Monday, July 21, 2008

In Memory of Ryan Jones


Please feel free to contribute your own memories and thoughts about Ryan on this blog. We all have such fond remembrances of this vibrant young man and his meaning in our lives. Please click on the comments link below this post to share your stories of Ryan, and continue the memories.


eflemin1 said...

I thank you for the example you leave us of generosity, caring, happiness, creativity and simplicity in life.

I am honored to have known you and to have worked for you.

Erin Fleming

Edilson said...

Ryan was a great inspiration on me. I remember when we were at Yosemite and during our hike Ryjo took the lead but in the way he always stopped to take pictures of all the beautiful things on the way. He showed me the real definition of smelling the flowers on the way.
Thanks RYJO.

Mark said...

Wish I knew him...reading about him makes me want to do better as a human and local citizen.

NRoberts said...

Ryan - You are one of the best students I've ever had. I will miss your drive to learn, your intellectual curiosity, willingness to challenge others, and pure ability to engage your peers. Your smile, sheer love for life, and creative magic you brought all of us will never be forgotten. Thanks, Ryan, for all you have taught me.

Your professor,
Dr. Nina

mnorelli said...

Thank you for the gift of your wide open heart and curiosity about things and your spring-loaded willingness to help. Even with just a few interactions, though wishful I had known you better, I'm grateful for having known you. I will remember your example and will try to love life and others the way you did.

Selyca said...


I am honored to have spent the last few years by your side finishing our BA's at SFSU. I always enjoyed your generous smile and your playful nature. I am thankful you reached out after graduation to continue our friendship beyond school; my regret is that we hadn't had the chance to make plans to reconnect. I can honestly say anyone who knew you was very lucky and feels that way. Your passion for life inspires me to be more like you and take advantage of every moment. Thank you for touching my life, I will never forget you.


Raphael said...

Ryan and I were classmates at SFSU and quickly became friends over shared interests like climbing. He was such a friendly, easygoing and enthusiatic guy that many of us would seek him out to work on group projects. He was always helpful and knowledgeable on trips to GGNRA and other parks, and loved to share his passion for the outdoors. Ryan - thanks for your inspiring life, we'll miss you.

Danny Yanow said...

Ryan had a wonderful, loose way of connecting kids to nature. He radiated love of people and plants and animals, and the kids keyed right into that. He worked with students from my middle school many times over the past six years, doing restoration projects at Milagra Ridge or Mori Point, or leading walks up Sweeney Ridge. Once, when we got rained out on a restoration day, Ryan came by the class with a stuffed bird and drawing paper and gave a class on sketching from nature. The kids loved it...
What a great guy; what a tremendous loss.
Danny Yanow
Westborough Middle School
South San Francisco

Susan Tasaki said...

Ryan was an extraordinarily fine young man. Creative, generous, and honorable--even when he was sad or upset, his heart was open, which is a rare quality indeed. I feel fortunate to have known and worked with him while I was at the Conservancy. It was a pleasure watching him grow from a high school student showing us his portfolio into the accomplished illustrator that he became. He lives on not only in the hearts of those who cared for him, but in his art, and in the landscapes and animals he treasured and worked to preserve. Every time I look at a copy of the Sibley Guide to Birds, I think of him! He'll be missed beyond words.

Sharon Kato said...

There are so many memories of Ryan - I can see him proudly wearing his NPS uniform and 'Smokey the Bear' hat. There aren't a lot of people who have the bravado to wear that but Ryan loved it.

His watercolor and drawing skills were much admired and encouraged by his colleagues. Ryan thought we all could do as well with practice and a few hints from him. He was always encouraging people to get out and sketch.

And his hobbies - he admitted that there were so many things that interested him that it was hard to focus on just a few. He made a beautiful canoe - it took years but he did finish it.

I will miss his ready grin and boundless enthusiasm.

reiko said...

Ryan was one of the first people I met when I moved to San Francisco as an intern for the Parks Conservancy (back in the old days when it was still the Parks Association) in 1999. He has definitely made my life more enriched and joyful, seeing how full of boundless energy and enthusiasm he always had at any given moment. You inspire me lots, Ryan.

Courtney said...

Ryan's kindness, enthusiasm and positive energy touched everyone lucky enough to have known him. His dedication to the parks was contagious, and this was also his gift to all of us. Today I've remembered so many moments with Ryan that have made me smile. I want to share a few with you... When I first met Ryan, I was struck by his kindness and mild manner. However,after getting to know him a bit better, I was struck by his sheer silliness. I remember a time while camping with LINC in Yosemite when Ryan made a guitar out of a few bungee cords, a wooden board and a nalgene bottle. It was quite ridiculous-looking. He sang us a silly little song that made us all laugh. It was a great distraction from the swarms of mosequitos that surrounded our campsite. That was just Ryan. He loved to spread joy in any way possible. I also remember him for his easy going attitude. On that same trip to Yosemite, Ryan was the driver and I was the navigator. Unfortunately, it turned out that I wasn't the best navigator because we took the wrong road and got about two hours off track. With a broken air conditioner in the middle of July and a van full of bored teenagers, one could have easily blown a fuse. Ryan was just as calm as can be and kept everyone entertained until we finally reached our campsite. The first week I started with the SS team, Ryan took me out for the usual intern road test. Since I had just arrived in San Francisco, I didn't really know my way around. He had a little surprise in mind when he lead me to Lombard street in one of those huge ford F150 trucks. After getting down the hill, Ryan laughed and said that he wanted to give me the real San Francisco experience. Thank you, Ryan. Although this is a sad time, I'll keep in mind these and many other happy thoughts. I know you wouldn't have it any other way.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to leave a few photos of Ryan that I took in 2005. Here is a link:

AFY Garden: RPringle said...

I first met ryan when he came to SSP in 2002. He taught me so much about working hard, enjoying your work, and staying positive. I'll never forget the motorcycle ride he gave me across the Golden Gate Bridge, my first, and how thrilling it was. He was a true talent, a beautiful, generous person. I will miss you Ryan.

With love and deep appreciation-
Rachel P.

Jaimi said...


Thank you for your big smile, which is helping me get through all this. We were a Rec family and everyone you came into contact was blessed to have been able to meet you. You are so special and will always be missed.


anet james said...

Ryan is one of those rare and special people you meet in your lifetime. You knew as soon as you met him. He had so many talents but he was very quick to tell and show others how they could easily do them too. A natural teacher, with gallons of curiosity and appreciation; all with a ready smile and an encouraging word.

We talked together about building radio-controlled gliders; I found he was making his own from scratch without plans and he was relishing his testing and adjusting process. This was, I thought, the kind of person who broke through limits that most people place on themselves.

I am so happy to have known and rock-climbed with you Ryan. I know that you have touched many and we are all better people for it.

Ellen Hamingson said...

I will always feel a special connection to Ryan, as we were sworn in as NPS employees together on the same day, March 17, 1998. And I will always refer to my park service fur trooper hat as my Ryan Jones hat.

