John "Denny" Ryan"
Founder and Past President of
The Mepham Alumni Association

J. Denny Ryan

John "Denny" Ryan

It is with profound sorrow that we announce the death on June 13, 1998 of John "Denny" Ryan, Founder, Past President, and Director of the W.C. Mepham H.S. Alumni Association.

Garden Dedicated to John "Denny" Ryan

Mepham's Homecoming on October 17, 1998 was a memorable tribute to former Alumni Association President John "Denny" Ryan, Class of '59, who passed away on June 13, 1998.

The pre-game parade featured Denny's son Tim as Grand Marshal, with daughters Corinne and Deborah also participating. During the half-time ceremony, the Mepham Booster Club dedicated their gift of the landscaping area surrounding the new Events sign as the John "Denny" Ryan Memorial Garden. Denny was well known for his coordination of the annual Homecoming activities with school and community organizations for many years.

As one of the founding members of the Mepham Alumni Association, he contributed countless hours and energetic spirit to benefit his alma mater. He served as Vice President and President for many years and initiated the Association's Most Valuable Mepham Wrestling Tournament Award. Elected to Who's Who in 1993, he is survived by wife Barbara, three children, and one grandchild.
From Quarterdeck, February 1999

Events Sign in Memorial Garden

J. Denny Ryan Memorial Garden Plaque

John "Denny" Ryan, Past President and Distinguished Board Member

Class of 1959, Who's Who 1993

Hundreds of friends paid tribute at funeral services for John "Denny" Ryan, Class of '59, who passed away on June 13, 1998 from complications of chronic leukemia. It was a memorable testimonial to a man whose warmth, sincerity and genuine sensitivity allowed him to work so well with others.

A long time resident of Bellmore and motivated by fond memories of his high school years at Mepham, Denny dedicated his energies to community service. As one of the founding members of the Alumni Association, he contributed countless hours and energetic spirit to the benefit of his alma mater. He served as Vice President from 1981-1983; President from 1983-1988, 1991-1994, and Past President from 1994-98.

He coordinated the annual Homecoming activities with the school and community organizations for many years. He initiated the Association's Most Valuable Mepham Wrestling Tournment Award, which is held annually at the Sprig Gardner Wrestling Tournament. He coordinated the multi-faceted planning of Mepham's 50th anniversary celebration in November 1987 and was elected to the Alumni Association's Who Who in 1993.

His other community services including coaching the Bellmore Little League from 1976-81. In 1979, he began coaching the West Hempstead Roller Hockey League.

He was a member of the New York Queens Christadelphian Ecclesia and served as Secretary and Treasurer for many years.

Denny worked for the New York Telephone Company for twenty years and TCG Communications recently.

He is survived by wife Barbara; children Corinne, Timothy, and Deborah; and one grandchild.

From Scuttlebutt, Summer 1998

Alumnus Tribute to Denny

Denny was a very special person. Following is a tribute to him by Roger Mansell, Class of 1953, which so fittingly reflects our fondness for him.

"I want to express my deep sorrow upon hearing of the loss of 'Denny' Ryan. No one who has had the opportunity to meet Denny failed to be affected by his charm, exuberance and determination.

"Every organization or endeavor thrives with the dedication and drive of one individual. For the Mepham Alumni Association, Denny was that man. He forged an alliance between the alumni and school administration that is the envy of every high school in the nation. His joyous love of life inspired others to expand the mission of giving inspiration and assistance to the future generations of Mephamites. It was a selfless service from a man of high moral character, honesty, dedication and humility. When he spoke or wrote of Mepham and the Alumni Association, it was never 'I' but always'WE.'

"His was a selfless endeavor. Active members of the Association have given thousands of hours of effort to make 'things happen.' You could select the project and he gave nothing but encouragement as long as the mission - to support Mepham - was always the center of focus. He created a world where people gave generously of time, money and effort because he, as a leader, encouraged their participation on 'their' terms. He was a leader among men.

"He has left a legacy of dedicated volunteers who represent every generation that passed through the halls of Mepham. The goals of the Association are so deeply entrenched that his dreams will continue to live for future generations. His was a remarkable life that has shaped the future for thousands yet to be born.

"Still, while his legacy lives on, he will be deeply missed. Our prayers will be for him and his family."

Denny Ryan

By Vince Daley

His given name was John but I knew him as Denny
With the map of Ireland painted clearly upon his face
His true sport was wrestling and mine was running
Cross-country his way of training for the wrestling season
But our paths crossed in the fall of '58 in a way I can't forget

I had qualified for the States with only two weeks to prepare
And I dreaded the practices that I would have to run alone
Running quarters and halves against that unforgiving clock
Yet on the first day as Coach Murphy and I stood on the track alone
Here came a smiling Denny in sweat gear determined to drive me on

And the workouts that we ran still sting in my memory today
As he set a scorching pace and would give me no respite
Every quarter below 60 seconds every half 2:10 or better
The final leg always the best, always a race to the finish
For that two-week period he gave as much if not better than me

More than forty years have passed since that special fall of '58
Then I heard the other day that Denny Ryan had passed away
And my memories raced back to a time I won't easily forget
When Denny Ryan tried to help me be the best that I could be
With not a single thing for him to gain, he did it only for the team

Composed: 7-2-00, Copyrighted: 2000, By: Vincent P. Daley, Jr.