RIP, Ryan Suenaga

@postaday 114; #postaday2011.

Ryan M. Suenaga

Ryan M. Suenaga

@rsuenaga Kaiser Permanente Medical (US)
Hawai’i’s best known Apple II Geek and social worker

I’ve often pondered our Twitter community, and those I get to meet in real life (IRL) in Honolulu, aka, Twitterlulu. With any given lot of people there will be joy and sadness. There has been divorce. There have been accidents. There have been job losses. People leave Hawaii for other places in the world. And now we have a death.

I met Ryan Suenaga through Hawaii Threads probably about six or seven years ago. The way it often goes for me, I’m a virtual friend with a lot of people before we actually meet, if we ever do. But I met Ryan, and my family grew to know and love him. Most of our relationship was online. We often compared workout notes. He knew my sister-in-law Cathy, who is a doctor for Kaiser Permanente’s Kailua clinic. Ryan was a social worker for Kaiser. Ryan was a social worker for all of us.

Today there is testimony on Twitter and on Ryan’s Facebook page from people whom he touched in small and big ways. Whether he sat with Lena Hanson for hours to get her computer going right, taking care of his family with their various medical needs, or having some personal time on the bicycle, running, at a Tweetup, or while singing karaoke, Ryan was a humble, selfless, giving man who felt it was his duty to be of service to anyone who asked. And he held forth that there was no problem too big for tactical pants.

A typical tweet would be,

rsuenagaRyan M. Suenaga
Giving up on the cycling idea and gonna head home, finish taxes, and do some other crap.
It was something we often saw. His plans always took a back seat to family needs, and if a friend needed a computer component, a water bottle for a bicycle, the shirt off his back, Ryan was there with his truck to deliver it. And the truck, which he often tweeted was scheduled for a wash, didn’t always get it. Ryan rarely put his own needs first. I do not know if he felt being in a relationship would mean he couldn’t fully be of service to everyone who relied upon him, or if it was because he was a very shy guy. He sometimes tweeted about his “noisy sex neighbors,” so he certainly wasn’t oblivious to the advantages of being hooked up.
rsuenagaRyan M. Suenaga
o/~ Sometimes you wonder what happened to love, sometimes the touch of a friend is enough o/~

15 Apr

I looked back on his tweets this morning and found this one from Haleiwa Metric Century. We didn’t see Ryan that morning, but we knew he was there:
rsuenagaRyan M. Suenaga
Haleiwa is beautiful. Likely doing only 1/2 to 3/4 the metric today
rsuenagaRyan M. Suenaga
Saw @fatjeff already. Wondering where Team Bender is.

10 Apr

And later that day to one of our HSTA school teacher friends:
rsuenagaRyan M. Suenaga
@logieo hope for the best, plan for the worst #whatsocialworkhastaughtmeaboutlife
Ryan started taking the social bull by the horns, organizing tweetups and twikes, a magnet who drew friends a few weeks ago to @YogurStory for his birthday celebration. I looked at the pics from that event and realized I know fewer and fewer people in this Twittersphere, that the familiar faces are outnumbered by the new ones. As it should be. Society evolves.
Ryan evolved. He grew into a friend and a man that emulated all that Jesus would want to see in any one of his followers. Ryan, who once tweeted he was not a Christian, walked the walk, blurred the lines between church and society, and wrested acts of kindness away from the self righteous and showed how love was a commodity that could be shared by all and spent freely. Last year, when I was house bound with my burst Achilles tendon, Ryan dedicated his Great Aloha Run to me by putting @lavagal on his bib number and on his running shoes that were scheduled to fall apart that day. I was touched. Last year he also rode in the @Livestrong Philly event, and John and I pledged financial support for his trip. As a result, Ryan met up with @TeamFatty and made all kinds of Philly friends thanks to riding his bike in torrential downpours for more than 70 miles. He hated it, he loved it.
Finally, I cannot help but include this tweet. Ryan called out for a #twike at 8 a.m. to Olomana on Easter Sunday, noting that it wouldn’t be recommended for novice hikers. Dino Kawamura responded: “That’s a tough one!”
To which Ryan wrote:
rsuenagaRyan M. Suenaga

@Legendjy I hope I don’t die.

19 Apr

Do we tell each other enough how much we care about them? Do we tell each other how grateful we are for the small kindnesses they dispense our way? Do we overlook the social blunders and love anyway? I’m looking forward to crossing paths with Ryan again someday. He didn’t think he’d be much more than a lump of clay when he died, and tweeted as much. I certainly expected him to live twice as long as 44 years.  But now? Forever in our hearts will have to do.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. will miss him Paula! I also always loved his advice on love… he’d always say “miss unreliable” in his tweets sometimes and we’d commiserate 😉

  2. Pingback: Aloha, Ryan
  3. Obviously he will be missed. I actually want to do a story on him. Does anyone know how to contact his family? Can you call 843-3614?

  4. omg. this made me tear up this morning… you put it into words exactly what i feel~

  5. I am still stunned by this. Ryan branded himself “antisocial” and “selfish,” and yet he was the opposite of both. I didn’t get to see him in person that often — mostly at races, where he’d be a friendly, forthcoming, encouraging presence amid a crowd of strangers. But through Twitter and Facebook, I felt connected to this humble, giving, funny and truly amazing guy on a daily basis. Suddenly, his familiar voice is silent, and there’s an emptiness that I have yet to comprehend. It was an honor to know you, Ryan, and to be able to count myself among your thousands of friends and fans. Aloha.

  6. I am still in shock that Hawaii and the world has lost such a wonderful person…he will not be forgotten and the love and influence he had on those around him will live on forever. Rest in peace Ryan…

  7. That was a very nice memory, thank you for sharing. I was shocked to hear of his accident. I went to social work school with Ryan and we (along with another classmate) all worked at Kaiser together for many years. He seemed to just be fitting into his grove in life, living and being healthier. He touched many lives with the children and families he worked with. A big loss to those he served.

  8. Oh my! What a shock to see this on the news just now!! I really enjoyed working with Ryan.. I first met Ryan when we started the Medically Fragile Children’s waiver progrma. Always so helpful and very compassionate about the Kaiser kids. RIP Ryan. You have made a wonderful contribution to our community. Thank you. Wow-

  9. Aloha all of Ryan’s friends and family. We are looking to have a presentation about Ryan this Saturday at the Mac user group festival and Annual membership meeting.We need some video and photos so please send them to me: event:
    Please come and enjoy the event and we hope to have a celebration of his participation with his blogs and helping HMAUS.

  10. I used to frequently call his podcast as the mystery caller. Rocky, AKA Rodney, AKA Raj, and so on. He would usually play my messages no matter how dumb they were, and once in a while mention that a lot of these guys have the same phone number and laugh. He used to email me back if I had questions about his book review or suggestions for his next one. I was shocked to hear he died, it was mentioned on the Retrocomputing Roundtable Podcast. He was well known in the vintage computing community. I never met him, but it sounds like he was a really nice guy. Very disturbing, sorry to lose one of our brothers in the community.

  11. Reblogged this on Lavagal and commented:

    Recent hits on my blog indicate that many people are reflecting on the death of Ryan Suneaga, who died in a fall last Easter while hiking Olomana on Oahu’s windward side. I’ve never reblogged an entry before, but I feel this one definitely deserves another go.
    DUDE. We so miss you.

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