Craig was born on May 21, 1959 and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana by his parents Willie Mae and Porter Ryan. Introduced to Christ at an early age, Craig attended the Reeves Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Lake Charles with his family. He was a proud Class of 77 graduate of W. O. Boston High School, where he was a member of the Panther Basketball Team. Craig attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles, and later transferred to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Media Studies.
Fueled by his passion and love for music, Craig became the first African-American Program Director of the KNWD Radio Station at NSU. In the Spring of 1983, he was initiated into the Theta Delta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Craig was also an active member of the Rho Chi Graduate Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In 2012, he received the Rho Chi Citizen of the Year Award for his outstanding service to the Lake Charles community.
Craig embarked upon a 10-year career with the Lake Charles Fire Department and also served as the Street Promotions Director/On-Air Personality at Apex Broadcasting. His career as a first-responder led him to other roles that allowed him to help others, which he believed was his highest calling. Craig served as a Training Coordinator for the Calcasieu Medical Reserve Corps, followed by Homeland Security of Calcasieu Parish under FEMA, Director of Operations for AmeriCorps, and finally served as a Disaster Program Specialist for the American Red Cross until 2019.
Craig’s heart for service was not only demonstrated through his professional career, but also through his many acts of kindness and tireless work in the community. He was a faithful volunteer and Board member at Abraham’s Tent, which serves the homeless community of Lake Charles. Craig also supported numerous charitable organizations and events, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Ethel Precht Cancer Walk, Tournament of the Stars, Child Abuse Taskforce for the Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana, Young Men in Transition (Past President) and Habitat for Humanity (Past President).
Craig’s second home was Natchitoches and the campus of Northwestern State University, where he spent several days a year visiting friends and working with fellow alums to support students and the University at large. He was a founding member of the NSU Black Alumni Alliance, having served as Treasurer and Vice President, and was an integral part of fundraising efforts to establish the NSU BAA Endowed Scholarship. He also served on the NSU Demons Unlimited Foundation Board of Directors (formerly NSU Athletic Association). Craig was an avid supporter of NSU athletics and his love for baseball fueled his enthusiasm to establish the Ryan Family Baseball Scholarship in 2019.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, the NSU BAA, Demons Unlimited Foundation and the gentlemen of Theta Delta will be hosting a celebration of life for Craig beginning at 11 a.m. Greek organizations, NSU alumni and other groups who loved Craig are invited to join us for Craig Ryan Day at the Collins Pavilion on the tailgating field.
In memory of our dear friend, please consider making contributions to the Ryan Family Baseball Scholarship by visiting www.nsudemons.com/craigryan or by calling Dr. Haley Blount-Taitano at 318-357-4278.
“What is your footprint on this Earth? Is it leaving the world better than you found it or a trail of empty liquor bottles and empty promises? Make your mark with a giving heart and good works, you will be blessed beyond measure!” - Craig Ryan