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Tim Ryan 'a true artist'

The Jackson Hawke frontman died last week
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Tim Ryan plays at the 18 Forever Rock and Roll Revival in this December, 2007 file photo. Donna Hopper/SooToday

SooToday received the following tribute from former Saultite Linda Strom, a close friend of celebrated musician Tim Ryan, who died last week:

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Sault Ste. Marie, and dare I say, the world, has lost a priceless treasure with the sudden passing of Tim Ryan this past week.  

One can easily Google and find almost 50 years of clips, articles and interviews, documenting Tim’s career as a musician — from local boy — rising star — back in the ‘60s with his band AMEN to frontman for Jackson Hawke in the ’70s.  

He delighted many an audience over the years, wrote and recorded many a song and he lived his life true to his calling and in honour of his gift.  The facts of his life and career are just that but they don’t tell you about the essence and the soul of the man.

Tim was a true artist and his art is his true legacy. It came in the form of poetic music, musical poetry, rhythmic food for thought, storytelling, pure inspiration.  Tim’s gift was not just his – it was a gift to all of us. 

He had a message and those who listened through the heart were lifted up.  I have found over the years that too few of us understand the value of an artist. Artists — true artists — they leave us their art to speak to us, inspire and encourage us, teach us, nourish us, give us hope and strength and meaning.

Tim Ryan was a seeker, a reacher, a soul searcher and, to put a rich icing on that cake, he was a giver. He possessed a rare ability to reach your inner core with his poetic soul, and leave you feeling something significant and resonant with every conversation, with every performance, with every song.    

He had a beautiful message and an incredible ability to convey it, and for those of us who were fortunate enough to know him, to call him friend, well, we know we are all the richer for the privilege.

Tim had other gifts as well.  He had the gift of intelligence and reason and resilience.  He was growing old gracefully, realizing that none of it mattered but love.  He loved his wife and family.  He loved his friends.  He loved trying to make sense of life and he loved the expression of love through his poetry and music.

We who knew him understand the weight of the loss we have just experienced.  We will endure our grief and if we have learned anything at all from our beautiful friend, we will carry on, spread the love and listen with our hearts to what he had to tell us.

Farewell Tim. Be at peace as you sail into the mystic.

Linda Strom

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