Margaret Ryan and the Ryan Family in St. Agnes Menands

Posted on September 1, 2021 by Jennifer Mele under Genealogy, History, Stories of our Dearly Departed
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From the “Stories of our Dearly Departed” series from Kelly Grimaldi, Historian and Associate Director for Albany Diocesan Cemeteries.

Albany Diocesan Cemeteries’ “Stories of our Dearly Departed” is a series featuring stories and photographs of those who are buried within our 20 upstate NY cemeteries.

Our hope is that people will enjoy reading about the lives of our community members just as much as we enjoy learning about them from the families we serve and in the information we find throughout our archives. There are so many fascinating stories buried within these Sacred Grounds!

Mark A. Ryan wrote and submitted the following story about relatives interred in St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands to share with us all:

“It was a clear, bitter cold February day in Albany when Miss Margaret Ryan walked to her school, Academy of the Holy Names, for a music lesson. Back home on Sheridan Avenue, Margaret had her father (my great-grandfather), William Fr. Ryan, Sr.,1 and her mother, Jennie Brightmeyer Ryan, and an older step-brother, James F. Ryan1, my paternal grandfather.

That day was February 16, 1924, a day that would change the Ryan family forever. Margaret entered the road at Robin and Central avenues and was struck by a car, causing traumatic head injury. Margaret would succumb to her injuries on September 11 that year. She was 14 years old.

During the seven long months of Margaret’s treatment in the Albany hospital, Margaret’s grandfather (my great-great grandfather), Michael Ryan1, would also pass away.

Thirteen years later, in the summer of 1937, Margaret’s step-brother (my paternal grandfather, James F. Ryan) would also perish alone in a car accident in Albany. He was 32 years old and left behind his wife, Kathryn Ryan (my Nana Kate), and five children, including my father, James F. Ryan, Jr., age 9, the eldest.

Nearly all of my dear precedents presented here, among numerous other members of my Ryan family line, are at rest at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands. Miss Margaret rests beside her parents, William F. Ryan, Sr., and Jennie. My grandfather, James F. Ryan, rests beside his wife, Kathryn.  My grandfather’s mother, Elizabeth Ryan (she was William F. Ryan, Sr.’s first wife and my great-grandmother who died at age 18 giving birth to my grandfather in 1904) rests beside my paternal great-great grandfather, Michael Ryan, and his wife of more than 50 years, Margaret Ryan.

May they all rest in peace forever.

1Michael Ryan emigrated from Ireland to America in 1849 at age four and later became a produce merchant in Albany. Inspired by his father, William F. Ryan, Sr., founded the well-known, long-standing Albany company, W.F. Ryan Produce, Inc.; he passed away in 1959. My grandfather, James F. Ryan, was also a successful produce merchant for many years in Albany. During his lifetime, William Sr., would have four children; three would perish between 1924 and 1937. The last and surviving child, William F. Ryan, Jr., born in 1927, would carry on the business, subsequently turning the enterprise over to his son, Michael. Michael closed the business in 2018 and retired. From the Michael Ryan who emigrated from Ireland, to the most recent Michael Ryan, the Ryan family conducted successful Albany produce businesses for more than 150 years.”

Story submitted by Mark A. Ryan


Do you have a story of an ancestor and/or loved one buried in one of our cemeteries that would be interesting to highlight in our “Stories of our Dearly Departed” series?

We are looking for stories of those buried within the following 20 cemeteries:

St. Agnes, Menands  •  Most Holy Redeemer, Niskayuna  •  Holy Sepulchre, Rensselaer  •  Our Lady of Angels, Colonie  •  Immaculate Conception and St. Patrick’s in Watervliet  •  Our Lady Help of Christians and Calvary in Glenmont  •  St. Agnes, Cohoes  •  St. Patrick’s, Coeymans  •  St. Anthony’s, Glenville  •  St. Jean de Baptiste, St. John’s, and St. Mary’s in Troy  •  Sts. Cyril & Method and Holy Cross in Rotterdam  •  St. Joseph’s, Waterford  •   St. John the Baptist and St. Mary’s in Schenectady  •   St. Mary’s, Coxsackie

If you have a story to share, contact Kelly at 518-350-7679 or [email protected].

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