Rep. Leo Ryan eulogized as brave and compassionate


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Nov. 23, 1978 (UPI) - Eulogized by a fellow congressman as a man who "wanted to see for himself - with a readiness to go where suffering was," Leo J. Ryan was buried in a national cemetery overlooking the bay he loved.

In a 55-minute funeral ceremony in this city where Ryan first entered political life as councilman and mayor, a delegation of about 60 congressmen yesterday acted as an honor guard in services at All Souls Roman Catholic Church for the 53-year-old Democratic California congressman who died Saturday in an ambush at a jungle airstrip in Guyana.


Rep.. Jim Wright, D-Texas, the House Democratic leader, delivered one of three eulogies at the church ceremony attended by President Carter's son Chip, representing the White House, S.I. Hayakawa, R-Calif., San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, and members of the state Legislature in which Ryan once served for 10 years.

The funeral, as requested in Ryan's will -- he was a World War II Navy veteran -- was not a Catholic mass but a Navy memorial service including a homily by a naval chaplain and a choir singing the Navy Hymn.

Burial, under a gray chill November sky, was 3 miles from the church in the Golden Gate National Cemetery, where the honored dead include Adm. C.W. Nimitz, wartime Pacific naval chief.


Ryan's administrative aide and longtime friend, G.W. "Joe" Holsinger, said the congressman had indicated in his will he wanted to be buried in the national cemetery in San Bruno "so his ghost will be looking out over the bay he loved so much."

Holsinger joined Wright and retired naval chaplain Thomas Parenti in the eulogies at the church.

"Leo Ryan was a brave and compassionate man who fought his own fight and followed his own convictions," Wright said in the eulogy delivered before the flag-draped coffin beside which sat Ryan's 83-year-old mother, Autumn Ryan, his divorced wife Margaret and their five grown children.

Ryan had left nine days ago as leader of a delegation on a fact-finding mission to the Peoples Temple commune at Jonestown, Guyana. He and four others were slain in the ambush that led to the mass suicide of more than 400 temple members.

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