In the 22 months since his birth, Michael Quinn has learned to enjoy many things, but moments with his grandfather Matthew Ryan were highlights. The two played ball. They walked. They collaborated in the gloriously messy business of washing cars, outside the Ryan home in Seaford, N.Y. Mr. Ryan's wife, Margaret, said Matthew "would take the hose, squirt it all around, squirt the car, squirt Grandpa. Mostly he just got himself soaked."
Matthew Ryan, 54, loved all things Irish and all things family. He also loved to listen to the disc jockey Vin Scelsa play classic rock on the "Idiot's Delight" show on radio, and loved playing or watching hockey.
Matthew Ryan's 28-year career took him from Engine Company 280 in Brooklyn, to Engine Company 43 in the Bronx, where he was a lieutenant, back to to Engine Company 280 as captain and then to Manhattan in September 2000 as a battalion chief. In the heat of a fire, he would whisper calming instructions in younger firefighters' ears, Mrs. Ryan said. "They always felt more confident when Matty was on duty."
On Saturday evenings, many members of Engine 280 still listen to "Idiot's Delight."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 31, 2001.