Amidst this tragedy and my grief, the word that keeps returning to me is "grace." Ryan was described to me as "the spiritual leader of the Presidio" that first season--and he was only 20. His leadership (visible in his reaching out and inspiring so many people) seem to come not just from what he'd learned, but also from an calm inner quality that also manifested itself in how he moved through the world. I thank him for making me comfortable dancing with him at a park party, regardless of the great inequity in our dancing talents. Once when I was on a tough planting project at Milagra, Ryan joined us for a morning--his productivity was amazing and yet it was like watching a ballet. And then there was the smile, the canoe, the incredible drawings... May we all keep strong through this loss and honor our memories of Ryan forever.

kirra said...

mis-ta jo-ones, mista jones, mista jones, mista jones...
i just can't stop thinking about you, about the years of growing up we did together in this park. about motorcycle rides and sneaking into double features on van ness. about that time we went camping up in sonoma to see the meteor shower and it was so cloudy we couldn't even see the sky. we stayed up all night being totally ridiculous.

remember when i got pissed at you for telling me my shorts were too short? i thought you were crossing the line and being too protective. then you painted me a picture of that eucalyptus leaf, all weathered and feathery, with only the veins holding it together... and we made up. i know it probably took you like 5 minutes to do it, but i've kept it all these years and it still reminds me of your friendship and love.

love. ryan's heart was so open. how many times did i remember him falling madly in love? so ready to give his heart away - i want to learn to be more like you.

ryan, you've left so much behind. so many things to remind us of you. all your talents, on paper, on the land, in our hearts. you'll never really be gone. just out there, riding the biggest waves, climbing the tallest mountain, flyin high...

miss you.

Susie said...

Today I arrived at the office at 5:30 am, and you weren't there. I knew you wouldn't be there, but I expected you just the same. I missed your cheerful "Woah--you're here early!" exclamation, which was always shortly followed by you skipping away to tinker with something.

I teared up when you weren't there, but then, I saw the quintessential Ryan photo that someone had thoughtfully posted on the refrigerator.

You, closed eyes pointing upward, seeing the world in a totally unique and special way, grasping your cape (that some volunteers had just used to drag ice plant into the mound you're standing on), pretending to be a superhero, and most importantly, inspiring kids to realize their potential superhero, too. It warmed my soul, dried my eyes, and gave me a sense that you're doing just fine.

Ryan, your love, enthusiasm, and joyful spirit live on in all the people you've influenced. It's amazing to think about how much you've overcome and how rich you made your life. Never have I met anyone who has worked harder to get the most out of every single moment of every single day. You're an inspiration and a blessing. Thanks for letting me get to know you, and thanks for being such a big part of my San Francisco family. You won't be forgotten.

Maggie said...

my oh my
nobody like you
a sweet soul so big so blue so open
could fit so much love and
life inside you
Ryan, it's the saddest thing to think
i won't bump into you, here
on earth again
to talk about camera lens or the precise green/grey color of a butterfly wing
i imagine you
right now busy
recruiting a restoration team consisting of gossamer white angels glowing saints
you hand out the tools
and work gloves
demonstrate how to loosen the holiest of soil
clearing a pathway
through the dense
dark weeds


why said...

you taught us
how to look at a flower and really see it
thank you for this and so much more!

Csaba said...


I met you only once, but I noticed right away how your talent spakled, and your enthusiasm filled up the room during the Rec graduation party at SF State. Although I had known you for a very short period of time only, your spirit from that evening will remain with me for a life time.

Csaba Molnar

Justin said...

I thought for some time about what I might write here. I was acquainted with Ryan peripherally through classes we had together. I knew little about him. He mentioned people called him Tigger. Or maybe that was a connection I made through observation. He wore hiking boots every day I saw him. I laughed at the juxtaposition between his lighthearted outgoing sweet disposition and the hardcore stereotype that typically gets assigned to people on motorcycles. He was only ever late to class once that I can remember. He typically fueled class discussions with enjoyable and intelligent ideas and opinions. Everyone he talked to seemed to be with the comfort and ease of having known them for years even if they had just met.

When I was dozing off in a three hour long class I would look up to find him enthralled in the topic and eager to participate in class discussions. If you dropped something he’d pick it up.

I knew little about Ryan yet the impression he left on me was one that sits now with a terrible depth of pain for the unjust hand of cards he was ultimately dealt. I deeply regret his loss and offer my condolences to the family, and friends who helped contribute to the spectacular decency of this human being and who no doubt gained so much from all that he had to offer. They should all be very proud of the friend they laughed with, the son they raised, and the delightful human being who sat across from me in class, working towards his goals and making the world a better place to live in.

Kevin said...

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan,
How deeply upset I am that you are no longer in this world and I cannot truly thank you for the positive influence you have had on my life. I spent this past weekend backpacking with the poles you so generously gave me. Throughout my trip, I said to myself it has been too long since I’ve seen you…I need to contact you soon. Too soon, too late. I wish I could tell you all these things in person, rather than through this letter. Every day, for the past ~7.5 years, I have looked at the motorcycle that you inspired me to get and helped me work on (unfortunately, not having the time to work on it, it has sat non-functional for too long). While we lived together for 2 years, I got to see the Ryan Jones that not everyone else was lucky enough to see. I got to see you diligently sit at your art table in the living room almost every day and loved to see you at work. I’m so so proud of you getting your degree at SFSU! So many nights I remember that while most people would come home exhausted from work, if you weren’t working on your art, you were usually studying for some required classes you were taking through City College. It was your dream to get your Bachelors degree; and like so many other dreams you had, you attained them. You had such drive and energy. I remember seeing you complete one of your first commissioned interpretative signs for the Park Service and I was just blown away at the composition and attention to detail. As both of us worked for the GGNRA, worked in the Presidio, and lived in the Presidio, we would often come home for lunch and eat together, which I really enjoyed. For 1 year, we attended swing dancing classes at City College every week which was such a good time. At first, I would ride with you on the back of your motorcycle to class each week. While at first, I was nervous, I soon saw why you had such a love of motorcycles. If not every day, at least every week, you’d polish your motorcycle like it was your own baby. I’d make fun a little, but many more times, I’d just say “Damn, you look good!” With your cool shades, leather jacket, and sparkling motorcycle you had the look and you knew it. With your inspiration (and, wanting to look maybe ½ as cool), I got a similar (although not nearly as cool) motorcycle and we would ride together to class each week and/or go to various swing dancing gigs (back when there was swing dancing nearly every night of the week in SF). We had a number of really fun parties as well at our house and I have a number of pictures of you and I dressed ridiculously getting our groove on. At work, you often came out to help me with various monitoring projects and I worked with you and the high school program helping restore the serpentine bluffs. There are so many great memories with you. You were a wonderful friend, roommate, and coworker. You were so talented, positive, and such a great role-model as many people have already noted. You’ve inspired and touched many, including me. It is a horrible tragedy that you have been taken from us when you still had so much to give. You will be greatly missed.

Kevin Schwartz

Erik said...

I've not really been able to wrap my head around how someone so incredibly vibrant and alive could have his life taken from him so quickly. Several memories have come up in the last day (flying remote control gliders at Fort Scott, workdays, bagel runs...), but the one memory I can't shake is from my wedding. Ryan, in fine spirits, came up to me and Valeska and asked if there was anyone who hadn't danced yet-- he wanted to help. I pointed out my (then) 93 year old grandmother, long since widowed, sitting at a table watching the dancefloor. Ryan, with impecible grace and suave showmanship sauntered over to her. I couldn't hear what he said, but I could see him extend his hand and she took it. Ever so ginergerly and gracefully, he led her to the dancefloor and through one of the slower numbers. He seemed to be having as much fun as she was. Afterwards, as much as she enjoyed the rest of the wedding, she couldn't stop talking about the nice yound man she danced with. It was an incredibly selfless act on Ryan part, but was done, it seemed to me, not out of charity to her or as a favor to me, but out of his pure love of life.

liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DesertRoth said...

Almost everything was linked to Ryan at PPS. Ryan built the brushcutters. Ryan painted the mural. I hadn't met him yet, and he seemed like the PPS fairy.

Ryan was an amazing chatter. He couldn't remember my name or anyone else's (it seemed), but he had seen and done everything under the sun, so we had great conversations about building model ships and surfing and hiking.

