Frank J. Ryder III (Jay)

Frank J. Ryder III (Jay), 71, died June 11, 2019, at home in Marion due to complications from prostate cancer. He was the husband of Meredith Wickenden Ryder. 

            Jay was born in Boston on January 5, 1948, son of the late Frank Jenkins Ryder, Jr. and Jane Porter Ryder of Attleboro and Marion. 

            He attended Governor’s Academy (formerly Governor Dummer Academy) in Byfield and attended business school at the University of Denver. Later he studied civil engineering technology at Southeastern Massachusetts University in Dartmouth for three years. 

            From 1970-1974, Jay proudly served his country on active duty in the United States Coast Guard. He was a radioman aboard the USCGC Barataria out of Alameda, Calif., and Radio Station Humboldt Bay in Eureka, Calif. 

            After living off the land in Middletown Springs, Vt., with college friends, Jay moved back to South Dartmouth and spent two years rebuilding the old Bullard Farm, while learning cattle farming and becoming a skilled, self-taught carpenter. 

            With visions of starting his own construction company, Jay moved to Marion and became a managing partner of Little Harbor Building Associates – a company created by his late father. He and his father developed a 100-acre parcel of land now known as Little Harbor Estates. Ultimately Jay became a builder/dealer for Acorn Structures and spent the next three years building homes in southern New England. 

            In 1979, he moved to Newport, R.I., to begin a career in engineering. Jay served as marketing director for Halliwell Associates in East Providence until 1983, then moved to Darien, Conn., where he worked for East Coast Engineering until 1985. 

            His most successful business accomplishment was becoming director of marketing for Catalyst Energy Development Corporation in New York City. For the next four years he worked in the alternative energy business developing low head hydroelectric, co-generation, solar and district heating and cooling projects with private firms nationally. 

            Trading in his business suit for shorts and a set of clubs, Jay moved to Palm Desert, Calif., in 1989. There he wrote and marketed “The Greater Palm Springs Golf Guide” – a 165-page play book on 50 public and private courses in the desert area. 

            At age 42, however, it was time to put down permanent roots. Returning finally to Marion in 1991, he married his childhood friend, Meredith Wickenden, and settled down to raise their five children. 

            In Jay’s words: “It was the best decision I ever made in my life.” 

            In Marion, Jay’s real estate management enterprise, Ryder Real Estate Management Company, grew and flourished and allowed him to serve the community he loved. 

            Jay served on the Marion Planning Board as clerk, vice-president, and chairman for six years and chaired the initial Town House Advisory Committee. With Betty Cheney, he co-founded the annual Marion Christmas Stroll. An avid reader, he was an active member of the Elizabeth Taber Library, and a friend to all who worked there. As a member of the First Congregational Church, he was a devoted scripture reader at services. 

            A passionate competitor and sportsman, Jay enjoyed fishing, tennis, and golf with his family and many friends. Additionally, he was a longtime member of the Sippican Tennis Club and Piney Point Beach Club. 

            Jay is survived by his wife, Meredith, and their five loving children, daughter Devon Hamilton, husband Lee, and their children Cameron, Jonathan, and Jackson; son Marshall Birkins, wife Heather, and their children Brynn, Marshall, and Brooks; daughter Courtney Polhemus, husband Aaron, and their children Katherine and William; sons, Christopher Birkins and James Birkins, and James’ fiancée, Jessica Roeder. 

            Jay is also survived by his sister Suzanne Herriman, husband Fred, their daughter Ashley; his brother, Tyler Ryder, wife Dana, and their children Madison and Wyatt; his brother-in-law James Wickenden, wife Martha, and sister-in-law, Jeanne Wickenden Lake. 

            A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held at the Wickenden Chapel 86 Spring Street in Marion on Sunday July 21, 2019 at 12 Noon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be considered to Community Nurse Home Care or The First Congregational Church of Marion – Deacon’s Fund. For online condolence book, please visit

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