James Ellsworth Ryder

TUCSON, Ariz. – James Ellsworth Ryder passed away on Sept. 14, 2019 in Tucson, Ariz. after a long, happy and well-lived life. Jim was born in Chicago, Ill. on July 19, 1927 to Robert James Ryder and Lillian Newbern Ryder. He lived in many U.S. cities when young as his father was an auditor for the FPC. He attended public school in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Jackson Heights, N.Y. He was homesick at boarding school and returned to Charleston, W.Va., to graduate from Stonewall Jackson High. He entered MIT at 16, joining the Sigma Chi fraternity. In 1945, he served at Fort Knox repatriating U.S. Army infantrymen. Returning to MIT, he graduated in 1949 as a chemical engineer. After a year at Arthur D. Little, he sought a greater challenge. He enrolled at Harvard Law School receiving his JD in 1953.

Jim practiced law as a patent attorney at Cravath, Merck, and Davis, Hoxie. He founded his own patent law firm of Ryder, McCauley at 20 Exchange Place near Wall Street. Eventually, Jim moved to Arizona to practice law where he retired as deputy public defender in Coconino County, Flagstaff, Ariz.

Jim enjoyed playing tennis, attending his children’s swim meets and sports events, vacationing in the Adirondacks, spending time with Sigma Chi fraternity brothers, and perfecting his barbeque sauce. Perhaps his best and most abiding achievement was as father to his five children; Neria Gay Ryder Douglass (Paul Douglass) of Auburn, Duncan Ellsworth Ryder of Washington, D.C., Kristin Isabel Ryder Altieri (Phillip Altieri) of Cincinnati, Evan James Ryder (Rosanna Paterson) of New Zealand, and Malcolm Kohl Ryder of Tucson, Ariz., all of whom survive him along with their mother, Neria Hockaday Kohl Ryder; 11 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Some of his happiest years were those spent raising his children in Chatham, N.J. in a grand old house on Fairmount Avenue.

Jim was preceded in death by his mother, his father; a brother and a sister who each died before he was born.

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