Decorated Army veteran reveals lifelong secret in extremely powerful obituary

For his entire life, Col. Edward Thomas Ryan, 85, had been keeping a secret from those closest to him.

It wasn’t until his death that he revealed to his loved ones and the countless people who would eventually read his obituary his lifelong secret.

“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.

Although he always knew about his sexual orientation, Ryan feared “being ostracized: by Family, Friends, and Co-Workers.”

“Seeing how people like me were treated, I just could not do it,” he admitted before adding, “Now that my secret is known, I’ll forever Rest in Peace.”

Despite keeping his identity hidden, Ryan was able to enjoy a 25-year “loving and caring relationship” with a man he called “the love of my life.”

His love, Paul Cavagnaro, preceded him in death.


Joseph Ryan, the Vietnam veteran’s nephew, told the New York Post his uncle’s relationship was an open secret within the family.

“They would go on vacation. Once he did retire, he would take a month off, and they would just put down where they wanted to go, any place in the world,” he said. “So, we kind of knew, but he wasn’t one that would come right out and say anything … Our family isn’t one that tries to say anything about people.”

The decorated veteran chose to donate his body to Anatomical Gift Program at Albany Medical College. His body will then be cremated, and he will be buried next to Cavagnaro.

I had tears in my eyes reading Col. Edward Thomas Ryan’s obituary. This is exactly why we have Pride month.

Please share in honor of Col. Edward Thomas Ryan.


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