More than anything, I am grateful to have met such a person who has made such a difference in people's lives. Not only was a he brushcutter fairy, but he intervened in the best way for some people who really needed it.

Much love,
Allison R.

liz said...

I’m in a daze. A hole, a loss for me, for you, for the community, for the world. I’m overwhelmed with the loss of such sunshine – it shone all the way to the east coast, and now it feels darker in the world. But I know his inspiration will stay with us all, and as so many have said, we are and will be better people because he was in our lives.

As I sit hear crying at my desk, I just wish I could be with all of you, at least crying together. As deep as my own pain feels, I can only imagine being in San Francisco and the depth of the hole that is now there where Ryan's presence was. I know his spirit will live on there, and everywhere he touched, but man we all lose so much, not having him in our lives, however often we spoke. He saw the good in us, and helped us see it in ourselves, and in everyone and everything, and gave so much love to everyone around him. That’s what I’m struck by now – he knew me, knew all about who I was, and he thought I was good, and talented and important – what an amazing skill of connection to be able to make others feel that way about themselves. He showed us how to be childlike and mature at the same time. He asked for advice when he needed it, and trusted others to guide him and hold him when he was down. He brought nature closer to everyone through his art. He was so many beautiful hopeful things. His presence just radiated true friendship and trust and companionship. How could you not smile when you were around Ryan, not want to jump with joy, grabbing a weed and a paintbrush on your way?

There are so many memories that come to mind, and I’ll share just a few, to put some Ryan energy back into the world:

-- My first week as a Presidio intern in 1997, I was blessed with a GGNPA volunteer appreciation party. As I stood with so many of the original characters, Ryan, Damien, Tom, Marc, Joe, Michael, to name a few, it was Ryan who encouraged me, with his undeniable smile, to get up in front of this unknown group, and do karaoke to Aretha Franklin’s Respect. I believe it was Ryan and Damien and maybe Marc who did the back-up, and my life has never been the same since.
-- On a backpacking trip, somewhere near Big Sur I think, with the Presidio crew, to a spectacular hot spring about 10 or so miles in. Marc, Ryan, Monoff and I in the hot water, and Ryan dove into the cool creek next to us, only to dislocate his fragile shoulder. As everyone else was at camp, Ryan talked the three of us through how to put his shoulder back, and as he lay on a log, holding a heavy rock, preparing for the pain, we followed his directions, and put his shoulder back in. It was such an intense backcountry experience, and as Ellen so rightly said, graceful. He hiked out the next day, with his arm in a sling and, I believe, his pack on his back.
-- The morning of my wedding in the Berkshires, as Marc and I walked down to the pond to splash our faces, Ryan followed us, to present a watercolor of a chocolate lily that he had made and framed for us, and carried with him from SF. He told us how he had traveled across the country to be there because he felt our love was so special that he just couldn’t miss it, and that he wanted to find that kind of love someday. On such a special day, in the innocence of the morning, it was a moment I will never forget, one of those raw and beautiful connections that are rare in the world. That painting hangs in our home, and of course is as beautiful today as it was that morning.
-- And last night, laying in bed, watching Tsumani, a short movie that the Presidio crew made maybe in 2000(?) at a retreat. We’ll make sure others can see it as soon as I can figure out how. I mean, this thing is hilarious. Ryan, doing an amazing acting job, dressed as a baby, with Monica and Erin as his moms, doing a maraca dance on the Headlands beach. What a bold, beautiful and silly friend he was.

I am so glad I got to see him last month in San Fran. I was struck by how he had matured, and yet, he could still cuddle and hug like the best of us. He was infectious, and the art that he has left, that, now dug up from every corner of my house now covers the kitchen walls, keeps his magic alive. He traveled the park journey that many of us traveled, all changed by the people, the land, the difference we could make, the fun we could have doing it, and the magic that must be in the soil there. His connection to people was just so strong, and that is what makes the world, and people's lives, the best they can be. He had so much more to give, I know, so much more art to make and love to share, but I can’t feel like he wasted any time when he was here. Just giving love all the way, trusting in others, getting back in return, and celebrating the earth in every moment.
I love you Ryan, and miss you terribly.

In sorrow and celebration,
Liz Lynn Albert

Naomi said...

I first met Ryan when he brought LINC to the Presidio Nursery. He had this glee and excitement about him - I thought he was one of the kids! Ryan, I will miss your shine.

Chris said...

I knew Ryan the three years that I was in the recreation program at SFSU. I had the privelage of working with him on several projects, and I know that I speak for many people when I say that he inspired several of us to try and reach his level of success.

From what I knew of Ryan, he was the type of person to start up a conversation with anyone, and would always include everyone. I wish that more people would have been able to enjoy everything that he brought to education, recreation, and the world. It is a shame to hear that such a promising young professional was tragically taken from this earth. It seems that all to often that peoples lives are ended early by the careless actions of others.

I did not know what Ryan did for me until I heard abotu the tragic news. I now realize that it is important to not take antyhing for granted and to strive to succed in every way. He was one of the first people that really got me on track in the recreation field, and I do not think that he ever knew that. Well now he does. We will miss you Ryan, but you will not be forgotten.

Chris Buccieri
SFSU Recreation Graduate.

Cindy Morton said...

Ryan, It just doesn't seem possible that your radiant smile is no longer -- I can't think of the many times you helped me out on some crazy park project, always with such good cheer. Happily, you've left lots to remember you by!


Darby Currie said...

I don't think that Ryan ever realized the impact he had on his interns. As one of Ryan's first interns, I think of the mentor he was to me, changing my life in many ways. I can't say that if I had never met Ryan, my life would be the same in any way. He taught me to build things, to fix greenhouses with power tools and wood. He taught me to appreciate plants, to see nature as a beautiful force in our lives. And, most of all, he taught me to be a teacher. Without Ryan, I would not be the teacher I am today. Accepting others for all that they are, forcing me to take on tasks I didn't know I was ready for (but was), seeing each day as a beautiful blessing. These were just a few of the things Ryan taught me.
I think about the silliness Ryan convinced all of us to join with him in, the fashion show he initiated in which we all wore our brand spanking new Site Stewardship gear and strutted our stuff in. Ryan is a mentor to me and will always be a huge presence in my life and the path I have chosen.
Thanks, Ryan, for taking a chance on a Southern kid to be your intern. Thanks for teaching me all that you did. Your unwaveringly positive attitude and acceptance of others made me think, reevaluate, and see the world as a beautiful place. Thanks, Ryan. You will be terribly missed.

Anthony said...

I get tears thinking of him. I was around him only for a few trips with my class, but he had a certain energy about him that could calm you down and raise your spirits........I wish I had reached out to him when i was a kid, the world will be a little dimmer without his bright light shining

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ryan for always being so dependable and answering any questions I had. I'm glad to have known you for the short time I had.

Anonymous said...

He was a talented artist and wonderful human being. I remember sitting in the Presidio with Ryan and talking bikes and hikes. The world is a sadder place without you.

Rest peacefully.
~ Jim M.

Anonymous said...

I was so saddened to hear of the death of Ryan. He was a special person and one of the most distinguished students I ever had the privilege of working with and knowing.
In my role as Chair of the department I had several occasions to talk with Ryan, all engaging and endearing. He wanted particularly to have first-rate, growth-oriented experiences. And indeed he did with his internship. I worked with Alan Fish of the Golden Gate Raptor Conservancy and Ryan easily has the most interesting and challenging experience of any student I have worked with in over 40 years associated with higher education. He pioneered a three-dimensional digital raptor guide that will ultimately revolutionize the way people learn about and engage birds.
He was largely self-taught and his work will forever change how professionals and lay people experience birds in flight.
I will miss him deeply. He brought a great sense of humanity to all that he did and improved both humans and the environment in all his engagements.
I pray for him and his family to be at peace.
I am a better person for having been in his presence.

