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RIP: James Michael Ryan

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I had the pleasure of getting to know Michael Ryan—who co-ran Maestro Yachts in the Americas, and who passed away unexpectedly on November 2nd at the too-young age of 54—on a trip to Bimini last May. It was a trip for work, but Michael’s undeniable affability made it feel very much like I was vacationing with old friends, despite not really knowing any of my travel companions.

I spent a good chunk of my time there talking in-depth with him, usually beginning with his passion for boating and the business he envisioned building, but more often than not veering into realms of much more depth. He spoke easily and with plain-spoken insight about tender topics into which he did not need to delve: the pain of a past divorce, dealing with the untimely deaths of loved ones, how he met his charming wife, Melissa, and their decision to recently adopt a young son, Thomas. In effect, Michael spoke to me about life and how he lived it. The decisions he regretted and the ones he most certainly did not. The people he so clearly loved, and the accomplishments of which he was most proud. And I can honestly say that I learned from him.

If, as they say, death is an arrow already aimed and released, and life is everything that happens from the time it leaves the bow until it reaches its mark, then you damn well better make the most of every moment. Find your passions and indulge them. Don’t be afraid of self-reflection. Be kind to strangers. Let your family know you love them. Just like Michael.