I’d like to believe I am pretty good when it comes to finding the words when it comes to paying tribute to someone I truly liked, respected and admired.

However in the case of Timothy E. Ryan it was a comment made by someone else to his daughter Erin on a Facebook post that truly hit the nail on the head. She wrote, “As you and all those who knew and loved him know one thing for sure: he had an EZ-pass through the Pearly Gates…Exit Heaven”

After an incredibly long battle with leukemia Tim Ryan passed away this week at the age of 68 and the true loss is to those who did not know him because he was simply one of the true good guys and gentleman that I have had the pleasure of knowing in my lifetime.

Many know him as owner/senior director of the six Ocean County funeral homes that bear his name.  Others might know him from his involvement in local politics. He was a councilman in Seaside Park and a few years ago ran for Freeholder in Ocean County.  Unfortunately being a Democrat did not bode well and he was well into his fight with leukemia during the campaign.

However it’s likely that more people knew Tim personally or knew of him for a lifetime of philanthropic endeavors, a list that would take much more time than I have.

Let’s start with the fact he embraced his Irish heritage so being honored as Irishman of the Year by several organizations was truly special and hit close to home.  However many others honored him as well from the VFW to the Boy Scouts all because he not only lent his name to charitable causes but his heart as well.  At the end of the day his heart was his greatest asset.

Tim was a member of the Community Medical Center Board of Directors and numerous professional groups for funeral directors and devoted considerable energy during his lifetime to his catholic church and many other charitable ventures.  Truly Ocean County has lost one of its most respected citizens and like others I have lost a dear friend who was always there when needed.

A few years ago when my dad passed away rather suddenly I had no idea what to do. Actually I did as I called Tim who was in Florida and he simply assured me not to worry as he would make sure everything was taken care of.  (In full disclosure he called Erin who took care of everything).

Tim leaves behind his devoted wife Denise, daughter Erin, his sisters Mary and Alice and his faithful 7-year old therapy dog Brody.  He also leaves behind a legacy of integrity and courage that will truly be hard to match for years to come.