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 Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr

Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr

Birth
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska, USA
Death 18 Nov 1978 (aged 53)
Jonestown, Barima-Waini, Guyana
Burial San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA
Plot Section C-1, Grave 15-A
Memorial ID 3580 · View Source
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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


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 17 Sep 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3580
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr (5 May 1925–18 Nov 1978), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3580, citing Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .