North Hempstead Democratic Chairman John Ryan dies at 69

North Hempstead Democratic Chairman John Ryan dies at 69
Town of North Hempstead Democratic Chair, John Ryan, died on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of the Island Now archives)

John Ryan, the North Hempstead Democratic chairman, community leader and financial strategies expert, died at 69 on Saturday after a battle with prostate cancer.

He lived in Great Neck.

Ryan, whose birthday was Friday, began getting involved with the Democratic Party in 2007, serving as “legislative district leader” after Judi Bosworth, now the North Hempstead town supervisor, was elected to the 10th Legislative District seat. In 2016, Ryan was selected to replace Gerard Terry as the town’s Democratic Party chair.

In a statement, state and county Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs lauded Ryan’s character, urging others to interact with the same kindness he emulated throughout his life.

“It breaks our hearts to learn of the passing of John Ryan,” Jacobs said. “He was a leader in every sense of the word and a friend to everyone who had the pleasure and honor of meeting him.  Through his involvement in politics, he truly made Nassau a better place to live, but more than that, he made everyone else’s life better just by his presence. 

“To honor John’s legacy, we should do everything we can to emulate the life he lived – to help others, to always be kind, to put yourself second, to be a friend, and to just be present.  John Ryan made us all better as people, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this time.  He will be sorely missed but always remembered and cherished.”

Bosworth praised Ryan for his involvement with the “Project Independence and You” radio show, along with other town aspects.

“John Ryan was an extraordinarily kind and compassionate person,” Bosworth said in a statement. “He cared deeply for his community, and his contributions to North Hempstead were immeasurable. As a long-time host of the Project Independence and You radio show, John played an integral role in disseminating critical information to our residents. John brought light into everyone’s life he touched. He was a cherished friend and will be sorely missed.”

Ryan served as the president of the Great Neck Rotary Club, past deputy governor and assistant governor of Rotary District 7255, president of the Great Neck Social Center, treasurer of the Great Neck Democratic Club, co-founder of the Great Neck Business Circle, co-founder of Project S.A.F.E. Long Island and president of the Children’s Learning After School Program.

Ryan was also a founding partner of Ryan & Janowsky Financial Strategies Group and served in the financial services industry for more than three decades. Ryan received his associate degree in business administration from SUNY Farmingdale and received his master’s degree in gerontology and post-master’s thanatology certification from the College of New Rochelle.

His longtime business partner, Peter Janowsky, reflected on the time when he first became friends with Ryan. Janowsky, in a phone interview, said more than two decades ago he informed Ryan he would be out of the office to tend to his recently deceased mother’s apartment.

“The next day, when I got to my mother’s apartment, he was literally standing there waiting for me with a hammer in his hand,” Janowsky said. “That’s how we became friends.”

Janowsky also mentioned that Ryan would ensure that all of the cleaning staff for the company would receive Christmas gifts and would prepare meals for homeless shelters as part of volunteer work with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

Ryan is survived by his wife, three daughters, three sons-in-law, and six grandchildren with another on the way, according to Janowsky. Efforts to reach a member of Ryan’s family for comment were unavailing.

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