Mike Ryan

Mike Ryan, the longtime golf pro at the Derryfield Country Club, died Tuesday night after battling cancer. This photo was taken in 2016 on the club’s opening day.

MANCHESTER — Mike Ryan, the longtime golf pro at the Derryfield Country Club, was remembered Wednesday for his kind spirit and dedication to the city’s golf course.

“He gave his heart and soul to the course to improve it.” said Andy Vachon, who had served as Ryan’s boss for a handful of years when Vachon was enterprise manager for the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries Department.

Ryan, who was in his 60s and lived in Concord, had battled brain cancer and more recently liver cancer before passing away Tuesday night, according to co-worker Mike Chartrand. Ryan’s birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year.

Ryan worked as the course’s head golf professional for nearly a quarter century.

Last year, PGA New England named him the 2017 New Hampshire chapter’s Golf Professional of the Year.

Ryan was instrumental in making improvements a few years ago that included new drainage and irrigation systems, paved golf cart paths and seven new bridges along with redesigned greens and fairways.

“This place was pretty much his life,” Chartrand said.

Don Pinard, the city’s chief of parks, said Ryan oversaw the golf course regarding golf matters, including the pro shop and lessons.

“He’s an institution there,” Pinard said. “Everybody really loved him.”

He said Ryan helped grow interest in youth golf.

“He just had his finger on the pulse with what was going on with golf in general here in New Hampshire and around the country,” Pinard said.

Ryan, after hearing last year he had won the PGA honor, said, “It’s humbling because you go to work every day and there’s so many people doing as good a job or better at their facility.”

Pinard said Ryan was “very upbeat” and “always had a positive outlook” even when that outlook didn’t look bright.

“He would take the shirt off his back and do anything for you,” Vachon said.

Ryan’s family includes his wife, Bonnie, and two adult daughters.

Information on services was incomplete.

mcousineau@unionleader.com