Kyle Gardner said...

Uncle Ryan:

You were always there for me. I idolized you. Whenever I was alone you always came around and asked what was wrong and comforted me. You were my hero, my superman.

Love, Kyle

kyla said...

My memories of Ryan include:

His teaching us how to fix (or at least dismantle) a two-stroke engine.
Teaching Ryjo how to silk screen then immediately having his skills surpass my own.
Surfing scandalous cartoons on the internet for our “Weed Wenches” t-shirts.
The epic van ride to Yosemite (or, well, waiting for his van to arrive).
Being proud to be on belay with one of the best climbers in the gym or on the rock.
His ability to make anyone and everyone feel better, no matter what.
First Cup sandwich runs.
Studying for his Class B license (hanging meat?) then passing with the DMV equivalent of an A+.
Having one person with whom I could discuss welding, sewing, and climbing all in the same conversation.
The ‘refusing rescue from the Coast Guard’ kite surfing stories.
Ryjo being my go-to guy for advice about almost everything, from relationships to carpentry.
Stories, stories, and more stories.

Knowing that people like Ryan can exist in the world is reassuring, but having Ryan gone breaks my heart. Everyone who met Ryan knew he was special, but after getting to know him you realized that your first impressions were just the tip of the iceberg. I am proud to have known him, and I miss him terribly.


kevinphuong said...


thank you for being my mentor, education, linc coordinator and a friend. You are the most caring,genorous, and loving man, you inspired me to become what i am today. He was a great leader to me and everyone at LINC! i will truly miss Ryan.I remember our year at LINC and all the things we did, like Yosemite, trust fall, and team building games. it was all good and fun! i remember doing the spider web thing when we had to bring people threw it without touching the rope, they were all good times, now that Ryan has left us, his spirit and soul is still with us today and we all feel the pain of him leaving, i have to say that i will miss you RYJO!!

Thanks For Everything You Done
Ryan Jones!!

Maya Khosla said...

For Ryan Jones, Restoration Ecologist, Educator,

Illustrator of “Notes From the Field”

And so you walked across the floor of this earth

painting fish, spotted owls and blue butterflies.

And wheels of wind drove across the blue,

reflecting a universe of suns, reflecting you,

a summer of chasing weeds, a summer of wishes.

All around, machines kept on humming, they knew

no time but the moment. Your hands were in the dirt,

your face beaming, child-like eyes wise. You knew.

All the wild beauties around us remain when we leave.

A harrier, a feast of brine-blooded mice it scans

below, rainfall’s steady beat, a seed’s small chances,

all of these remain where we leave them. Yet their lives

in the heart will steady that journey we each take alone.

And so you walked across the floor of this earth

painting frogs, snowy plovers and blue butterflies.

Kim said...

Ryan, your ability to spread the love is such an inspiration. Wish we could have surfed under the bridge together - alas not this lifetime - but I am so thankful to have been able to share a twinkle with you occasionally, and I am lifted by my dream image of you riding those really vast celestial waves, cape flying, spreading the love. bless you and thank you,


Myla said...


Such a shock to hear the news, and I'm sorry I will not be able to join my colleagues and friends at your remembrance.

As I've been saying over and over, Ryan, you were such a bright spot and inspiration to adults and youth alike.

I see your artwork almost everyday in my neck of the woods these days at Heron's Head Park and use your paintings to save myself those 1000 words when I'm speaking to park visitors about the lovely birds that visit our park in the Bayview.

From that mural that hung in the Field Office to the intricate and beautiful illustrations that you created of late, your artwork captured the essence of the natural world and shared the love of nature that you had in your heart with all of us.

It was an honor to know you and dance with you and work with you and laugh with you and smile with you.


Myla Ablog

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to a thread on a kiteboarding forum about Ryan, including some photos of him kiting on the Golden Gate:

RyanR said...

I teach environmental science at Oceana High School, a class in partnership with GGNPC and SSP. Ryan became my contact (dare I say friend) when budget cuts threatened both of our programs. (This school year we hoped to bump up our efforts and deepen the partnership) Immediately we hit it off as two Ryan’s with boundless energy and a commitment to turn on younger people to the natural world and to help them to become active stewards in their community. Ryan was a perfect fit for our small quirky school, welcomed at our staff meetings, a role model for your students and the only person I’ve known to smile more often than I do. When I received word of his passing grief overwhelmed me. How could it be? Why? What a loss we have all suffered. Then reading through the postings here with the tears streaming and my breath constricted; I realized how many people Ryan has touched. What a positive impact for all: Ryan’s smile, enthusiasm, openness, dedication and spirit of wonder is a part of everyone of us. I feel certain Ryan would not want to leave us sad and sorrowful. I will see Ryan in the smiles of my students they see Pacifica cresting the top of Milagra, when we happen upon a wild thing near the ponds at Mori or in the raptors soaring overhead.
Thank you for your inspiration,
Ryan R

christina said...

When I was a young child I had a dream. In this dream, my mother died and I had to take her place and do all the mysterious adult things that she used to do. The dream was filled with grief and sheer panic about not knowing where to begin and not being big enough to fill the role. I feel the same about Ryan. Now that he is gone, I just don’t know where to begin. No one person is big enough to fill his role. No one person could do all the things that Ryan does. And I don’t want anybody else to, either. I want Ryan. I want it to be Ryan who is in my office when I walk in in the morning. I want it to be Ryan who gives me “side hugs” and “knuckle love”. I want it to be Ryan who leaves cookies and notes on my desk to cheer me up. I want it to be Ryan that chatters ceaselessly to the back of my head while I am trying to work. I want it to be Ryan whom I call whenever something is broken, whenever I lock my keys in my car. I want to brag to Ryan, and no one else, when I have fixed something, built something, learned something. I want Ryan to do the silly dances. I want Ryan to be the one to hop around and joke, “oh no, I can’t believe you went there!” when I get too improper. I want it to be Ryan who squirms with joy when I tell him he is lookin’ good today. I want it to be Ryan that believes in me, supports me, and affirms me. Who keeps my head above water. Who inspires me. To learn, to teach, to paint, to risk, and to live.

Ryan, I’ve got an empty chair behind me, a basement full of broken tools, and a heart full of hurt. I wish you were here to fix them all.

Anonymous said...


Even though I only knew you to wave, smile, and say hello, I will miss you. I especially remember sharing the water and wind with you at the North Tower and outside the Golden Gate on beautiful days.
Your smile was infectious, and you always showed courtesy, style, and grace as you sailed circles around while I windsurfed.

I will think about your and your wonderful presence every time I'm out there. Your spirit will always live on at Crissy, out on the Bay, with all of your friends and family, and with all of the people you didn't even know you touched or inspired.

Dianne Younger

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me smile and taking time out of the hustle and bustle of this busy world to spend it with so many people.

It was a short time that I knew you and got to work with you, but it was an honor to work side by side to protect the resource.

Aline Forbes

Aline said...


Thanks for making me smile after all those dog contacts at Mori Point, you could always get them out of me! I enjoyed our time together, however brief it was.

It was always an honor to work by your side. I always liked seeing your happy face where ever it was in the park.

Peace bro,

Aline Forbes

Natasha Griffin said...

Thanks for being silly, nearly ridiculous. Never a day went by without laughter. And get some batteries for your camera.

elaine said...

Dear Ryan,

I have met many amazing students in my teaching career at SFSU. And then you came along and totally redefined the meaning and reality of “amazing.” Your humanity, intellect, contagious energy and joy, curiosity and generous spirit, and humor were truly a gift to us, and I am honored to have been part of your world.

