Jesuit Father Ryan served as Creighton University School of Dentistry chaplain in Omaha

Jesuit Father Steven Ryan, who grew up in Omaha and served locally, across the country and abroad, including as chaplain at Omaha’s Creighton University School of Dentistry, died July 2. He was 68.

Private family services were held July 8 at St. John Church on the Creighton University campus.

Father Ryan was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. His family later moved to Omaha, where he graduated from Holy Cross School and Creighton Preparatory School.

Upon high school graduation in 1970, he entered the Society of Jesus. He earned a bachelor of arts from Saint Louis University in 1975 and a master of arts in English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 1977.

He taught at Jesuit high schools in Milwaukee and Phoenix before his ordination to the priesthood in 1982 at St. John Church on the Creighton campus.

In 1983, Father Ryan received a master of divinity degree from Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California.

He served as associate director of campus ministry at the Jesuits’ University of San Francisco and had a teaching fellowship in American literature at the University of Texas in Austin.

Father Ryan also was an associate pastor at two parishes in Texas during the 1990s and was an outreach minister for Food for the Poor.

He was executive director of the Willa Cather Foundation in Red Cloud, Nebraska, from 1999 to 2003.

He also ministered in Georgetown, Guyana, and worked with Cross Catholic Outreach before becoming a chaplain at Creighton, where he has served since 2013.

Father Ryan was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Beatrice Ryan, sister Mona, brother Michael and great-nephew Riley.

Survivors include siblings, Thomas (Pat), Mary (Tim) Novotny and Kevin (Donna); 10 nieces and nephews; 16 great-nieces and great-nephews and three great-great nieces and nephews.

Memorials are suggested to Creighton Preparatory School or the American Cancer Society.

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