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William H. Ryan Jr.

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Mr. William H. Ryan, Jr. died peacefully on Tuesday, November 13th at the Emory L. Bennett Veteran's Memorial Nursing Home in Daytona Beach. Mr. Ryan was born on July 19, 1922 in Finleyson, GA to William Henry Ryan, Sr. and Mrs. Onie Ryan. When William was a young child, the Ryan family moved to Fort Myers, FL.
William attended the Lee County schools. He loved football and participated fully in sports. In 1942, he graduated from the Dunbar High School. He later enlisted in the United States Army and received numerous combat awards; he reached the rank of SARGEANT as an optical height finder in the PACIFIC THEATRE DURING World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and on April 4, 1947, married his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful Nettie Cox Hawkins. Willam enrolled in the SPECIAL SKILLS PROGRAM for new veterans at Kentucky State College, (now known as Kentucky State University), as a major in SHOE REPAIR in Frankfort, Kentucky. Mr. Ryan also loved photography and left the home filled with pictures, especially of his family. William had a "green thumb" that is, he could make anything grow especially his juicy backyard citrus fruit. He once grew pineapples sweet enough to rival Hawaii's. His flair for tending our beautiful lawn landed him the Beautification Award from the City of Daytona Beach. He was also interested in entreprenuerial and civic pursuits and was instrumental, with the support of neighbors, in getting sidewalks on his street. Mr. Ryan, before becoming a school custodian, was a Produce Manager for the Setzer Food Stores. He was a member of the New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church and attended until his health began to fail. Survivors include a son, William (Fort Myers, FL); his wife of 65 years, Nettie; their children: Homer (wife, Rebecca); Alfred (wife, Barbara); Charles, Helen Miles (husband, Billy); Patricia Ikegwuonu (husband, Ike); and Laura Irvin (husband, Grady); grandchildren, Allison Ryan; Jason-Scott Ryan; Mason-Ryan Maddox; a great-grandchild, Aubrynne Cai Ryan; and his brother, Charles Ryan (wife, Rose) of San Antonio, TX; nieces and nephews, Lillian Palmer; Helen Crowley; Michael Crowley; Lisa Ryan; Lynda Ryan; Leah Ryan, and Michael Ryan. He was predeceased by his brother, Julius Ryan, sister, Lillian Crowley; granddaughter, Layla Ryan and nephew Billy Scurry. Other relatives include a cousin Inez Smith of Sanford, FL, the Jack Ryan family of Fitzgerald, GA, the James Miller's of Passaic, NJ and other relatives in Fort Myers and Miami, FL. Graveside Service will be Sat., Nov. 17 at 10:00 a.m. at Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation will be today (Friday, Nov. 16) from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. at Herbert Thompson Funeral Home.

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Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Nov. 16, 2012
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