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Dennis E. Ryan

Posted November 20, 2013 in Obituaries, West Des Moines

December 31, 1947 – November 18, 2013

Dennis Ryan

Dennis Ryan

Dennis Edward Ryan, 65, died on Monday, November 18, 2013 in Des Moines, Iowa. Dennis was born and raised in Des Moines. He attended Dowling High School, Iowa State University and later became a Master Electrician in Iowa City where he was instrumental in installing electricity to the Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the University of Iowa Hospitals and the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant.

Dennis devoted his life to politics and the pursuit of social justice. He was a fierce advocate for peace. Dennis won an U.S. Supreme Court case regarding freedom of speech. He worked to unionize migrant workers by organizing and participating in boycotts for the United Farm Workers.

He worked tirelessly for fellow laborers in the U.S., China and Thailand, and was a life-long union member and organizer. He was currently a member of his beloved IBEW Local 405 Union and a former president of Iowa City Federation of Labor.

He loved jokes, comedians, reading, history, nutrition and especially fishing! He will be missed by his family and friends.

Dennis is survived by brothers, Dick Ryan (Linda) of Durham, NC, and Kevin Ryan (Becca) of West Des Moines, Iowa; sisters, Marilyn Keller (David) of Omaha, NE, and Patty Ryan and Sheila Ryan, both of Des Moines as well as many nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Helen (Krajicek) Ryan and Edward Ryan.

A memorial service will be held 11 a.m., Friday, November 22, 2013 at Iles Westover Chapel, 6337 Hickman Road, Des Moines, Iowa 50322. His family will receive guests one hour prior to the service (10am) at the funeral home. Burial will be at Glendale Cemetery.

An additional gathering will be held in Iowa City on Saturday, November 23, 2013, from 1-3:00 p.m., at the AFSCME Local 12 Union Hall, 1700 S. 1st Avenue, Iowa City, Iowa 52240.

Memorial contributions may be directed to his family, in memory of Dennis. Online condolences are welcome at


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322

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