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A father’s influence remains strong for RHS senior

Rosemount High School senior Ryan Condon is one of three members of the class of 2014 accepted to a military academy.

It’s a thought that crosses Ryan Condon’s mind often: What would Dad think of this? Would he be proud?

Condon will graduate from Rosemount High School on Saturday. On June 30 he will enroll in the Coast Guard Academy. His father won’t be there to see either. He died when Condon was in seventh grade after a 10-year battle with cancer that started in his kidneys and spread to his hip and his brain.

Condon was 4 years old the first time he realized his father was sick, but Thomas Condon never let his cancer get in the way of time with his family. He was fan of World War I and World War II history, and particularly of maritime subjects. He would take his son on road trips to visit museums or tour submarines. They went to Krispy Kreme for breakfast every Saturday when the donut shops were around.

“Even though he couldn’t go to any of the Boy Scout campouts, he’d somehow try to make sure he was able to do things with me,” Condon said.

While Condon knew his dad was sick, he didn’t really know until close to the end just how serious things were. He was mad about that when he finally found out — as he spent the last month of his father’s life providing hospice care — but he came to understand why his parents had kept him in the dark.

“I was able to enjoy his time here much more not knowing he was going to go away,” Condon said.

Condon has grown up a lot in the four years since his father’s death. He was a member of the RHS cross country team and the school district’s alpine ski team. He’s been in track, National Honor Society, Tri-M and the National Spanish Honor Society. He also volunteers as an adaptive ski instructor at Buck Hill, helping a child with cerebral palsy down the hill.

Community service was important to his father, Condon said. Growing up they would pick up trash and get up early Saturday mornings to clean the church windows at St. Joseph Church. On Memorial Day they would put flags on the graves of veterans.

When it came time to choose a path after college, Condon knew he wanted to attend a military academy. Thomas’ passion for boats had rubbed off on his son, and Condon was drawn toward the Naval Academy and the Coast Guard Academy. He visited both and felt more comfortable on the Coast Guard campus.

He also likes the Coast Guard’s humanitarian mission. He hopes eventually to serve on an ice breaker.

“I think it would be very cool to work in the Arctic Circle, a place very few people have gone,” he said.

Once Condon had made his decision, his mother told him something about his father. She said he would be happy with his son’s choice. She said the Coast Guard was his favorite branch of the military.

“It was very nice to hear,” Condon said. “I think he’ll be pretty happy with where I’m going. It’s something he would be proud of.”

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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