Willie Ryan

Born in Gainesboro, TN on June 3, 1927

Departed on January 11, 2019 and resided in Greenbrier, TN

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Willie Ryan, age 91 of Greenbrier, passed away on Friday, January 11, 2019 at Tennessee Veterans Home in Clarksville.

Willie Ryan, was born in Jackson County (Gainesboro) Tennessee on June 3, 1927 to the late Harry Lee and Frances Florene (Sloan) Ryan. He was the eldest of 5 children.

In the late 1930’s the family relocated to Robertson County. He attended Springfield High School until he left to help on the family farm. Willie entered the United States Army in 1945 during World War II and did not serve long before the war ended.  He continued his Army career for over 20 years, serving in the Korean War and two tours in Vietnam.  He was a helicopter mechanic in the Vietnam War and was also a gunman on the helicopter during their missions.  They aided in transporting the troops to the line and extracting them.

During his military career he married Dorothy Ann (Bunn) Ryan and retired from the Army after his service to our country.  They moved back to Tennessee which was always home to him.  He lost his beloved Dottie in 1980.

Not long after he retired, he lost his right eye in an accident while wiring a home.  That ended his Army Reserve career.  That didn’t stop his service to his fellow men however.  He began work as a mechanic for Glover Auto and then worked at Cunningham Motors.  Willie was well known for his ability and desire to make sure each car was fixed when he got through with them.  Many people came to know him through his work.

He met Burton Glover and his family while working at Glover Auto and loved the family as his own, becoming good friends with them.  He followed Burt’s military career and visited him several times through the years.  He went to work at the family farm taking care of the farm equipment after retirement at Cunningham.  Most mornings you could see him stop at the 49 Market and get a bologna sandwich to take with him but giving most of it to the family dog.

Willie was an active member of the American Legion in Greenbrier and you could find him riding the floats in the parades as well as working at the Turkey Shoots they have each year as a fund raiser.  He also worked at the event when the Moving Wall was brought to Springfield Memorial Gardens and helped direct people to different sections of where someone’s name could be found.

In addition to the Legion he also was a lifetime member of the VFW in Clarksville and Greenbrier.  Willie was active in these brotherhoods and had many friends there.  Each had a great respect for the other and it was a great honor for Willie to serve.

Willie liked to travel and visited most of the wonderful United States in his lifetime.  The last trip he made was when he was 89 years old and he had heard a lot about Branson, MO so he decided he would visit to see what it was all about.  He drove there by himself and could not find a parking space, so he decided he would drive to Fort Hood, Texas to see how it had changed since he had been stationed there.   After he had seen Fort Hood, he drove to Florida to visit friends for a few days, left Florida and went to his niece’s house for a night or two, then drove on home.

After Willies passing his sister found a packed suitcase of his clothes that he had ready for a moment’s notice should the desire/need arrive for another trip.  The family knows he has gone on a great adventure in heaven only this time he didn’t have to pick up his suitcase of clothes.

Willie will forever be remember as a loving son, brother, husband, uncle and friend, but most of all a Hero to so many.

In addition to his parents, Willie is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dottie Bunn Ryan, brother, James Stanton Ryan, and sister Louise Marie Ryan Osborne.

He is survived by his brother Earl Edward (Sue) Ryan; sister, Shelby Jean (Reed) Ryan Mann; 10 nieces and nephews and a host of great nieces and nephews.

A Life Celebration will be held on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 11am with Brother Bob Carroll officiating. Burial will follow at Springfield Memorial Gardens with Full Military Honors. The family will receive friends on Monday, January 14th from 4-8pm then again on Tuesday from 10am until the time of service.

The family request donations be made to the American Legion Post 45 P.O. Box 160 Greenbrier, TN 37073 or VFW 2120 P.O. Box 788 Greenbrier, TN 37073.

These arrangements were entrusted to Springfield Memorial Gardens, Funeral Home and Cremation Center 4005 Memorial Blvd Springfield, TN 37172. 615-384-5437 www.springfieldfh.com

5 Comments to Willie Ryan

  1. Earl Ryan
    January 13, 2019 3:35 pm

    The third sentence up, last statement says (The family will receive friends on Monday, Jan. 14th. from 4-8 pm then again on Monday from 10 am until the time of service). This should read Tues. 10 am until time of service. Thank you and thought you might like to know.

    Thank you;
    Sue Claire Ryan

  2. Nancy Marrison
    January 13, 2019 6:07 pm

    This breaks my heart for Earl and Sue for I know how much Earl loved his brother. Shelby Jean you are in my thoughts and prayers too.

  3. Christy King -Hudson
    January 13, 2019 6:57 pm

    Mr.Willie has has been my neighbor since I was four years old we moved here then with my family when I was a little girl and then when I got married in 1993 I got to move next door to mr. Willie we purchase the house there I can say it was a not a better man at Mr wiilie he was always there for his neighbors and what do anything for any of us there was not a funeral that he did not go to there was not anyting he wouldn’t do if somebody was sick I remember very well three years ago when my daddy came down with cancer Wayne King every time mr. Willie would say me out headed to the hospital or daddy going anywhere he would stop and ask in detail how it was and give comforting advice or words I remember the day Daddy come home mr. Willie came up and talked to him which that wasn’t rare because on many occasions Mister we would be out walking up and down the street and he would always stop in up at Daddy and sit down and have a talk he will be very missed here in this neighborhood on the street as I look next door it looks dark and it doesn’t look the same I watched him go in many days as he left many early mornings headed to work or I would look over and see him coming in from the store with a small bag that he had or out just mowing the yard and he wouldn’t raise at hand up and wave at me there’s so many good things I could say about mr. Willie he never bothered anybody but I can’t say the last thing he said to me was when he was being taken away from the hospital or to the hospital and I said Mr wiilie how are you doing and I told him I was thinking about him and I remember the last time I saw him he waved bye to me and he said I’ll see you when I get back home but he did call me my name and I’ll never forget that memory there’s so many memories that could go oh no but I know we have lost a good true neighbor in this straight Thomas Court as well as a very good friend I know it now is with your Jesus and the good Lord in heaven and it peace but still here on Earth as I look over at the dark house next door I can’t help but missing and no he’s not there anymore Mister Willy you’ll be so sadly yest but I know you’ve been very sick and I know now there’s no more pain and you’re at peace God bless you until we meet again

    • Susan (Anna) Bryant
      January 13, 2019 7:59 pm

      Thank you so much for publishing this about my great Uncle. I know we will all miss him so much. He never ever missed anything important in my life and always cared so much for everyone. At 89, he drove to see me and always cared for us like no other. When I saw him this past weekend he sat straight up to talk, shook my husband’s hand strongly just like nothing was wrong, talked for a bit, told me he loved me back, and I told him to do what they told him, eat, so he could go home. He ate that night, first time in 2 days, he ate the next morning when I saw him. I asked him about his breakfast, to which he replied “well you know I always have to eat my breakfast as it’s the most important meal of the day.” Made me laugh. I know talking with him wore him out, but I was so grateful to have seen him and to have said my goodbyes. He loved his neighborhood and his home so much
      Heaven truly got an angel and I know he’s rejoicing up there waiting for all of us! We love you Uncle Willie!

  4. Alice , Sonny Robbie and Becky
    January 13, 2019 8:59 pm

    Shelby , Earl and Sue, we were so very sorry to hear this. We can’t be there with you all but know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. May you be comforted by the great comforter .
    Blessings and love

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