DAYTON, Ohio — Seymour James Ryckman, better known as Jim, was the son of Seymour Willard and Laverne Jenkins Ryckman. He passed away peacefully at age 96 on Oct. 24, 2013. He was born in Allegan, Mich. on June 20, 1917 and graduated salutatorian from Kalkaska High School in 1934.
He graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in civil engineering, an M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Missouri, and did his doctoral work at Harvard University. He became a professor of civil engineering at the University of Maine in 1940. Gov. Edmund Muskie appointed Jim to help head the State of Maine Water Commission for environmental purposes.
He served as a Lieutenant JG in the Navy during World War II on the Aircraft Carrier Kasaan Bay (CVE69) in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. After the war, he returned to the University of Maine faculty. He joined the University of Dayton civil engineering department as chairman in 1959 and was the longest running department head in the history of the University of Dayton. He received the distinguished Professor Emeritus Award from UD upon his retirement. During his career, he also served as an engineering consultant working throughout the United States and internationally.
Marie Louise Maguire Ryckman, his wife of 65 years, passed away in Sept. 2008. Jim and Marie had four children and are survived by three sons and their wives and one daughter and her husband: Seymour James Ryckman Jr. (Diane), Gary Coleman Ryckman (Donna), Dr. Christopher Sheridan Ryckman (Therese), and Jane Ryckman Siegwarth (Mark). He is survived by 10 grandchildren, Abigail Ryckman (Jim) Rittman, Rebecca Ryckman (Kevin) Gellner, Meghan Ryckman (Wes) Hershman, Melissa Ryckman (Dave) Pawlowski, Dr. Audrey Ryckman (Matt) Adkins, Hayley Ryckman, Judson Ryckman (Bonnie), Katherine Siegwarth, Kaitlin Ryckman, and Elizabeth Siegwarth Spencer; and three great grandchildren, Jackson Rittman, Taylor Rittman, and Nate Spencer. He is also survived by his siblings Willard Ryckman, Jean Woodhams, Virgil Utvuglt, and Clesson Ryckman, and was preceded in death by his brother, Devere Ryckman and granddaughter Angel Loretta Ryckman.