I have often talked about you when trying to explain to my son how one person can make a difference in the lives of others; how to live a full and meaningful life; how to bring others alongside you to create a community in our world; how one person can inspire others to do and be better. He knows you from my stories and how I wish he could have gotten to know you in person.

With much love and gratitude.

Liz Pittinos said...

I met Ryan working at the Parks Conservancy and we became climbing partners. He was light years ahead of me in climbing ability, and with his petite, strong frame was able to execute moves I could only dream about. It was entrancing to watch him climb. Often his role with me became that of a concerned, attentive and safe coach, and when I progressed, he glowed.

Now I have been monitoring this site—almost obsessively—pouring over and over the beautiful entries and wondering what I can contribute. What finally emerged is my awe at the sheer force of love and creativity resulting from Ryan’s departure and the vast resources of talent, intelligence, and compassion in this community. Maggie’s and Myla’s poetry brought tears; Courtney’s and Kyla’s stories made me grin. So many loving memories, tales and observations—yes, Kyle, he was a superman; yes, Justin, it’s true: whatever you dropped, Ryan picked up.

The point here is, even in death Ryan is bringing us together and bringing our better angels to the surface. It’s just one of the things he does.

So I’ve been telling this story of a typical day climbing with him. I, faltering and frustrated at a crux move, look down to Ryan who is belaying and beg “what should I do now?” Ryan, shrugging his shoulders, answers with a tease…”go UP!”

Ryan, we will go up, and up. We are gaining ground every day as you did and—promise—we will continue to do better for this community and for this world.


Anonymous said...

Liz (and for others far away)-
I, too, have been pouring over this blog for the past few days and had trouble putting my thoughts into words at first. At times, I feel so overwhelmed with both drowning sadness and complete awe at remembering how beautiful Ryan was, that my chest feels like it weighs 2,000 lbs and I can hardly breathe. I also think of Sue, Christina and the others who shared so much space and time with Ryan. It hurts me so deeply to think of what they are going through. All I want is to give everyone a huge hug and share stories in person. I think of all the others who are in far away parts of the country (or even the world) and how they, too, may be feeling alone in their grief. When asked, 'why do you look so sad?', if i can make the words out, i explain what's happened, but no one really knows exactly what I mean, and that is tough. As I was walking home from work today, I took a moment to look at the flowers and trees that line my block and felt him there with me in the breeze and the way the tree leaves glowed in the sunshine. I thought of him pointing out all the species of trees as I passed them. I remembered his cheerful voice and attention to detail when he took me for a hike at Oakwood Valley during my first week at Site Stewardship. He taught me so much. I was lucky to have had the chance to know him, that he gave me the chance to be a part of such a meaningful program. Since I left the S.S. team, I had it in my mind that somehow, someday soon I would make it back to the bay area. I feel sad that if this ever happens, it won't be the same. With love and respect for Ryan and all my old friends, Courtney

Ruby said...

Never, ever, ever have a met such an AWSOME, INTELLIGENT, AMAZING person such as you, Ryan. One word just about sums it up for me and that is IRREPLACEABLE. What an honor is it for me to have known such an "uber-cool" person. Everytime I saw this guy, he always brought with him jokes, humor, and laughter, trust me, there were some serious laughter going on whenever Ryan was around. You can't help but find this guy uplifting and just fun to be around. This ones for you Ryan:

What happened to the peanut in the parking lot?
It was Assalted.
**Yep, I can almost hear him laughing**

why said...

One of the last times I saw Ryan was three years ago, at a party at my house where we had a bit of a salon, where everyone was sharing their special talents. Ryan did a wildly popular impromptu art/intro to California wildflower demo - where he simultaneously sketch-painted and talked to us about the various wildflowers we could see if we but looked. My favorite of these was a lil blue one, called, I think, blue-eyed grass. At least I think it was this... if he were here, he would probably tease me about not remembering the flower’s name, and I wish he were here to do so.

After the party was over, I was excited to keep the paint-sketches he did, but he was horrified to think I would even think of keeping something that he had dashed off so quickly... He would mail me a "real painting," he said.

And he did, he actually mailed me a painting of a bird very soon after the party. I remember being flabbergasted that anyone would remember such a promise, given quickly in the midst of a gathering, and follow through so promptly. But, I guess that was just Ryan's way. And it was a beautiful painting.

Perry B said...

My Nephew Ryan,
You have been a huge force in everyones life, I remember the day you came home from the hospital with mom, thats when I pinned the nick name on you little Sardy.
So many years have gone by to fast and its hard to believe I won't be able to talk to you or see you as I cut thru the Presideo on way to Kirkland yard.

All I can say is grandpa will look after you now, I still remember when we all lived together and the hundreds of trips you made for me to the store and our Satudays skating in GG park and riding Fulton athe way to the beach.

I love you and will miss you.

Your Uncle Perry Bonelli

Perry B said...

My Nephew Ryan,
You have been a huge force in everyones life, I remember the day you came home from the hospital with mom, thats when I pinned the nick name on you little Sardy.
So many years have gone by to fast and its hard to believe I won't be able to talk to you or see you as I cut thru the Presideo on way to Kirkland yard.

All I can say is grandpa will look after you now, I still remember when we all lived together and the hundreds of trips you made for me to the store and our Satudays skating in GG park and riding Fulton athe way to the beach.

I love you and will miss you.

Your Uncle Perry Bonelli

Laurie said...

Ryan was a very thoughtful, inspiring individual. My favorite story about him was told to me by my now 18 year daughter Cristina after her first trip with LINC. She came home from Yosemite...covered in mosquito bites and told me all about how Ryan was her mentor for most of the trip. She rode up in the van he drove to the wilderness and took a 3 hour detour...quite by mistake. He finally found his way to the campsite after dark and helped the kids to set up camp by flashlight and moonglow. Ryan was always helping my fellow classmates too. He was an awesome team leader and gave an excellent lesson on safety in the workplace. I will never forget him. You'll make a terrific Angel Ry-Jo.

Laurie C

tamara said...

I’ll always light up when I think of you, Ryan – your true brown eyes sparkling through a constellation of freckles.

It was 1997 when we met. I was new to the park, and was working with Marc to coordinate a National Public Lands Day event. He had commissioned you, the teenager, to do the artwork for a flyer. You created a simple, incredible image – a capable hand holding a sprouting acorn alongside a young coast live oak, with snow-capped mountains in the background. Saddled with realism, I asked if you might change the alpine peaks to resemble the Coast Range. The next day, you proudly offered an array of variations on the theme. How did we choose?

Bettina said...

Beautiful Ryan,

Builder of canoes. Lover of oceans and fields. Captor of hearts and images. Liberator of wild things. Tireless learner. Devoted teacher. Traveler. Tinkerer. Joymachine.

Your fire burns so bright, guiding all those who will carry on your good work, stewarding the land and igniting the passion of young and old.

RIP sweet Ryan,


Roy said...

Ryan was a good big brother. that cared about me and what I wanted to do in life. He loved everyone and everything around him. My first backpacking trip was with Ryan and some of his classmates. we went backpacking in the santa cruse mountains. the whole time Ryan was checking up on me. He wanted to make sure I was enjoying the beauty that was around me.

you will be missed always
love your little bro Roy.

Anonymous said...

hey ryan,
i had such a great time this summer thanks to your fun attitude, your jokes, and just smiling all the time. I will remember the times on the bumpy roads, at yosemite and definitely the trust fall.

sonia perez said...

