Honorable John J. Ronan, 90, of Milford, Connecticut, passed away peacefully at his home on November 17, 2022.
Born on November 3, 1932 in Bridgeport, he was the son of the late John and Elizabeth (Ryan) Ronan. He graduated from Fairfield College Preparatory School in 1950 and earned his B.S.S. from Fairfield University in 1954. Upon graduation from college, he entered active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and served until June 1960. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. He attended the University of Connecticut Law School as an evening student while working full-time in a variety of positions at Southern New England Telephone Company in New Haven. He earned his Juris Doctor in June 1963, and was admitted to the Connecticut Bar in August 1963. For the next 20 years, John served in private practice with Attorney Richard H. Lynch in Milford, CT. John often referred to Dick Lynch as a mentor and credited Dick with instilling him with the virtues of fairness, hard work and dedication to the legal profession. John also served as a part-time prosecutor in the state court system from 1967 until 1984.
John was sworn in as a Superior Court Judge by Governor William A. O'Neill as on May 1, 1984. During his career on the bench, he served as a judge in the Middlesex, Hartford, Stamford, Fairfield and New Haven Judicial Districts. In addition to his courtroom assignments, he served as Chief Administrative Judge of the Criminal Division of the Superior Court from 1987 until 1999. At that time, he was appointed as Deputy Chief Court Administrator by then Chief Justice, Robert Callahan and Chief Court Administrator, Robert C. Leuba. He was also designated to lead or serve on many committees and task forces that were focused on reforming the criminal justice system in Connecticut. He often reflected on the privilege of being respected as a fair, just, and thoughtful jurist by members of the judiciary and lawyers on both sides of a case and truly appreciated the opportunity to share his professional experiences and mentor others in the legal community.
Judge Ronan, who was widely known as "JR" and "Pop" to family members, was a devoted son, husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. For those who knew John, he was a devout Catholic and proud Marine who thoroughly embraced his duties to the community outside of his work. The Milford courthouse was a second home, where aside from serving as a Judge Trial Referee for nearly two decades, he maintained close relationships with his extended family. His career only came second to the love he shared for his wife Arlene, family, and friends. He enjoyed giggling at the day's Peanuts comic, sharing a good joke with court staff and fellow attorneys, and rooting for (or criticizing) the NY Giants and University of Notre Dame football. He was one of a kind and was known for his honesty, integrity, compassion and fairness to those around him.
He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Arlene McDonagh Ronan and is survived by their four children, Kevin (Lori) Ronan of Raymond, ME; Ryan (Jeena) Ronan of Scottsdale, AZ; MaryEllen (Geoff) Knotwell of Milford, CT; and Elizabeth (Chris) Duryea of New Haven, CT; as well as his three beloved grandsons, Nicholas Ronan, Geoffrey Knotwell and Trevor Knotwell. He will be deeply missed.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Mary Church, 70 Gulf Street, Milford, CT 06460. (PLEASE MEET DIRECTLY AT CHURCH) Interment will take place at Saint Mary Cemetery, Buckingham Avenue, Milford, CT. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Judge Ronan's memory to the Connecticut Bar Foundation or the Semper Fi & America's Fund.