By Jacob Isom | November 20, 2021
“Greetings and salutations!” has been heard all over the world by Adventures in Odyssey listeners, the familiar and unique way in which Eugene Meltsner introduces himself throughout the series. For over 33 years, countless people have experienced the many adventures of Eugene Meltsner, his quirky way of communicating that often confuses his audience, and the many laughs and memorable moments.
It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Will Ryan, voice of Eugene Meltsner. Will was 72 years old. Focus on the Family recently released a statement regarding Will Ryan’s passing, which you can read here.
Will Ryan first appears in the second episode The Life of the Party as Bill Moorhead. He made his official debut as Eugene Meltsner in the episode Connie, in which he begins working at Whit’s End during Connie Kendall’s brief departure to California. Will played Eugene since the introduction of his character and also voiced Harlow Doyle, Officer David Harley, and many others throughout the show’s span. His best known role was that of Eugene Meltsner. Whether Eugene is creating new inventions for Whit’s End, caught up in entertaining disagreements with Connie, driving across the country with Bernard Walton, or working on his relationship with Katrina Shanks (now Meltsner), Eugene is loved by many for his personality, his warm spirit, and his gentle heart. Will’s work for Adventures in Odyssey spans well over 400 episodes.
Will Ryan’s acting isn’t just limited to Adventures in Odyssey. He also voiced Petrie in The Land Before Time, Willie the Giant in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and even voiced Tigger and Rabbit on the Disney Channel’s Welcome to Pooh Corner series. In addition, Will was also an Emmy award-winning producer, lyricist, and composer. Many fans have copies of two special musical albums Will was involved with for Adventures in Odyssey: Eugene Sings! and Eugene Sings! Christmas (currently out of print).
We will never forget the work of Will Ryan, specifically with Odyssey. We had the privilege of growing with the character of Eugene Meltsner over the course of three decades, laughing with him, crying with him, and—more recently—witnessing Eugene’s marital relationship with Katrina and adventures with Buck Oliver. While the news of Will’s passing is upon us, ongoing discussions by the Odyssey team will take place to determine the future of the character of Eugene Meltsner. The Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast will release a tribute to Will Ryan in 2022. Fortunately, some yet-to-be-released episodes featuring more appearances by Will Ryan as Eugene will air in 2022 as well.
Unfortunately, the time has come, but he leaves behind a legacy that will remain for decades to come. Farewell, Mr. Ryan. Thank you for everything you did to make Adventures in Odyssey what it is today.