James A. Ryan, photographed at his office in this image taken around 1979, was one of the most respected and loved gentlemen on Cayman Brac.
He was a school teacher, notary, attorney, seaman, nominated member of the Legislative Assembly and an astute real estate agent. Always humble and thoughtful, he could sell you a piece of land with just his unpretentious character.
In his time, marked survey boundaries, especially on Little Cayman and the Brac, were few and far between. However, without looking at a map, he would point to a coconut tree or a discarded conch shell on the beach, and tell you exactly who owned that property, the amount of acreage and the valuation of the land.
He was awarded the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honor by the governor of the Cayman Islands. Mr. Ryan passed away in 2007.
This photograph is from the book ‘The People Time Forgot’ by George Nowak, available at the National Museum. All proceeds from the sales of the book go toward museum projects.