George T. Ryan of Milton was born on Dec. 18, 1921, and passed away on January 6, 2021, on the traditional date of the Epiphany, finding heavenly Jerusalem.
Born at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Dorchester, George was the son of John and Rose (Dehan) Ryan and baptized soon after birth at St. John’s Church in Roxbury. He was later confirmed at St. Matthew’s in Dorchester and was a dedicated Catholic throughout his 99 years.
George was predeceased by his siblings: Rosemary Lucia, John Ryan, and Eleanor Ryan.
He graduated from Boston College High School in 1940, attended Bentley College, and served in the U.S. Army through World War II.
Directly after V-J Day, on a few days leave before his transfer to Japan, George married Mary (Mae) Roper of Dorchester at St. Gregory’s in Dorchester. They lived this sacrament for 75 years and had six children (two entered heaven at birth).
His wife Mary lives in Milton at their home of 60 years. They also enjoyed a second home in Eastham for 52 years
Of his children, G. Thomas lives in Eastham; Kathleen lives with her husband, Lawrence Lavery, in Milton; Edward and his wife, Margaret Gorham, live in Canton; and Mary and her husband, Joseph Rizzo, live in Milton.
George leaves three beloved grandsons: Michael Ryan, with wife Erika and their children Daisy and Thomas, live in Silver Spring, Maryland; Christopher Ryan, with wife Kelly and son Camden, live in Norton; and Patrick Ryan lives in Danbury, Connecticut.
After George’s discharge from the service, he was an accountant at Mass Motors and then Waltham Watch Company, while earning his B.A. and MBA degrees at Northeastern University. He became a financial executive for Raytheon, established and directed its division at Shannon Airport, Ireland for three years, and traveled constantly to every continent but Antartica.
George joined Thompson Steel Company in 1966 and in 1974 purchased the company. He led it through 33 years of expansion before selling it to his children and retiring at 85.
In his industry, George was a member of the Financial Executives Institute, serving as president of the Boston chapter for a year. He was president of the Cold Rolled Strip Steel Association and a member of the Algonquin Club of Boston, the Boston College Club, and the Milton Hoosic Club.
For Milton, he was an elected Town Meeting member for 40 years and served on the Warrant Committee for five years, chairing it for two years.
In the same breath as being a loving husband and parent, George loved serving his church. He was baptismal godfather for nephew Richard Roper and cousins Richard and William Reardon and confirmation sponsor for grandson Michael Ryan.
In St. Agatha Parish, George was a lector for 35 years. Ecumenically, he led Morality in Media for over 15 years. For the Archdiocese of Boston, he was on the Boards of Directors of Urban Affairs, St. Elizabeth Hospital, and St. John of God Hospice. He served as chair of the Finance Committee of the Caritas Christi Hospital System.
For the Vatican, George was invested in 1982 by St. John Paul II in the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a papal order serving the Holy Land, especially the schools. He became lieutenant of the Northeastern Lieutenancy.
In 2000 he became Vice-Governor General of the order, coordinating activities of the western hemisphere. For this work, which meant so much to George, he tirelessly worked for the Palestinians and their Catholic schools, whose students are Muslim, Greek Orthodox, and Catholic. He often needed to be in Rome and Jerusalem and brought sound financial advice to the Cardinals, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and political leaders in Palestine, all for the peace of Jerusalem. Now we pray that he is welcomed into the New and Eternal Jerusalem, his dream and his life’s hope.
The family wishes to thank the medical professionals, home care givers, VNA, and hospice workers who cared for George in his final months.
In his memory, consider donating to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (www.cnewa.org/donate/) or the charity of your choice and praying for all suffering in this heartbreaking time of pandemic.
Due to COVID-19, a Funeral Mass and Rite of Committal is being celebrated only with George’s immediate family. After all are able to gather as a community, the family will schedule a public memorial service for all relatives, friends, colleagues, and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.