Dear Ryan,

my favorite memory of you was when: before i left for atlanta, we were at muir woods nursery. It was you and i along with janet, lidia, and tammy...we were washing pots and i remember all the topics we discussed. we laughed alot!!! :] you asked me what i wanted to do when i grew up, and i want to become an environmental scientist or become a musician..i am very honored to work with someone who was very knowledgeable and had a very good sense of humor and thank you so much for bringing so much happiness into my life and in my heart.

jen greene said...

I am not fortunate enough to be one of Ryan's intimates, but that only speaks to his ability to touch us. His sparkle and warmth welcomed me anytime I walked into Bldg 34. We didn't talk of work, but of love, and relationships, and life changes, and missing Alicia. He was a romantic, and commended for wearing skirts. He loved my little boy's "sense of style." My heart goes out to his students and to his big family, blood and chosen. We've lost a special man, and he still teaches us. love - Jen

Tammy said...

My LINC experience would not have been nearly as great if it didn't have you. Even though you won't see us graduate we know you'll be proud , happy and right there with us as we walk up and accept our certificates. I liked how you always cared looked after people like the time my contact popped out and you tried to find me some solution or the time when we just came back from Yosemite and I still wasn't picked up yet so you told me to call you when I get picked up. Thank you for your humor and the ability to lighten up any situation (like orientation day). I'm sorry for hitting your nose with my elbow during the trust fall and for dropping you :[.


micha said...

To Ryan's family, as you can see, ryan was loved everywhere. i was just getting to know him at the beach as a fellow kite buddy. he was so enthusiastic about kiting, work and life. a simple man with simple needs. know that he left an amazing spirit in may people's lives.

To Ryan, the crissy crew misses you! thank you for being curious, kind, concerned, enthusiastic, positive, energetic and real. i'm sure you've already discovered some sweet steady windy spot up in heaven and you're stoked! peace...

Marisol said...

Dear Ryan,
It doesn't make much sense. You were there and then you weren't. But you are such a lively person that for you there will never be a was because you are still here in the hearts of every single person you ever touched with your kind, loving, joyous personality. The world lost one of it's most talented inhabitants. You really are a superman who could paint, build canoes, and bring a smile on anyone's face. I 'm glad I met you through the LINC program in the time you were here. I know you're in a better place now.

Marc Albert said...

Ryan is my hero. His was the essence of life itself, a whirl of creative and connective moments, leaning into the wind, denying entropy and lethargy.

I love Ryan like a brother. Ours was a relationship of learning and discovery, of pulling and digging in the earth, but also of tickle-jabbing and hugs. I have never been so enriched as when finding that communion of human spirit with Ry, beyond our ages, our jobs, our male-ness, just out there with the ligules and slugs, saltspray and birdsquawks.

How could that giggle in the park a month ago be the last I'd see from Ryan? It's not okay, doesn't feel like it will ever be okay, but it is what is, and Ryan would poke his head down to the ground to look at what is. So I look close as I can and see that his life was all flow, all riffle, all action (he almost seemed to create time), a life exuberant and wild, nose to nose, somehow appearing effortless from a distance.

I will study his ink lines and watercolor dabs, and wrinkle my eyes at seeing the freckle-face cutie in pictures at our wedding, but these things are pixels, dots and dashes. I'll have to find Ryan in vegetated tangles with squishy mud underfoot, the wind his voice, senses open as the world unfolds and unfolds.

I will try to love the world as you have, Ryan.


Jean said...

All week I have felt an underlying sadness, knowing there is a big hole in the universe where Ryan's smile used to be. It's amazing to read these postings and think about how much our natural resources family has grown over the past 10 1/2 years and how many lives in so many realms Ryan touched.

I was lucky to have gotten to know Ryan when I started working in the Presidio as an intern with PPS in 1998. I don't think anything at work will ever surpass the silliness of Ryan in a tube top skirt running from the Tsunami. Ryan and I shared a love of motorcycles and swing dancing. He's the only partner I've ever had who was fearless in swinging me up in the air. And I remember how excited he was to get that shiny new bike.

He lived his life to the fullest and shared himself unstintingly with everyone in it. I'm so thankful for the pieces of his art in my life- the blue butterfly in my home and some really great looking compost critters at work- that will remind me of him each time I look at them. Ryan, I'll miss you...

In our sadness let us remember our journeys with Ryan and be grateful for all the dear friends we've made along the way.-jean koch

LJ said...

This Spring, we went into the upstairs office at the GGRO to meet the new intern who had an idea to re-invent bird identification using hand-drawn three-dimensional moving computer images. In less than 5 seconds Ryan's smile and enthusiasm drew us into his vision of creating an engaging method of teaching young (and old) how to identify various birds. Such an engaging personality, such a wonderful talent, such a terrible loss of an extremely bright, creative, and warm human being.

James Janko said...

Ryan always had a smile. Friendly, creative, caring, generous, kind--these were his natural states. He understood beauty and friendship in the deepest way.
Jim Janko

Anonymous said...

I was really sad to hear the news. I worked with Ryan a few times as a volunteer in 2002 and 2003, when he was new to SS. He was a wonderful and talented young man. He changed the workdays from 100% work to part work, part hike and added drawings to the weekly emails, two small things which reflected his zest for life. Even though I haven't seen him in five years, I remember him fondly and understand the grief that his friends feel.

Ben said...


(to RYAN)

Even if like me you only got to know Ryan

For 5 or 20 minutes at a time

Here and there in the hallway

Or while walking to the Quad

Or watching him teach a corporate donor

With the twinkle of a proud father

About the Oceana High School

Native plant nursery

You knew his heart and his head

And that he was a friend

You found yourself

Believing in

Admiring of

His warmth and wonder

His strength and talents

Of course

But also his essential kindness

Reassured by his humanity

And for an inspiring, clear-eyed glimpse

Of nothing less

Than what we hope will be

Anonymous said...

I only met you for a day, but it was enough. You graced my life and the lives of my students with your knowledge, passion, and love of these parks and all the living things within them. It has only been a week, but this week has been enough…to see how many love you, how many admire you, and how many are better–forever–for their time with you. Thanks, Ryan, we should all be so effective with the time and gifts we’ve been given.

Jan Blum said...

Ryan’s art clearly reveals the very essence of who he was –
Those brilliantly colored garter snakes and red legged frogs, the frivolous butterflies and adorable birds; his explosions of nature at its most benign.
He drew of beauty and of charm, especially the flora, in outrageous abandon
He drew what he loved and we love what he drew.
His generous drawings showed us the heart of Ryan Jones - a lovely man, a person of substance, a friend in our lives. He will be deeply missed.

Irene Lee said...

I only knew you a few months thru the Site Stewardship as a volunteer but felt like I knew you a life time. Your warm enthusiatic personality was like a light reaching out to everyone. I will miss your shining light.

Irene Lee

jennifer m said...

It goes without saying that Ryan Jones was special. I first worked with him at Site Stewardship and saw him often after I was employed as a VSR less than two years later. We weren't best friends, we didn't chat on the phone or through email, but his remembering me and always stopping to say more than just, "Hi. Bye." made me feel like somebody. I'll always remember his smile, friendliness, sincerity, vivacity, and, of course, his beautiful drawings.

Anonymous said...

This is Ryan's Mom, to all of you whose lives my beautiful and loving son touched I send my love and caring thoughts, because I realize I'm not the only one who lost something special in their life. I thank my son now for all the wonderful people he bought into my own life at this difficult time. The out pouring of love and support has been a blessing in itself and I will never in this lifetime beable to find words great enough to express the appreciation and gratitude that I feel for all the wonderful support and help that has be given to me and my family. Thank you to each and everyone of you for your part, I wish I could reach my arms and embrace you all. Love and Peace to all. Danielle - Ryan's Mom

Colette Todorov said...

RJ-baby, no one looked so good in a suit and fedora.

