Vietnam Veteran Col. Edward Thomas Ryan’s Tearful Obituary Reveals Lifelong Secret in Albany, New York

In a moving and heartfelt obituary, Col. Edward Thomas Ryan, a decorated Vietnam veteran, revealed a deeply personal secret that he had kept for most of his life.

Ryan, who passed away at 85 from intestinal cancer in Albany, New York, shared that he had lived as a gay man in secret, even from those closest to him.

His final message, published in the Albany Times Union, touched the hearts of many and highlighted the struggles he faced.

A Hidden Life Revealed

Col. Edward Thomas Ryan served his country with honor, receiving numerous military awards, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Defense of Liberty Medal.

Despite his bravery on the battlefield, Ryan felt he could never reveal his true self due to fear of ostracism and possible court-martial.

“I must tell you one more thing. I was Gay all my life: thru grade school, thru High School, thru College, thru Life,” Ryan wrote in his obituary.

His nephew, Joseph Ryan, disclosed that the family was aware of Ryan’s sexuality and had met his longtime partner, Paul Cavagnaro.

However, Ryan never openly discussed it, reflecting his reserved nature and the societal pressures of his time.

A Loving Relationship

Ryan’s obituary also revealed his 25-year relationship with Paul Cavagnaro, describing it as the happiest period of his life. “I was in a loving and caring relationship with Paul Cavagnaro of North Greenbush,” Ryan confessed.

“He was the love of my life. We had 25 great years together. Paul died in 1994 from a medical procedure gone wrong.

I’ll be buried next to Paul.” This revelation painted a picture of a man who found love and companionship despite the fear of societal judgment.

Fear and Courage

Throughout his military career and life, Ryan feared the consequences of being openly gay. “I’m sorry for not having the courage to come out as Gay.

I was afraid of being ostracized: by family, friends, and co-Workers,” he recalled. “Seeing how people like me were treated, I just could not do it. Now that my secret is known, I’ll forever Rest in Peace.”

Joseph Ryan mentioned that his uncle’s fear of being court-martialed was a significant factor in his decision to remain closeted, as same-sex relationships were grounds for discharge for much of his career.

An Extraordinary Life

In addition to his military service, Ryan was a man of many talents and interests. He was one of the founders and owners of the local Albany radio station WGY-FM and served as a chef at the East Greenbush American Legion Post.

He was also a lifelong member of the Vietnam Veterans of America and a respected figure in his community.

Despite living in secret, Ryan made significant contributions to his community and maintained close relationships with his 14 nieces and nephews, who affectionately called him “Uncle Ed.”

Public Reaction

Ryan’s obituary resonated with many people across the country, garnering heartfelt comments and tributes.

One commenter praised him for his service and lamented that he had to live in silence, while another expressed hope that Ryan and Paul were reunited in love for eternity.

A third commenter described Ryan as a true hero who grew even braver by sharing his secret.

Chrissy Wills, who claimed to have met Ryan and his partner, recalled fond memories and described Ryan as a true gentleman who was a lot of fun.


Col. Edward Thomas Ryan’s life story, as revealed in his obituary, is a poignant reminder of the struggles faced by many LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly in previous generations.

His bravery in finally sharing his truth has touched many hearts and serves as a testament to the enduring power of love and the importance of acceptance.

As Ryan rests in peace next to his beloved Paul, his story continues to inspire and resonate with people around the world.

World News

TDPel Media

This article was published on TDPel Media. Thanks for reading!

Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn

Advertisement: Download Vital Signs App (VS App)

Advertisement: App Distribution)