.

Ben & Mary were members of St. Joseph’s Church (now Holy Family) since moving to New Hampton in 1953. Ben enjoyed a wonderful retirement, including golf and euchre with friends. Most of all, he loved and was proud of his family. We miss him greatly.

Visitation will be Friday, May 12 from 4-7 p.m. at Conway Markham Funeral Home in New Hampton.  Funeral mass will be held at Holy Family Parish in New Hampton on Saturday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m. with viewing one hour before mass in the church gathering space. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to: New Hampton Rotary Scholarship Fund, New Hampton Rotary Club, PO Box 445, New Hampton, IA, 50659.


Visitation: May 12, 2023 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Conway-Markham Funeral Home - New Hampton
115 N. Broadway Ave.
New Hampton, IA 50659

(641) 394-4331

Visitation: May 13, 2023 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Holy Family Parish

New Hampton, IA

Mass of Christian Burial: May 13, 2023 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Holy Family Parish

New Hampton, IA

Graveside: May 13, 2023 11:00 am

Calvary Cemetery - New Hampton
North Pleasant Hill Avenue
New Hampton, IA 50659


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  1. Light a CandleBen was a great man. Very dedicated to his country, his family and his constituants.
    God rest his soul

  2. R.I.P. Ben! Tom and family you have our sympathy! Your Dad always made a point to say hello when I would see him!

  3. Light a CandleOur sympathy and condolences to all of Ben’s family. He was always very kind with a good heart and soul! We always enjoyed talking with Ben (and Mary) over the years.
    Nick and Kendra Leibold

  4. Light a CandleOur condolences to the family of Ben Ryan. Ben was always a cordial kind man. May he rest in peace.
    Lance and Jan Manson

  5. We met Ben shortly after we moved to town in 1995 and he and Mary made us feel welcome. Over the years we had a whole lot of fun together and golfed all over NE Iowa. He was always ready to play and it was endless golf for years. Always a fun guy to play with and be around. I’ll never forget the time we went to Cedar Rapids in early Spring to golf. Everyone knows Ben was a bit tight and had brand new balls but loved finding old balls. This time he spotted a bunch in a pond and was pulling them out as fast as he could. He stepped out on what he thought was solid ice and fell in up to his waist. I was holding his hand and he was pulling me in so I let go. He never forgave me. He was a great man and will be missed. RIP Ben!!!

  6. Ben was a pillar of the community and a friend. At weekly Rotary meetings he ALWAYS wanted to sing the song on page 67, Smile. That song represented his consistently positive outlook on life. He is a loss to all who counted him as a friend.

  7. My sincerest sympathy to Ben’s family. He was a wonderful man dedicated to his faith, family & friends.
    A memorial will be given to Rotary in his memory.

  8. Deepest sympathy to Ben’s family. I’ve always enjoyed visiting with him over the years. He was proud of his family.

  9. So sorry to hear about Ben. He always was walking by our house and stopping to chat. May his memories console you today. All our prayers to his family. Jeanne and David Roder

  10. Ben was absolutely the best. A truly good man who was tough but gentle. He was one of the most decent, caring, honest, forthright men I’ve ever known. The world is a better place because of him.
    I wish that I could have had a father like Ben. Rest in peace, friend.

  11. It was always a joy to hear from Ben. I never would have thought that knocking on his door while selling raffle tickets for an eighth grade Washington, D.C. trip would end in a lasting friendship. Ben and I kept in contact with each other for the past 15+ years. Ben was always able to give advice on next steps in life or present a life lesson from his experiences in the various letters and encounters we had. Learning of Ben’s life and of the value he placed on family is something I will cherish forever. Ben’s involvement, kindness, caring, and integrity are commendable and I strive to uphold those values as he did throughout his life. He was always one to encourage me and show belief in my abilities to become a future physician. A middle school kid telling someone their goals to be a physician and their family/personal history would likely be disregarded by most. Ben took a true interest in what I had to say at that age and persisted to ensure I made my dreams a reality. It was a true joy to send Ben letters and I always looked forward to his correspondence. He had a special way to adjust my perspective of any situation and it has really helped shape me into who I am today. As I near becoming a physician and proceed through life, I will always carry the lessons and perspective Ben has provided to me and will be eternally thankful for him inviting me inside to visit all those years ago. Ben will be missed by many, but his legacy will live on forever.

    Chance Johnson

  12. Light a CandleRon, so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing…it’s hard no matter the years we have with them.

  13. Light a CandleSending my deepest sympathy to Ben’s family, and a huge hug to Ann, one of my closest high school
    friends. I always felt welcome in their home and Ben’s smile would light up any room! I fondly remember the match box mustard car that matched the house. I recently commented on a social media post from March on how handsome Ben was. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Pamela Fain-Pribyl

  14. Light a CandleAnn and family~
    Our sincere condolences during this most difficult time. No doubt this man had some great influences on living life and on the people that knew him. A life well lived is never really gone, he will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Gods blessings and hugs to you all!!
    With love,
    Bridget & Shawn Barlow

  15. Light a CandleBen and Mary were great people. My wife Sandy and I used to bunk with them during the Davis motorcycle rally. Sorry for your loss. He will be missed.
    Tim Michaelson

  16. God Bless Ben’s family as you grieve his passing. Ben was the kindness person and a wonderful role model.

  17. I frequently walked by Ben’s home on my way to and from work. I was always greeted with a friendly hello. He was a very kind person. Rest in peace Ben.

  18. Light a CandleUncle Ben’s kindness & smile will always be remembered. My most sincere sympathies to Ron, Tom, Ann & the entire Ryan family.

  19. Light a CandleThe family of Ben I am so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. I enjoyed the visits that we had he was such a caring man. You are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. He is now reunited with your Mom.

  20. I am so sorry for your great loss…Uncle Ben touched many people with his friendly and loving touch. Wonderful man! Hugs to you all…

  21. Ben was a customer of my husband’s and he always enjoyed paying him a visit. Our thoughts go out to his family.

  22. Ben was a very special guy,he was one of Tom,s card playing buddies and golf friends. I also would golf with him in event,he was always nice to be around. My sympathy thoughts and prayers are with you all. Marian Gebel

  23. Ben was such a kind and respectable man. Always smiling and always willing to help. Simply a great gentleman who we will all miss. Our sympathy and prayers to all.

  24. I am so sorry for your loss. I have such wonderful memories of Ben for his big smile and caring personality. He and Mary were true long time friends to my parents, Don and Margaret Settle. I know they are all together laughing and loving each other. Sending our prayers to all your family.

  25. Be was one of the first people I met when I moved here. I knew him first as my insurance agent, then as my business neighbor, library board member, and then fellow Rotarian. In each of those roles, Ben acted with integrity, kindness, and professionalism. He was one of my favorite NH icons. He will be remembered fondly by many. I am unable to attend the service due to my health. Regards to all.

  26. To Ben’s Family, Dave and I have lost a very dear friend. What a huge smile when we would be with him and his thankfullness of seeing him. Dave will miss him for the things they did together, playing cards and mostly helping him with his phone situations. Dave was always happy to be of help. He would always see that we got strawberries in the spring, as I know he delivered them to many people. I would have to say I had a special place in my heart for Ben. He always loved when I would take something to him to eat, I would say he was my guinea pig for trying my new foods. We so enjoyed his last birthday celebration and he is the kind of man I will never forget. We didn’t know him as many years as most but the years we have known him he became a very special person to both Dave and myself. Memories of him will always remain in our hearts of him….We loved you Ben Ryan..

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