David Ryan


10:00 am
Saturday, April 13, 2024
St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church
1300 Northern Boulevard
Manhasset, New York, United States

Obituary of David Ryan

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David Robert Ryan, who passed away on January 16, 2024, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to John Patrick and Alice Donovan Ryan, on August 27, 1947. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, his wife Ellen Gustafson Ryan, and brothers Robert and Daniel. He is survived by his children, Shannon Garner, David Ryan, and Meaghan Leister (William); seven wonderful grandchildren: Alexandria and Jaxson Ryan, Cory Garner, Jared, Dylan, Kaley, and Ryan Leister; sisters Gail Young (Stephen), Patricia Grace, Carol Thompson (William) and Joan DiLaura (Chuck), and brother Jay (Eileen); and nineteen nieces and nephews, as well as twenty-nine great nieces and nephews.


Dave graduated from St. Mary’s Boys High School in Manhasset, New York in 1965. There he played varsity baseball and basketball, served as team captain, held class offices, and was chosen to attend the prestigious Boys State the summer after his junior year, where he was elected Mayor. He went on to attend Georgetown University where he majored in government and played varsity baseball, along with intramural soccer, basketball, and football, excelling in all.


In college he met and married his beautiful wife Ellen, and they began a family. Daughter Shannon arrived first, then sixteen months later David, and two years after that Meaghan. Dave loved spending time with his children playing at the beach, riding bikes, and pushing them on swings. When they bought a house in a family-friendly community in Springfield, Virginia, Dave, always outgoing and wishing to meet people, went to the community pool, chatted with several young parents, and went home to tell Ellen he’d invited ten people for a barbeque that evening. They went on to have a fun-filled social life.


After graduation, Dave was hired by RCA in its computer division, but several months later, RCA closed this department. Dave quickly landed a position with Reynolds Securities where he applied himself diligently during the training period and was soon a successful salesman, winning the Top Salesman award and a memorable trip to Portugal with Ellen.  Life was good.


However, tragedy struck in July of 1974. Driving home from a party, Dave’s car was struck by a truck, instantly killing his parents and Ellen and permanently injuring Dave. He awoke from a coma eight months later as a paraplegic and would spend the next fifty years in nursing homes.


Despite this terrible twist of fate, Dave remained positive and upbeat. He never complained and was much loved by the nursing home staff for his jokes and antics – yelling “Bingo!” when he didn’t even have a card, just to cause a little chaos in the common rooms or sneaking out of the building to the sunny courtyard he loved. He attended Christmas gatherings and annual family reunions with the extended family, which allowed him to maintain a bond with his children and grandchildren. He always had a smile and a funny story, told with a beer in his hand.


Dave’s high school friends never forgot him. Many visited on a regular basis and every August for forty years, a group of them – from all over the country - along with brother Jay, would meet in Montauk at the home of Dave’s friend Tom Meade, for a weekend of revelry, memories, and tall tales. As nephews became old enough, they, too, joined the fun. Through most of those years, another high school friend, John Conroy, would gather dozens of Manhasset friends and family at his house to watch the NFL conference championship games with Dave.  It is a stunning tribute to Dave that his friends continued these traditions for so long. They are a wonderful group of friends remembering a great guy.


Despite leading a limited life for so many decades, Dave made a lasting impression on all who knew him. He will be sorely missed by his children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews and many, many friends from his earlier life. He will also be missed by the staff who took care of him over the years, many of whom made a point of telling his family how he never complained and always brightened their days with his attitude and antics.


Dave was one of a kind, in health and in adversity.


A funeral Mass is planned for 10 AM on Saturday, April 13, 2024, at St. Mary’s Church in Manhasset. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Dave’s name to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. https://www.christopherreeve.org/





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