Mayor Frank McGehee: Jerry Ryan Embodied the Essence of Community Service

0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Editor’s note: Jerry Ryan — longtime Maplewood resident, former Mayor and Township Committee member, and Planning Board chair at the time of his death —  passed away from cancer on May 27. In an email, township clerk Liz Fritzen said, “Mayor Ryan will be missed by all who knew him. Funeral bunting will be placed on the pillars of Town Hall beginning tomorrow in memory and tribute to Mayor Ryan.”

Mayor Frank McGehee sent the following remembrance to Village Green:

Mayor Ryan had a big heart, a contagious laugh, an amazing wit and a great respect for people.

I met Jerry in 2015 and had the pleasure of working with him briefly on our Planning Board. Jerry’s professionalism and ability to manage a meeting, even while in the midst of his hard fought battle with cancer was remarkable.

One of his last public acts is one that I will never forget. In March, to commemorate Women’s History Month, I asked Jerry if he would be able to come to the Township Committee Meeting and read a proclamation which quoted his very own words the night he nominated our first woman Mayor, Ellen Davenport.

DeLuca, McGehee, Dafis, Ryan, Davenport and Ian Grodman

He was fighting his illness, but told me he would do his best.

The night of the meeting, Jerry was not present initially. But as the moment of the proclamation approached, Jerry was there. He showed up and read his original words beautifully and from his heart. It was very moving for all who were in the chamber that evening.

That is my last memory of Jerry. The ever present person who embodied the essence of community service, especially to and for his beloved Maplewood. Whatever the ask he was always there.

Jerry you will be missed very deeply, but your incomparable legacy will live on for generations to come.

On behalf of the Maplewood Township Committee, our heartfelt condolences to Jerry’s family, friends and all who loved him.

Related Articles