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Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr
Birth: May 5, 1925
Lincoln
Lancaster County
Nebraska, USA
Death: Nov. 18, 1978
Jonestown
Barima-Waini, Guyana

US Congressman.

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Ryan enlisted in the United States Navy during the middle of World War Two and served until his discharge in 1946. Returning to Nebraska, he attended Creighton University before moving to California where he became a high school teacher.

Motivated to enter politics, he was elected mayor of South San Francisco in 1962 but gave up the seat later that same year when he was elected to the California State Assembly serving until 1972. In 1973 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives representing California's 11th District.

In 1978, after hearing from concerned residents of his district, Congressman Ryan decided to travel to Guyana on a fact finding mission to investigate Rev. Jim Jones and his People's Temple settlement of Jonestown to determine if followers were being held there against their will. Arriving at Jonestown on November 17th, Ryan discovered many temple members who did want to leave.

The next day, Ryan's party and some of the Jonestown defectors were organizing to leave at the Point Kaituma airstrip when they were attacked by armed Temple members. Congressman Ryan, NBC correspondent Don Harris, NBC cameraman Bob Brown, photographer Greg Robinson, and Jonestown defector Patricia Parks would be killed in the shooting and several others were wounded.

Jim Jones and over 900 of his followers committed suicide later that same day.

In 1983, Ryan was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his service.


 (bio by: G.Photographer) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Margaret Mary Casson Ryan (1922 - 1981)

Cause of death: Assassinated by gunmen
 
Burial:
Golden Gate National Cemetery
San Bruno
San Mateo County
California, USA
Plot: Section C-1, Grave 15-A
GPS (lat/lon): 37.63324, -122.43304
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Sep 17, 1998
Find A Grave Memorial# 3580
Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr
Added by: Diane Reich
 
Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr
Added by: Scott G
 
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You died a hero, trying to save so many lives. God bless.
- Kim
 Added: May. 8, 2017

- Flutterbye~~~
 Added: May. 7, 2017

- Kate Duvall
 Added: May. 5, 2017
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