Former Springfield Mayor Charlie Ryan has died

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Former Springfield Mayor Charles (Charlie) Ryan has died.

Ryan served as Springfield’s mayor twice, first from 1962 to 1967, and then later from 2004 to 2008. The former Springfield mayor will be most remembered for his accomplishments while in office including his contributions to the Springfield Library system.

“Well his honesty, his sense of humor, his ability to get along with everyone, just a fantastic guy. I was fortunate enough to marry his sister, so for many years I was sitting in the shadow of my big brother-in-law. But I loved it, everything that he did,” said Former City Councilor Paul Sears.

From his many admirers 22News spoke with mourning his loss, there emerged the portrait of a public servant of uncommon qualities.

“Certainly as a man who believed passionately in whatever he believed in, so often for the good of the city of Springfield. He was completely indominable, what he thought was important for the city of Springfield,” said Springfield Political Consultant Tony Cignoli.

Close family friend Barbara Garvey, a former City Councilor, remembers what made him unique in the political world, “Charlie was the epitome of an honorable politician, he was never ashamed of that word. He just had no meaning other than the most integrity that could possibly be assembled in one person.”

Current Mayor Domenic Sarno issued a statement saying:

“Very sorry to hear about the passing of former Mayor Charlie Ryan.  My sympathy, thoughts, prayers and encouragement go out to his family and dear friends. He was a man of family, faith, and City. I had the pleasure and honor to really get to know him as we worked together during some very trying and challenging times in our City’s history – where we became friends. He was a gentleman of unquestioned integrity who never lost faith in our Springfield. He manifested a very shrewd mind with compassion. He had a long and illustrious career that trekked back to the early 1960’s and then made a comeback in the early 2000’s. 

One of the many highlights that I believe he would be most-proud of, was his legacy and efforts to save, enhance and help thrive our Library system. For that, I am and our City are ever grateful for his steadfast and dedicated efforts. 

On a humorous note, he did love when I used to say, he negotiated ‘one hell of a deal with Andrew Carnegie for our Library’s’ – I would also respectfully and affectionately call him the ‘Godfather of our Library system’. He has completed a journey well lived of giving back to make for a better City of Springfield. 

Now he’s being welcomed by his beloved wife Joan in Heaven.  May God rest his soul.”

Springfield Mayor Sarno

Ryan lost the re-election in 2007 to then City Councilor Domenic Sarno.

Ryan offered Sheriff Cocchi a rare endorsement in 2016 after they met at the former mayor’s country home in Worthington.

“Sitting across from Mayor Ryan enjoying a hot cup of tea will forever impact my life. It was at that moment that I understood being a public servant is not about being appointed or elected to a position, but rather about being selfless and serving the people for the betterment of the community. And I was honored to earn the support of Mayor Ryan, who led the city through some of the most difficult times,” Sheriff Cocchi said. “He understood the value of giving people second chances and opportunities they may not have had growing up. That’s what our sheriff’s office is all about. Charlie was a family man, a political legend and a friend, and he will be dearly missed. My prayers are with his family in this difficult time.”

Ryan was predeceased by his wife Joan in 2015, together they had 11 children.

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