Donald Francis Ryder

Donald Francis Ryder, 85 of East Harwich, passed away at home on March 9, 2015. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Edith M. (Lowe) Ryder, two daughters Donna Ryder Kelley, and Michele Ryder. He also leaves five stepchildren Kathleen DeLalla and her husband Eugene, Joanne Miller and her husband Raymond, Rober Parr and his wife Kimberly Conley, Daniel Parr and his fiancé Deborah Devaney, and Kevin Parr and his wife Kelly, a brother Jesse Ryder, 25 Grandchildren and 27 Great Grandchildren.

Donald was the son of the of the late Louise (Chase) and Everett Ryder, and brother of the late Mary Ellis, Phyllis Stevens, and Everett, Roland and Kenneth Ryder.

Born in Barnstable, he was a lifelong resident of Harwich. In his youth he aspired to become a jockey but was told he was too tall. He was educated in the Harwich School System and served with the United States Army Special Tactical Unit. He was captured in North Korea and held as a POW for 28 months.

Following his military service he returned to Harwich and worked as a commercial fisherman and following work in the Harwich Water Dept., he went to work for the Natural Resource Dept. Don served as assistant natural resource officer, assistant fish and game warden and assistant harbor master prior to his retirement. He was instrumental in starting and maintaining the quahog seeding program and the Saquatucket Harbor docks, bubbler system.

Don served as the first Commander of the Dennis Port VFW post 8074 and was a life-long member of the Chatham VFW. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, reading National Geographic, and had a life-long love of animals and wildlife. He enjoyed traveling with Edie to Japan, Canada and throughout the United States, as well as attending POW reunions in Kentucky, Tennessee and Colorado.

Visiting hours will be held on Friday April 17, from 10 am – 12 noon at the Morris, O’Connor & Blute Funeral Home 678 Main St., Harwich Center. A service with military honors will follow at Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, MA.

In lieu of flowers gifts in Donald’s memory may be made to the Cape Cod Hospital, Cardiac Care Unit, 27 Park St., Hyannis, MA 02601

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