Kenneth L. Ryskamp, retired U.S. District Judge and a member of the Palm Beach Atlantic University Board of Trustees, died Thursday. He was 85.
President Ronald Reagan nominated Ryskamp to the federal bench after nearly 30 years of private legal practice in Miami. In 1986, he was sworn in and served until January 2017 when he took inactive status and no longer heard cases. During his service as a judge, Ryskamp presided over a number of high-profile cases that included dangerous crimes, civil rights violations and public corruption. Regardless of the case, he was known for the respect that he showed to each litigant who came before him.
Ryskamp became a trustee at Palm Beach Atlantic in 2000, serving on the academic program and athletic committees, and was an emeritus trustee at his death.
“Ken Ryskamp's life of public service embodied the core values of the University: faith, integrity and Christian character,” said PBA President William M. B. Fleming, Jr. “He was an advocate for enriching opportunities for our students, especially for instilling Christian values and servanthood into their lives. The University is so grateful this jurist shared his wisdom and Christian walk to better the PBA experience. We were blessed by his dedication to the University and the nation.”
A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ryskamp was a graduate of Calvin College and earned his law degree from the University of Miami. He and his late wife, Sonja, were members of First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach. He is survived by his daughter Cara Ryskamp Brown.
Funeral arrangements are pending. The family has requested memorial gifts to the Sonja Ryskamp Scholarship at Palm Beach Atlantic University.