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Aquinas Ryan remembered as man heavily involved in P.E.I. community

BRIAN MCINNIS/TC MEDIA/ARCHIVE 
 The late Aquinas Ryan, centre is seen presenting the 2012 championship trophy in his role as the then president of the Kings County Baseball League. With him are members ot that year's winning team, the Stratford 3 Points Machining and Aerospace Athletics.
BRIAN MCINNIS/TC MEDIA/ARCHIVE The late Aquinas Ryan, centre is seen presenting the 2012 championship trophy in his role as the then president of the Kings County Baseball League. With him are members ot that year's winning team, the Stratford 3 Points Machining and Aerospace Athletics.

Islanders knew him as a teacher, coach, mentor, volunteer and community leader.

Aquinas Ryan, formerly of Avondale and a long-time resident of St. Peters Bay, died suddenly on March 3 at 84.

“He was a larger-than-life type figure,’’ said storyteller and entertainer Dennis King. “He was just a fierce defender of rural P.E.I. and a promoter of community and small towns.’’

King knew Ryan from Ryan’s years with the Kings County Baseball League as well as through family connections.

Ryan also competed as a varsity athlete, led student government and formed life long friendships.

“I was always impressed with the way he conducted himself. As a well educated person and a school teacher he spoke with wonderful diction. He was a real treat to have a conversation with. He was a true gentleman.’’

King said there was an authoritative sound to Ryan’s voice that made him someone people looked up to.

“He was just one of those guys who grew up at a time when small communities were thriving and it pained him to see those things change in some regards.’’

Ryan was also a politician, leading the P.E.I. New Democratic Party from 1972 to 1979. He also ran as the party’s candidate in Cardigan in the federal election in 1972, finishing with 14.2 per cent of the vote, considered a very strong result for the party.

He resigned as the provincial leader in 1979.

“There would be a lot of people that wouldn’t be aware of his political life. He was a significant person to take that job at a time when it probably wasn’t the most popular job in the world.’’

Ryan studied at St. Thomas University, taught in Morell and became principal of St. Peters Consolidated School in 1966 and remained in that role until his retirement in 1991.

Ryan was also known for his involvement with the P.E.I. Federation of Municipalities and the St. Peters Blueberry Festival.

“He was a really, really strong community volunteer and (worked) tireless, tireless hours to keep things like the Kings County Baseball League running and running efficiently.’’

King also noted that Ryan was a man of conviction.

“He was stubborn but he was open minded at the same time. He was fierce in defence of his opinions and positions and when you had a conversation with him where conflicting opinions were to arise you had better have your homework done. You could be well certain that Aquinas did.’’

Ryan is survived by his wife Toddy (Rossiter) and children Stephen (Verna), Andy, Maura (Craig Pardy) and Maribeth (John Walsh).

The funeral will be held today at 2 p.m. at St. Peters Roman Catholic Church in St. Peters Bay.

Dave.Stewart@tc.tc

Twitter - DveStewart

Aquinas Ryan, formerly of Avondale and a long-time resident of St. Peters Bay, died suddenly on March 3 at 84.

“He was a larger-than-life type figure,’’ said storyteller and entertainer Dennis King. “He was just a fierce defender of rural P.E.I. and a promoter of community and small towns.’’

King knew Ryan from Ryan’s years with the Kings County Baseball League as well as through family connections.

Ryan also competed as a varsity athlete, led student government and formed life long friendships.

“I was always impressed with the way he conducted himself. As a well educated person and a school teacher he spoke with wonderful diction. He was a real treat to have a conversation with. He was a true gentleman.’’

King said there was an authoritative sound to Ryan’s voice that made him someone people looked up to.

“He was just one of those guys who grew up at a time when small communities were thriving and it pained him to see those things change in some regards.’’

Ryan was also a politician, leading the P.E.I. New Democratic Party from 1972 to 1979. He also ran as the party’s candidate in Cardigan in the federal election in 1972, finishing with 14.2 per cent of the vote, considered a very strong result for the party.

He resigned as the provincial leader in 1979.

“There would be a lot of people that wouldn’t be aware of his political life. He was a significant person to take that job at a time when it probably wasn’t the most popular job in the world.’’

Ryan studied at St. Thomas University, taught in Morell and became principal of St. Peters Consolidated School in 1966 and remained in that role until his retirement in 1991.

Ryan was also known for his involvement with the P.E.I. Federation of Municipalities and the St. Peters Blueberry Festival.

“He was a really, really strong community volunteer and (worked) tireless, tireless hours to keep things like the Kings County Baseball League running and running efficiently.’’

King also noted that Ryan was a man of conviction.

“He was stubborn but he was open minded at the same time. He was fierce in defence of his opinions and positions and when you had a conversation with him where conflicting opinions were to arise you had better have your homework done. You could be well certain that Aquinas did.’’

Ryan is survived by his wife Toddy (Rossiter) and children Stephen (Verna), Andy, Maura (Craig Pardy) and Maribeth (John Walsh).

The funeral will be held today at 2 p.m. at St. Peters Roman Catholic Church in St. Peters Bay.

Dave.Stewart@tc.tc

Twitter - DveStewart

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