Knowing you since you were 15, you were like a younger brother to me -- a younger brother who constantly impressed me with your talent and boundless enthusiasm, who taught me how to draw a calla lily, who was ready with a hug during tough times, who could dance, really, REALLY dance. Oh, what I would do to see you.

Like others, your art work continues to remind me of our time together and how easily you shared yourself. I see you looking serious as you ride pass me on the street, only to have your face break open in a smile. I see you bouncing in iceplant throwing high-fives. I see you crouched after-hours at PNPN sketching flowers you've been waiting on to bloom.

I miss you, Colette

Coty said...

I remember you teaching a class on drawing insects at the Presidio. Me, not having any artistic abilities, just sat and watched. You, not having any of that, gave me the unapproving look and shake of the head for not even trying. I went home that night and tried by hand at drawing. Not very good, but I did try.

Living across the ocean from San Francisco; your too short, but beautiful life has been felt around the world.

Merry did we meet. Merry may we part. And merry may we meet again.

Coty Sifuentes
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Anonymous said...

Ryan came to the GGRO monthly meeting just weeks ago. He presented his work to us: In just 6 months, (between migration seasons--when all the banders and hawkwathers had been away), he had envisioned AND created a new way to entice young people to care about birds: Computerized, interactive images of three dimensional raptors. It is brilliant, and he brought this new thing to us career volunteers with such grace and generousity.

So many of us at that meeting had never met Ryan, and it was hard to comprehend his endless skills: wonderful drawing, cutting edge computer stuff, boundless imagination and committment and selflessness. And joy! I had visited him in that office midway through his 6 months of work. I meant to just say hi, but he interrupted his work to really show me what he was doing. I don't think i've ever seen such exuberance combined with talent.

Ryan, I missed out on knowing you, but having seen you in action, I am inspired and bereaved.

Anonymous said...

You've only been gone a short time, and the void you left behind is enormous. Your friends, loved ones, Conservancy family, SFSU fellow students and professors, the LINC youth .... you are sorely missed by so many. In your short life you knew what it meant to LIVE and ENJOY every moment of every day, but also how reach out to others so that they felt valued, respected and appreciated. I hope we all learn from you.

Anonymous said...


I have known you for about four years as you gave carpools to CCSF students. It was a great pleasure to talk to you and listen to your explanation of non-native invasive species, mission blue butterfly...etc

I won't forget what you taught me.


Alex Choi

emil said...

You were a source of love and inspiration to my students and myself for well over 10 years at George Washington High in S.F. I would always look forward to your visiting my class and relating to my sleepy students. You always managed to connect and recruit a few lucky souls for your program.
I will miss you, your voice, your energy and your inspiration as an artist and naturalist. I will never forget you and I thank you so much. I'm glad we were able to have lunch at Simple Pleasures Cafe after your last visit to my classroom in May of 2008.
-with love and appreciation, Emil Fogarino

Asian Angel said...

I have been trying to find out where Ryan have been for the last couple of years but only to find that he has passed when a friend called me with the news. Forever will I remember the fun that we had. How you taught me how to ride a bicycle and how silly I looked; a 16-year old female on a 12" frame pink bicycle. How you gave me my first motorcycle ride with my green helmet with a cartoon drawn on the back. How I wish I could have located you earlier. I miss you then, now, and forever. You will forever be in my heart.


Anonymous said...

The Summer Day (by Mary Oliver)

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what it is you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

I have known no other who has so fully engaged with his wild and precious life than Ryan. May we all aspire to Ryan's attitude and example as we live the remainder of our respective lifetimes...

with a deep bow of gratitude for your friendship and your humanity Ryan,


Anonymous said...

On my child's fieldtrip, you brought wonder to the kids eyes as we looked at a garter snake and showed us the importance of preserving their habitat. You showed us the work at Mori Point that was being done and inspired my kid to realize the importance of preserving the wonder and nature around us.

You leave this planet, with parents and kids more conscious of the need for preservation. THANK YOU. And my heart and prayers goes out to your mom.

A Pacifica Mom

Alan Grinberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Grinberg said...

Tears are not enough to express the sadness of our loss.

I worked with Ryan for a few years at Mori Point, as a volunteer for the Site Stewardship Program. Many people have mentioned Ryan's drawing and painting capabilities, but not his photography. He and I would often have conversations about our cameras and equipment, and the difficulty of taking photos of birds in their natural habitat.

The rest of my comment can be seen here:
Loving Memory

Ryan will surely be missed. My special best wishes go out to his family and close friends.

- Alan Grinberg

Jennifer B said...

We first knew each other when you were 19. We went together to the GGNRA and GGNPA Christmas parties in 1997 and I must say, I have never found a dancing partner as good as you. We bicycled from Presidio to Point Reyes to watch the whales, camp out at Sky Camp, and observe the flowers and wildlife. You told me their names including one I never forgot- sticky monkey flower.

You were my inspiration and I always wondered why the park didn't have more people like you. I never realized until reading this blog how many lives you truly touched.

Years later when I was Crima's TA/tutor for her ecology classes at CCSF, I would read students' write-ups about their trips out with Site Stewardship. Students would not only write about their physical labor and what they saw while doing habitat restoration, but they wrote endless compliments about you.

It was also because Sharon created Presidio's Biological Science Technician STEP position for you, that I got a chance to officially work for GGNRA a few years after you moved onto Site Stewardship. And we were both CCSF students when we did it! For that natural resource job opportunity I am eternally grateful.

And now as a grad student at UC Davis, I've taken your inspiration to reach out to the students I've TA'd in African American Studies and will TA/mentor in a yearlong program with ~25 students in the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. You have proven that despite obstacles one can attain so much. I'm truly proud to have read that you graduated cum laude from SFSU, since I remember back when you found it challenging to get up for your 8AM CCSF class.

Your impact has been and will continue to be phenomenal.

With memories from the heart,
Jennifer B

Loscocco said...

Here are a few photos of Ryan plus some i took with my helmet camera while riding out to the bridge for his final trip out to the golden gate. Please feel free to share them with othere.

I will miss his enthusiasm and smile at the beach every day but will not forget it.

Erin Loscocco

brooke said...

I was very lucky to have worked and lived with Ryan in the late 90's in the Presidio. He was so enthusiastic and open-hearted.
I have spent the past week remembering many moments.
Ryan leading huge groups of volunteers in weed removal on his restoration site and connecting with so many of them individually...Ryan sitting with me while I suffered through the fever of a brown recluse spider bite...riding with Ryan through San Francisco at night on his motorcycle marveling at the city lights...surfing at Stinson Beach on a beautiful blue day
Thank you Ryan

Nicki said...

Dear Ryan,

As I sit here at my desk on this grey morning, missing you, I’m looking for the parrots you so lovingly photographed. I hope for them to cheer me, but even they are still. I keep glancing over my shoulder, expecting to see you hurrying down the hallway with you cheery “Morning!” and realize again that, from now on, I’ll hear your voice only in my heart. And at the sea. And at the ridges you loved. And in the confident voices of all the children you mentored and adored.

Especially there, for somewhere in that group, the Ryan payoff awaits. She will pick up the baton of your vision and run with it. He will take the time to teach one younger than him how to properly stake the tent. She will embody your love of art and nature and continue the creative chronicle you began. He will laughingly fall so others may learn to trust. Together, they will form your legacy, holding the land lightly and reverently, offering its beauty to the almost-next generation. They will become living mentors following your joyful, enthusiastic example. This year’s LINC group, so devoted to you, will carry your words and actions and inspiration with them all the days of their lives. So will we.

Ryan, I miss your bright eyes and sweet smile. From these parklands you are missing but in our hearts you are forever.

