Sheriff Duvendack reflects on life of Mike Ryan

By Blake Schnitker on August 30 at 12:29pm

West Central Illinois is mourning the loss of a long-time law enforcement officer who served the area for several decades.

Mike Ryan was a member of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office for thirty years, serving in a number of roles from patrolman to Chief Deputy from 1975 to 2005.

Ryan passed away Monday at the age of 69. Morgan County Sheriff Randy Duvendack, who served alongside Ryan for an extensive period, shared his thoughts on the passing. He says Ryan was the foundation of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.

“Mike was really the backbone of our department for thirty years or so. He started just ahead of me and I started in 1975 and quickly grew into the position of Chief Deputy. He was honest, trustworthy, hardworking, dedicated. Nobody cared more about Morgan County and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office than Mike Ryan,” says Duvendack.

Duvendack says that Ryan was instrumental in helping the local Sheriff’s Department stay up to date as law enforcement changed over his time with the agency.

“He really saw the department through some transitions. He was here when we moved from the old jail to here in 1984, he saw us through that transition. Law enforcement has changed over the past thirty to forty years, and he was a part of that and in our department growing and becoming more professional. Mike was here everyday. Honestly, as a co-worker, as a friend, I can’t imagine a more

Duvendack says Ryan served as both a co-worker and a friend during his time with the local department.

“I just don’t have enough adjectives to describe him. Obviously he meant a lot to me, he comes from a great family, he will definitely be missed. When he started he was a patrolman, but then he quickly grew into a detective, and then it was in the late 70s when Henry Jackson appointed him as Chief Deputy, and he had that role, I believe, for close to thirty years,” says Duvendack.

A Celebration of Life for Ryan will be held at3 p.m. Friday at the Waverly American Legion in Waverly. Neece-Airsman-Hires Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.