Dr. Chuck Ryan was one of Bob's closest friends in medical school and during their early years as interns. Chuck had left Oakdale for Centerville, where he met and married a young nurse named Jennifer Sullivan. Chuck and Jennifer had two children, Rick and Barbara.
Sometime in 1971 or 1972, Dr. Chuck Ryan becomes terminally ill. On his deathbed, Chuck has Bob promise to take care of his family after he's gone. Bob starts to see quite a bit of the newly widowed Jennifer Sullivan Ryan, and a romance soon develops. Jennifer's son Rick resents Bob's presence, in part because he feels Bob wasn't entirely forthright in explaining Chuck's fatal illness, but also because he worshipped his father and doesn't want Bob to take his place. Thus when Rick finds out that Bob's ex-wife, Lisa, is pregnant, he tries to stop the wedding by telling Jennifer that Bob is the father. But Rick's scheme doesnít work.
Rick refuses to attend Jennifer and Bob's wedding, which takes place shortly after Bob's son, Tom, marries Carol Deming on July 26, 1972. Jennifer's recently widowed sister, Kim Reynolds, comes to Oakdale in time for the wedding. Even though Kim dates John Dixon for awhile, she is clearly more attracted to Bob.
When spoiled rich girl Meredith Halliday left Oakdale with legal guardian turned lover Simon Gilbey, the path was finally cleared for true love to blossom between Tom Hughes and Carol Deming. Carol had always had an unrequited crush on Tom, but now Tom is finally paying attention to her. The two marry each other on Wednesday, July 26, 1972 in a ceremony taped inside a church in New York City.
One day, while still in the care of Dan and Susan, Betsy falls from the playground monkey bars and is seriously injured. She needs a lifesaving blood transfusion and gets it via a donation from Dan.
In the meantime, Liz recovers from her nervous breakdown and returns home to Paul, but she is distressed when Betsy becomes very attached to Dan and Susan. Liz finally decides to leave Paul, and they soon divorce. Paul dies in November 1972 without ever finding out that Dan is the father of Betsy.
Dan is also the father of Susan's newborn baby, who is named Emily (a.k.a. Emmy).
Susan Jacoby in a 1972 Washington Post article commented on the lack of career women on ATWT and other soaps at the time and made reference to Dr. Susan Stewart as "the only women on As the World Turns who even displays any real interest in a career." Susan and Dan's baby, Emily (a.k.a. Emmy), had recently been born as of mid-June 1972, and in one Spring 1972 ATWT episode, viewers saw this scenario:
In one scene, [Susan] wonders aloud whether her daughter will be a doctor like her father or a lawyer like her grandfather.
"Maybe she'll want to be a housewife," her husband [Dan] says.
"Yes, maybe she will," replies the mother [Susan]. A vicious look crosses her face as the music fades into a commercial.
(Jacoby, Susan. "Telling It Like It Isn't" Washington Post. June 12, 1972: B3.)
It doesn't take long for Susan to return to work as a research doctor after Emily's birth. Conflicts between Dan and Susan over how much time she should spend with baby Emily, coupled with Dan's continued feelings for newly single Liz, would cause the couple to finally divorce by November 1972. But Dan doesn't have much time to celebrate his freedom from Susan as he's called on to perform two emergency gall bladder surgeries on the same day: one on newcomer Kim Reynolds, and another on a young housewife named Maria Marino. Kim comes out of the surgery with no problems, but Maria isnít as fortunate. . .
Following the end of Bob's marriage to Sandy, Nancy has been trying to get Bob to take Lisa back. Yet Nancy's efforts are for naught as Bob falls in love with and marries Jennifer. Lisa soon takes up with Don, who once despised her for the way she treated Bob when she was married to him. Lisa becomes even fonder of Don after he becomes buddies with her son Chuck. Don is, however, a bit reluctant to make a full commitment to Lisa.
One day, Lisa starts experiencing pregnancy symptoms. Since she doesn't want Don to think she's trying to trap him into marriage, Lisa goes to Memorial Hospital for an abortion. Dr. Eric Lonsberry performs surgery on Lisa and finds out that she really isn't pregnant after all. She was suffering from an ovarian cyst that had caused the pregnancy symptoms. Rick Ryan, now a young intern, happens to be on duty during Lisa's ordeal and he concocts a lie to try to stop his mother's planned wedding to Bob. Rick tells Jennifer that Lisa thinks Bob was the father of her lost baby. Jennifer refuses to fall for the ploy and goes ahead with her scheduled marriage to Bob.
Maria Marino dies during gall bladder surgery of an embolism. Her distraught brother, policeman Joe Fernando, shoots Dan, who breaks his surgical arm in the fall. Surgery is performed on Dan's arm, but it's uncertain whether or not he'll be able to perform surgeries again. Dan feels guilty about the abrupt way in which he told Joe that Maria died and decides not to press charges against him.
Susan, now newly married to Dr. Bruce Baxter, tries to convince him to let her bring Emmy home during Dan's recovery, but Bruce refuses. Donald and Tom look into Bruce Baxter's background in preparation for a custody hearing.
Paul, who has just died, has left the bulk of his money to Betsy and Emmy.
Nancy and Chris get a Christmas greeting telegram from Penny, who's staying in Switzerland during a tough time in her marriage to Anton.
Don proposes to Lisa, but she's reluctant to marry him. She has started seeing ordained-minister-turned-doctor Wally Matthews. Wally is a doctor who offers spiritual advice as well as medical advice and people have come to like him. However, Wally has a secret: he's trying to find the long lost son he gave up for adoption soon after his wife died in childbirth some twenty years ago.
In the meantime, Tom and Carol's new friend, Peter Burton, has just found out that he has been adopted and is trying to find his birth parents. When Tom and Carol introduce Peter to Wally Matthews, the two don't hit it off too well at the beginning.