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June 22, 1918 – Dec. 23, 2012

Edward J. Ryan, of the Town of Tonawanda, a retired furniture maker and decorated World War II veteran, died Sunday in St. John the Baptist Hospice House after a brief illness. He was 94.

Born in Buffalo, he was a 1936 graduate of Riverside High School. He served for six months in the Army Air National Guard in 1940-41, then enlisted in the Army in February 1941. He served for the duration of the war as a combat medic in the First Battalion, 141st Medical Detachment, 36th Infantry Division.

Attached to an anti-aircraft artillery unit in Newfoundland, he later was assigned to Europe, taking part in the Battle of the Bulge and in the liberation of Nazi death camps.

He was awarded the Bronze Star, the New York State Conspicuous Service Medal and the French Operation Overlord D-Day 50th Anniversary Commemorative Medal.

Mr. Ryan worked as an upholsterer for Kittinger Furniture Co. from 1947 until he retired in 1983.

He was a life member of Downtown Post 64, American Legion, now the McKeever Post, and served as commander, chaplain and historian. He was the post’s baseball coach and manager from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s. He also was a member of the World War II Veterans Lunch Club.

A devoted Catholic all his life, he was an altar boy as a youth and had been a member of St. Amelia Church since 1955. He was a member of the Holy Name Society and a Catholic Charities volunteer.

He was scoutmaster for Cub Scout Pack 202 at St. Amelia’s from 1957 to the late 1960s and was a founding member of the Pack 202 Softball League. He also was a Town of Tonawanda Youth League baseball coach.

In retirement, he was a Meals on Wheels volunteer.

He enjoyed bowling, softball, gardening, camping, travel and playing the saxophone and clarinet.

Surviving are his wife, the former Virginia I. Cutting; three sons, Edward J. Jr., Michael J. and Christopher A.; and two daughters, Susan E. Holmes and Gail M. Cristantello.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Saturday in St. Amelia’s Church, 2999 Eggert Road, Town of Tonawanda.