Alumnus Dies in Quake

The earthquake that hit the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12 — claiming an estimated 200,000 lives, according to the Pan American Health Organization — also took the life of 24-year-old UCSD graduate and Arizona native Daniel Ryan Kloos.

Ryan, who went by his middle name, was in Haiti visiting his sister Erin Kloos, age 27. She was one of four Americans volunteering at Friends of the Orphans, a subset of the children’s charity Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos.

At the time of his death, Ryan was at the Father Wasson Center, a children’s hospital where his sister worked. When the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit, five of the hospital’s seven stories collapsed, killing both Ryan and another volunteer, Molly Hightower, age 22.

Ryan graduated from Muir College in 2008 with a double major in Sociology and Biochemistry/ General Biology, and had just been accepted to two schools of osteopathic medicine, according to close friend and classmate Liz Costa.

“Once he had been accepted to one of the programs, he quit his job in Arizona and decided he wanted to take some time and travel, see the world, volunteer… He had just gotten there on Sunday and was supposed to stay for a little while before the earthquake hit.”

Ryan was a member of the UCSD swim team and swam breaststroke for four years, despite recurring knee injuries.

“He fought through a lot of injuries while he swam, but he never once thought about not swimming,” Costa said. “The team really meant the world to him, and I think it’s been really hard for a lot of the alumni that swam with him for years.”

In addition to his involvement with the swim team, Ryan was also a writer for the Muir Quarterly, a satirical newspaper that, according to Costa, allowed him to showcase his sense of humor.

“He had this sarcastic humor that was really quick — really witty,” Costa said. “When we were freshmen, he and a few of the other swim guys used to sneak into our apartment while we were at dinner and invert all of our furniture. This happened a few times before we actually figured out who it was.”

The Kloos family has asked that any donations in Ryan’s memory be made to Friends of the Orphans at 1-888-201-8880 or www.friendsoftheorphans.org, in honor of Erin and Ryan Kloos.

“Ryan just showed a lot of love to everyone around him,” Costa said. “He loved his family, he loved his school, he loved his chosen career path and he showed that every day; it’s kind of that feel for life that we’re all hanging on to.”

Ryan’s family is currently at a Miami hospital with his sister Erin, who was also injured in the quake. She is now in stable condition.

“Knowing my son, Ryan, for only 24 years is so much better than never having known him at all,” John Kloos said. “No son has ever made his family prouder.”

Readers can contact Hayley Bisceglia-Martin at [email protected].

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