|Birth: ||Nov. 20, 1913|
|Death: ||Apr. 29, 1966|
Walter was the son of Frank U. and Fannie M.(Austin)Ryan. He had two brothers and one sister. Besides his wife Adele, three children; he is survived by his daughters; Sheila (Mrs. Edward Hatch),Ann L. and Martha J. Ryan. Three grandchildren. David ,Paul and Peter Hatch,along with several aunts,uncles,cousins,nieces and nephews. He was greatly affected by his father's alcoholism and all of the problems that it caused his family. His parents separated when he was about six years old. Walter's mother lived apart from his father for the remainder of her life. Fannie wanted to provide her children with a healthy and safe environment. Unfortunately,living with Frank wasn't good for them or Fannie. For one reason or another she never filed for divorce. Possibly because divorce was looked down upon by in those days. No matter what,my grandfather had a lot of love for his father. From what my grandmother told me Walter's father was very proud of him. Walter,his brothers and sister lived with with their mother at her parent's house on 24 Haverhill Street in Haverhill. His mother worked full time five to six days a week as a bookkeeper in the local Haverhill shoe factories. His family received little or no child support from their father. Fannie worked hard to support her children. Often times were very tough. By all accounts Walter had a good childhood. Walter and his brother Paul(Winnie) worked as caddies at a golf course on Hale island in the Merrimack river to help support the family. Walter's sister Florence died of tonsillitis when she was seven. As was customary in the early 1900s funerals were often held at private residences. Often a woman known as a wailer was hired for funerals. Wailers would have loud pitch cries in an effort to help the mourners grieve. At Florence's funeral the wailer had such a loud screech that Walter and his brother Winnie laughed so hard that they had to be sent to the cellar. My grandfather met Adele Louise Patterson when he was sixteen and she was fifteen in high school. Walter was a member of Haverhill High School Class of 1931. Adele went to nursing school at Tewksbury State Hospital upon graduating from high school. She missed Walter so much that she withdrew from school and returned to Haverhill after only two months. My grandparents were anxious to get married. Massachusetts had a waiting period. Adele and and Walter didn't want to wait. New Hampshire didn't have a waiting period. On July 30,1937 they filed for a marriage license. It was during the depression. Neither one of them had much money. On August 6,1937 they took a bus to Plaistow,New Hampshire(which borders Haverhill) and were married by the justice of the peace. Adele's mother had given them some gold which they had melted into a ring. They didn't have bus money to get back to Haverhill so they walked about four miles back to Adele's mother's house on Main Street. At her mother's house they had some wine and made a wedding toast and had some desert. A very simple wedding. At the time of his marriage my grandfather worked as an elevator operator for a couple of years at the Coombs Building(his aunt Ruth's husband's building in Haverhill). During the first year of his marriage Walter and Adele lived at 7 Arlington Street, Haverhill. One and a half years later their first child, Sheila Ruth was born. Followed by Ann Louise in 1943 and Martha Jane in 1945. Walter was ineligible to register for the W.W. II draft as he had flat feet. Classified as a D or an F. Hence to say both of my grandparents were happy that he didn't have to fight in the war. In the early 1940s Walter worked at The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, New Hampshire(now part of Maine). While working there he lived at 12 Pentucket Street,Haverhill with Adele and Sheila. In 1943 he joined the Haverhill Gazette news staff. In October of that same year he was named sports editor. In the years that followed he was known to area and pro athletes young and old. Walter was a familiar face at Essex county sporting events. He gave the name "Hillie's" to the Haverhill High School athletic teams. My grandfather also gave the name "Blues" to the now defunct St. James High School(Haverhill)athletic teams. He helped select the name for the (Boston)New England Patriots from ones that were submitted from a contest. Many team members from the Patriots attended Walter's calling hours or funeral. A huge floral arrangement was sent from the team. Walter wrote several nostalgic columns about Haverhill and nationwide present and former athletes. He also wrote several nostalgic pieces about his childhood experiences in the Riverside section of Haverhill during the early 1900s. His writings have been read by his daughters,grandchildren,great grandson,nieces,nephews and cousins. Today all of us continue to enjoy them. Walter was the secretary of the American Newspaper Guild and the National Sports Writers and Broadcasters Association in Washington, D.C. In June 1961 he was unable to attend his daughter Ann's high school graduation. He was hospitalized after having a heart attack. Ann visited him on her way to the graduation ceremonies in her cap and gown. Walter and Adele's daughters had a surprise Twenty-Fifth wedding anniversary party for them in 1962 at the now defunct Hackett's Restaurant in Ipswich,Mass. In the picture that was taken of my grandparents at the party Walter is looking down at my grandmother. Its obvious that he truly loved her. They were indeed soul mates. On Friday,April 29,1966 my grandfather went into work and wrote what would be his last column. He went home for lunch,as he always did. After he ate he took a nap. His grandson David and daughter Ann were at the house that afternoon. Ann was unable to awaken him as he had died of a massive coronary in his sleep. Walter had been discharged from the hospital the previous Monday. He'd been a patient for about three weeks after suffering a heart attack. Walter had battled heart disease for several years before his passing. My grandfather was so well known that there was a huge line of people outside of his wake. Walter was fifty-two when he died. He's buried along side of his wife. On top of his coffin are the remains of his daughter Martha's stillborn son Matthew and granddaughter Katie's daughter Emily. A small portion Walter's daughter Sheila's ashes are buried along side of Walter and Adele's grave in a small purple vase. In 2013 his daughter Martha's ashes, 9 years after her death, were scattered over her parents grave.
Francis Usher Ryan (1886 - 1938)
Fannie Mabel Austin Ryan (1886 - 1937)
Adele Louise Patterson Ryan, LPN (1914 - 1999)*
Sheila Ruth Ryan Hatch (1939 - 2012)*
Martha Jane Ryan (1945 - 2004)*
Franklyn James Ryan (1908 - 1985)*
Florence Margaret Ryan (1909 - 1921)*
Walter Austin Ryan (1913 - 1966)
Paul Winn Ryan (1915 - 1977)*
Note: *Is buried on Larch Avenue.
Created by: Pete
Record added: Aug 30, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 15558769