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George Joseph Ryan, Jr.

August 2, 1948 ~ October 11, 2021 (age 73)

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George J. Ryan, Jr., 73, born in Toledo, OH, of Catholic faith, passed peacefully Monday, October 11, 2021.

George, who was affectionately known as Ryan, graduated from Central Catholic High School in Toledo Ohio and then from Bowling Green University. Ryan retired from Delta Airlines where he traveled the world. He was predeceased by his parents, Dorothy and George Ryan, Sr., and twin brother from birth. He is survived by his husband, Keith Kirkland; brothers, Patrick of Ohio, Timothy (Ann, Jessica, Chris) of Louisiana; special cousin, Judy Pheatt (Bob Wendt); and nieces, Tami Kirkland Partin and Stephanie Romer.

Words cannot describe how much this man was loved and how incredibly important he was to everyone. He was the patriarch of our chosen family. He was everyone’s family. He never met a stranger, and he always made you feel treasured. His laugh was contagious, his greetings were the warmest, and his smile lit up any room. Ryan could be bossy and snarky, but it was always in good fun, and he loved to have fun. He sang off key and danced like a fool, but he didn’t care so long as we were having fun. 

He had great taste and he knew it. He knew when something was a treasure, that’s why he had so many treasures, a literal store full at Ryan & Co. And he held court at that store, chatting with friends and customers alike, and then he held court at dinner commanding an entire back room at Cancun on “family night”. He brought strangers together and introduced everyone to some of the most wonderful people one could know. 

George Ryan was a treasure and we were absolutely blessed to have him in our lives. We will miss him more than any words could express.

Friends and family are invited to convene on Sunday, October 24, 2021 from 1:00pm-6:00pm at Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel (5301 Fountain Road, Knoxville, TN 37918). Guests may stop by anytime that afternoon to pay respects and gather with Ryan’s loved ones.

In lieu of flowers the family will honor Ryan's legacy by requesting we all live our lives to the fullest. Remember, Ryan always said "Life is like a carousel, so you'd better enjoy da ride!"

Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Ryan family and invites you to view and sign the online registry.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of George Joseph Ryan, Jr., please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for George

We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel & Crematory

Join in honoring their life - plant a memorial tree


Call at Convenience
October 24, 2021

1:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel
5301 Fountain Road
Knoxville, TN 37918

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