Name: William Burl Ryan
Birth: 21 OCT 1881 in Scott Co., TN
Death: 7 MAY 1985 in Lexington, Fayette Co., KY
Reference Number: 152196
1985, Lexington, Fayette Co., KY, Funeral
Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) - May 11, 1985 [Saturday ]
William B. Ryan, one of two Spanish-American War era veterans living in Kentucky and the oldest resident of the Veterans Administration Medical Center on Leestown Road, died of pneumonia Monday [07May1985] at the medical center. He was 103. Ryan, who was born Oct. 21, 1881, in Scott County, Tenn., near the Kentucky border, was a bugler with the 8th U.S. Coast Artillery from July 1901 to July 1904.
He spent most of his time in the military at Fort Morgan, Ala., he had told Veterans Administration employees. "I was in on the end of it (the war)," he said in a 1981 Herald-Leader interview just before his 100th birthday. "I wasn't in no battles. I was a bugler. There was three of us to the company. I had two red stripes down my legs." Ryan, who was buried with military honors Thursday in Chitwood Cemetery in Scott County, Tenn., was one of 16 living Spanish-American War-era veterans in the country, James R. Fischl, services officer for the Veterans Administration regional office in Washington, D.C., said yesterday. The remaining 15 veterans range in age from 99 to 108, with Walter B. Pleate of Pennsylvania the oldest. Hickory E. Grace is the other Spanish-American War- era veteran living in Kentucky, Fischl said.
Ryan took up bowling at the age of 98 and was still participating in the sport after he reached the century mark. "The hospital gave him a bowling ball on his 100th birthday with his initials on it. He really valued that very much. He continued bowling for a long time," said Suzanne Harvey, supervisor of the nursing-home care unit at the medical center. "His main hobby was bowling." His average was about 100. ''He liked to kiss the girls," she added. "He would say, 'It's not every day you get the opportunity to kiss a man 100 years old.' " Ryan, the next to youngest of Jim and Emily Ryan's eight children, had been a farmer, miner and electrician, and at one time chiseled tombstones out of granite for a living.
He spent most of his life around Winfield, Tenn., but had lived in Harlan County and Whitley City. He worked for Stearns Lumber Co. at Stearns at one time, a daughter said. He was married three times. His first wife died and he divorced the other two, the daughter, Pearl Lovett of Whitley City, said. She said he was a musician throughout much of his life, and played the trombone, piano, guitar and violin. Ryan said in the 1981 interview that he could not attribute his longevity to anything in particular, but he said it might have had something to do with his dietary habits. "I didn't drink no whiskey much. I can't do without eating. I eat pretty hearty. If I didn't, I'd fall in a ditch," he said, adding that he especially liked buttermilk and onions.
In addition to Mrs. Lovett, Ryan is survived by two other daughters, Helen Walker of Cherry Hill, N.J., and Flossie Sue Blankenship of Winfield, Tenn.; four sons, Bill Ryan of Akron, Ohio, Ray Edward Ryan of Camden, Tenn., Arnold Ryan of Winchester, Va., and Leamon Ryan of San Diego, Calif.; and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
From: Diane Renfrow dhrenfrow(at)yahoo.com
- Flossie Sue Ryan b: 19 FEB 1945 in Scott Co., TN