Captain David Folger Ryder, 98, formerly a lifelong resident of Chatham, MA until his recent move to the Woodlands at Pleasant Bay in Brewster, died on September 4th of natural causes.
The son of Surfman Richard E. Ryder of Chatham and Rebecca (Smith) Ryder of Nantucket, David was born in Chatham August 22nd, 1915. Brother Richard Allen, sisters Arethusa and Emily, his first wife Alice Wheeler, his second wife Lorraine Clayton as well as Grandson Scott Ryder predeceased him.
David was a 1933 graduate of Chatham High School. He was drawn to the sea at an early age, as his father was a career Coast Guardsman. He made a trip on an oil tanker out of Fall River, and later spent several summers working as a crewman on a schooner yacht on the Great Lakes. Returning to Chatham in the late 1930's, he started fishing with experienced men. In 1941, he acquired and refurbished a used boat and started on his own. He served in the Coast Guard Temporary Reserve during WWII. He had his first new boat, the Alice and Nancy built in Nova Scotia after the war. Subsequent new wooden boats, the Alice and Nancy II and the Sea Peach, were built in Maine. He took excellent care of all of them. He fished only with hooks his entire 56-year career as a commercial fisherman. Towards the end of his fishing days, a local paper referred to him as the "Dean of Chatham Fishermen". He was widely respected for his fishing skill, his boat handling and keen navigating, his honest dealings and his quiet manner.
David was a Chatham Selectman for 15 years, and was responsible for envisioning an observation deck for the Chatham Municipal pier. He served as the Chatham representative for the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission. He was a founding member of the Chatham Fishermen's Co-Op. When Francis Sargent was Governor of Massachusetts, he appointed David to the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, a position that he held for many years.
He spent a large part of his life outdoors, either fishing, gardening, shell fishing or hunting. Only recently did he have to stop his daily visits to the Woodlands exercise room. He was a fan of Boston sports teams on TV and lived long enough to see the Red Sox win the World Series. "So Far So Good – So Good So Far" was a favorite expression, as was "I've got a lot goin' on." David was a 50-year member of the St. Martins Masonic Lodge in Chatham.
He is survived by his brother William C. Ryder of the Woodlands; daughter Nancy Petrus of Chatham; son John and his wife Glenna of Cumberland, ME; son Richard and his wife Patricia of Eastham; and son Robert of Chatham. Stepdaughters Nancy Smith of Naples, FL and Jane Alexander of Eastham survive him, as do 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Devoted former daughter-in-law Jane Ryder of Harwich survives him as well.
Calling hours will be held on Saturday, September 14th from 4 to 7 PM at the Nickerson Funeral Home, 87 Crowell Road, Chatham. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 15 at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church of Chatham. The Rev. Dr. William Coleman, retired, will officiate. The church is located at the corner of Main and Cross Streets in downtown Chatham. Memorial donations may be made to the Old Harbor Fund, c/o Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore, PO Box 550, Wellfleet, MA 02667 or to VNA Hospice & Palliative Care, 255 Independence Drive?, Hyannis, MA 02601
The Ryder family deeply appreciates the kindnesses extended by the Woodlands staff for the past 5 years, the VNA Hospice team, and the Privatus caregivers.