Mike Moser said...


Earlier this year you asked me how to change the description of the color codes on appointments in Outlook. A few days later you came by my office with that sparkle in your eyes to tell me that you had color coded everything in your calendar. It was inspiring for me that someone else (besides me) could get so much delight out of something as geeky as color coded appointments. Your delight of life, all of the “that’s so cool”s that you shared so freely and fearlessly, was an amazing gift.
Thank you!

jstinmn said...

It's been over 11 years since I've seen or talked to Ryan. Needless to say, I was shocked and saddened when I learned of the tragic news.

Ryan, in my mind you will always remain that affable teenager who came to the Presidio ready to learn and to teach. You were so much better than any of us in getting young people turned onto nature. My greatest memories are of you teaching middleschoolers in the native plant nursery. I can see your smile and feel your excitement.

I'm sorry to have missed the service on Sunday. I spent the afternoon in my garden thinking of you and knowing that my life is so much richer for the short time I got to know you.

-Jill Torres

Anonymous said...

All of everyones love poured out in to words, thoughts, memories, laughter, sadness, grief and beauty trying to make sense of all of this strange unfolding....I thank you for sharing and giving us the the space in which we can find safe harnessed energy from the whirlwind circulating in our minds. We can always come back here, you will always take us there. Don't let them stop Ryan. Keep the flame alive, dance in the skies, fly like the kite, continue to excite, for every time I drive over our great gate, I will envision your soul playing in the bay with your blue whale mate. And every time I fear anything due to uncertainty and lack of fate, I will remember that moment of being brave in order to just create. And anytime I loose faith, I will remind myself that people like us have been given an opportunity to relate-- in a way,to strength that is beyond our ready make intelligence, means and conscious duty-we display our life of being, in the moment shinning, as you are now, as the heavenly light, like an orange morning sunrise hits the ocean waves ending a warm summer night. Thank you my friend for teaching us right.

Eelaii said...

Every time I came to SF in the years following my internship at PNR, I stopped by the Presidio, looking for Mickael, Jean, Kirra or YOU... As you were at the SSP, you were always the one still around the hardest to see, so I would call or send emails: "I am in town, let's go out for a drink, let's chat, let's have fun, let’s catch up". And we did see each other, but never enough. I thought that, one day maybe, you would end up stopping by on my side of the world as you said you would try on your way in or out of England... Yes, one time you said so... And I had hoped we would have time to catch up more than we could when we met sporadically at the nursery taking care of seedlings... Because we shared a lot when I was a restoration intern at PNR and I am sure I could have spent many more years learning from you and from your without-limit enthusiasm. I wish I had the soul of a poet to write something beautiful for you… But my word combinations are pale compared to the beautiful things and words I have read on this blog so far. You were SO loved Ryan, so loved, I hope you knew it! All I can do, is smile, through the tear pearling down my cheek… I will keep smiling thinking of you, because you always did and this is how I will always always remember you…. You and your pert gentle smile. Elise.

Anonymous said...

Andrew and I are very saddened by the news. We can't stop thinking, "WHY??!!"

We only met Ryan once at a service project at Mori Point, but it was more than enough to know that he must have been such a positive influence to many (creatures of all kinds included).

He was so full of information, so warm, so helpful, and just plain nice.

The world has lost a special person.


Lesley said...

I worked briefly with Ryan on and off for a couple years as a volunteer and then staff member at the PNPN. I was always impressed with his smiling face, joyous attitude, and calm presence. He never seemed stressed or unhappy. He was a great artist and naturalist, my two main interests as well.
He is a bright shining star reminding me of how to live life, unworried, happy and generous to all who graced his presence. As someone once said about those who die, they have graduated from the earth school. His spirit is alive and vibrant in all those who had the honor to meet him. I had such admiration for his personality and I am grateful to have known him and to have been a part of the presidio community, LOve, Lesley McClintock

Allen Fish said...

Hey, Little Brother, when did you become my teacher? And how come I didn’t see it until now?

A year ago: while surfing the internet for motorcycles, you had an epiphany. Just imagine – you later told me -- using a mouse to turn a three-dimensional hawk in complete rotation on the computer screen. So that you can see it from all angles.

Imagine clicking the mouse—and bang! the hawk’s plumage changes, juvenile to adult.
Click! and back to juvenile.
Click! the bird is airborne.
Click! the bird is flapping.
Click! click! click! a white-tailed kite flies above the Marin Headlands. It encounters an updraft and rises 10 feet per second, the grassy hills receding in the background. The space below the kite is magnificent.

Click! standing on a short board, Ryan throws a two-fisted kite line into the wind on the Crissy shoreline. The immense kite luffs, then billows and fills. He encounters an updraft and rises 10 feet per second, the shoreline receding. The space magnificent.

But no one has ever done that before, I said.
Exactly, said Ryan, with that huge Ryan smile.
Ahhh, I said.

Fearless. Joyful. People-loving. Artist-Biologist. Serving the Earth.

Ryan Willis Jones. Ryan on your pelican travels. Always hunting some new prey. Buteo and Baccharis. Callipepla and Castellija. Rana and Ranunculus.

You once said to me: If they really knew how much fun I was having, they would never pay me for it. But that’s the cool thing Ryan -- we all knew. It is written on your face, in your body, in your step. That’s what makes you a great teacher: you took back the wings that were yours.

Robinson Jeffers wrote, “the wings of the pelicans torn with old storms remember the cone that the oldest redwood dropped from.” Just as we shall remember you. In your many forms. You are the timeless cycle of the natural world. You are the best of us. You, Little Brother, are my passionate teacher.

Jennifer Stone said...


It is an honor and a privilege to know you. You are the kindest, gentlest, and most talented person I know. May your light shine as brilliantly throughout eternity as it has in this world. Your spirit will live forever in my memory.

Peace and love, always, ~J

Ron Maykel said...

Dear Ryan.

It has been said that the GGNRA Conservancy Site Stewardship is the Gold Standard in land management and restoration. Your presence was and will be emblematic of that Gold Standard.

Your warmth, knowledge and passion for people and parks was a inspiration to all that you were acquainted with.

I can remember that July 12th workday at Mori Point and your tool use demonstration. I asked you if there was a operator's manual, jokingly, and you replied...................
........"I am the operator's manual".

You were and will continue to be, an inspiration for future restorations and beyond.

You will be missed!

God Bless You

Ron Maykel

Sevans said...

the other day I was looking at a sympathy card and it reminded me of what I tell myself everytime I realize that you're gone:
"It is not how long the flower had blossomed but how beautifully"
it reminded me of you - exactly what I see everytime I remember all of the little funny things you did during the two summers that I was able to work with you.
You will be missed, buddy. I hope that you are at peace and to let nature remember all that you've done to help save it. You're a hero, man.

Love Always,
Shelsea A. Evans

Anonymous said...

Why is it that wonderful people such as this young man are always the victims of tragedy, taken from among us by the careless and senseless ones? I do not know Ryan but heard about him from the Park Conservancy newsletter. May his family and loved ones find peace and comfort in their faith and spiritual beliefs, and here's to wishing for the day when we can all meet up with and see this tremendous individual again.

Anonymous said...
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Bettina said...

Thinking of you today Ryan. I miss you.

Natalie said...

Thought of you today, Ryan. It's March 2014, but it seems like only yesterday that I met you during my high school internship at the Presidio. I will always remember your smile, laughs, and artistic awesomeness. I still have the tshirt you designed -- modeled after the hands of the Presidio "family". Miss you.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add that I honor Ryan on his birthday every year, and have made a donation to the Ryan Jones Memorial Youth Fund.

You may no longer with us, Ryan, but those who still love you remember your birthday.