Peabody, MA — Mr. Francis L. Ryan, 90 years of age, of Peabody, formerly of Gloucester, and husband of Caroline A. (Melota) Ryan and the late Marilyn R. (Goulart) Ryan, passed away on May 16, 2013, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House surrounded by his wife, Caroline; son, Bobby and wife, Debra and son, Jimmy and his companion, Kristin.
Francis was born in Gloucester on January 31, 1923, the youngest of seven children, to the late Grover C. Ryan and Laura M. Mason.
Francis attended Gloucester schools and was not only a stand out in football, but was quite a boxer, all while working at a very young age to help his mother get by during the Great Depression. In his early years, he was a handyman, worked on the waterfront, delivered ice and professionally boxed.
He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 1942, and served as a corporal through May 1945, transporting many a prisoner from both Boston Navy Yard and the Quonset Point Naval Station to Portsmouth Naval Prison. And in December 1943, while on the airstrip/tarmac at Quonset Point Naval Station, he was instrumental in removing and saving the lives of 12 of his fellow Marines from the airstrip during a plane crash that took the lives of seven of his other fellow Marines.
Francis, after being discharged from the service, again returned to the waterfront and worked along the inner harbor. After several years, he then went on to work at CBS Hytron Laboratory facility in Danvers, the manufacturer of vacuum tubes for televisions and then returned to Gloucester going to work for Gorton’s of Gloucester for over 23 years, serving as a shop steward for the Local 445, formally Local 15.
As a coach of the Little League Dodgers in the early years of Gloucester Little League, one of his proudest moments, in addition to the achievements of his children, was his come-from-behind rally to win the Little League World Series in 1956. He was very proud of his kids, teaching them at a very early age “not to quit or ever give up a dream and stay the course.” Many of his ball players went on to become successful and still reside in Gloucester today.
Francis was an avid golfer and a member of the Bass Rocks Golf Club for over 35 years, and was known as one of the best chippers and putters ever to play Bass Rocks. He won numerous golf tournaments, including the member-guest invitational, the Gillis Trophy and the Bass Rocks Presidents Cup.
Along with his wife, Caroline, he is survived by his children, Robert B. Ryan and wife, Debra, James M. Ryan and companion, Kristin, J. Ronald Ryan and wife, Shirley, Theresa Lowe, Patrick Ryan and daughter-in-law, and Miyoko Ryan; and 18 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife, Marilyn Goulart Ryan, he was predeceased by his sons, Ronald J. Ryan and Francis L. Ryan; and sisters, Marion M. Ryan and Susan Ryan Amero; brothers, Cleveland D. Ryan, Theodore Ryan, William D. Ryan and Leland “Duke” Ryan; and in-laws, Joseph and Mary Melota and John and Laura Goulart.
ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral service will be held in The O’Donnell Funeral Home, 46 Washington Sq. (at Salem Common), Salem, Tuesday, May 21, at noon. Relatives and friends invited. Burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Salem. Visiting hour prior to the service from 11 a.m. to noon. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Francis’ memory to the Gloucester High School Marine Corps R.O.T.C., 32 Leslie O. Johnson Road, Gloucester, MA 01930. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit www.odonnellfuneralservice.com.