Thomas L. Ryan

Thomas RyanThomas Lee Ryan, Sr., passed away peacefully on June 30, 2011 at the family homestead where he was born and lived for most of his life surrounded by his loving family.  Tom was born in Bethel on January 3, 1930 to Marion Lee Ryan and Thomas K. Ryan, graduated from Bethel High School in 1947 and enlisted in the United States Army in 1948, serving in the 8th Army/10th Corp 88th Military Police Company.  He fought in the Korean Conflict from 1950 until his discharge in 1952, having participated in the harsh Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.  After his discharge from the Army, Tom married his sweetheart, Dorothy Ellis, in April, 1953, and quickly began a family, having eight children together.  A lifelong Bethelite, Tom began working at Southern New England Telephone Company in 1953, as an installer and retiring on March 29, 1990 as Supervisor of Building Maintenance.  He was a longtime New York Giants fan and was happy to see his beloved Giants win 3 Super Bowls in his lifetime.  

Tom is survived by his high school sweetheart and bride of 58 years, Dorothy Ellis Ryan; his younger brother, James F. Ryan of Danbury, Connecticut; 8 children and their spouses:  Nancy Ryan and her wife, Susan Rosengrant ,of Bethel; Thomas L. Ryan, Jr. and his wife, Kim, of Rocky River, OH; Mary Pat LeBlanc and her husband, Peter, of Worcester, MA; Virginia Coladarci and her husband, Angelo, of Brookfield; John Ryan and his fiancé, Paula Kubisek ,of Boston, MA; Elizabeth Ryan and Karl of Houston, TX; Christopher Ryan and his wife, Carmella, of Bethel; and Candis Orvis and her husband, Douglas, of McLean, VA, and 12 grandchildren: Michelle LeBlanc, Bridget (LeBlanc) Simmons, Melissa Coladarci, Peter T. LeBlanc, Megan Coladarci, Sam Ryan, Matthew Coladarci, Christian LeBlanc, Tess Ryan, Lily Ryan, Julia Ryan, and Serafina Orvis.  Tom is also survived by his caring and dedicated caregiver, Tamar “Georgia” Metreveli.

Tom was very active in Bethel politics, serving as Democratic Registrar of Voters, a position he took over when his mother retired, was a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, serving on the Democratic Town Committee for over forty years, serving at one time as the Vice Chairman, and was voting machine inspector for many years.  He was honored in 2001 at the Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner for his years of service, and dedication.  He was also a past member of the Knights of Columbus, Concordia Club, and Telephone Pioneers of America.

Throughout the years after discharge from the Army, Tom remained in contact with many of his Army buddies throughout the United States, travelled to many reunions.  He was active in keeping the memory alive of "The Forgotten War", working toward the establishment of The Korean War Memorial in Danbury, also raising awareness and funds toward the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., attending the dedication ceremony.  He spoke about the war to school children and at other gatherings.  Tom was a member of the American Legion, Commander of Post 100 Bethel, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and The International Chapter of the Chosin Few. 

After retirement, Tom and Dot began travelling, visiting their children and grandchildren in their various states, reconnecting with high school friends, and took a cruise to Alaska and the Pacific. They travelled to Korea and China, visiting many of the sites Tom last saw in the early 1950s.  In anticipation of retirement and planning family time with their children and grandchildren, Tom and Dot bought property in Griswold, Connecticut and with their children, grandchildren, in-laws, and friends, built their own version of "Golden Pond".  They regularly welcomed friends and relatives for summer activities at Pachaug Pond, hosting several Chosin Few reunions, bridal showers, family reunions, and grandchildren weekends there.  The grandchildren called it “Gramma Dot/Poppie Camp” while everyone else just called it The Cottage.

The family will receive friends on Sunday, July 3, 2011 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at St. Ann’s Melkite Church, 181 Clapboard Ridge Road, (Rt 39N) Danbury, Connecticut. The Rite of Burial will follow at 6:30 p.m with the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Michael K. Skrocki, JCD, pastor officiating.

Interment will take place at the direction of the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Tom’s honor and memory may be made to either of the following: Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut, 405 Main St., Danbury 06810, Bethel Volunteer Fire Department Ambulance Fund, 38 South St., Bethel 06801, St . Ann’s Melkite Church Building Fund, 181 Clapboard Ridge Rd., Danbury 06811 or the Joseph Tarrant American Legion Post 100, 7 Elizabeth St., Bethel 06801.

Jowdy-Kane Funeral Home, 9-11 Granville Ave., Danbury is in charge of arrangements.

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Jowdy Kane and Kane Funeral Homes