For­mer mayor ‘has left the build­ing’

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF REPORTER

Frank Ryan (OBE), the Mt Al­bert mayor who in later life was ar­guably bet­ter known as the fa­ther of ac­tor Lucy Law­less, has died.

An obituary pub­lished on Fri­day said Ryan died peace­fully sur­rounded by his wife Julie and their chil­dren.

He was born in Hamil­ton, sec­ond youngest of eight boys, and one of two sets of twins in the fam­ily. He worked as a real es­tate agent and in­sur­ance bro­ker, and in 1960 mar­ried Julie, a teacher.

In 1965 he be­came a lo­cal coun­cil­lor, and in 1968, with five chil­dren un­der the age of eight, he ran for mayor of Mt Al­bert.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2010 Stuff ar­ti­cle cov­er­ing the cou­ple’s 50th wed­ding an­niver­sary, he promised Julie that he would build a lo­cal library if he was elected, and he went on to beat the in­cum­bent Don Croot. He rep­re­sented Mt Al­bert un­til the 1989 amal­ga­ma­tion, at which point he be­came a coun­cil­lor. He was awarded an OBE the same year. He re­tired from pol­i­tics in 2001.

The Ryans, who were Catholics, had seven chil­dren: Lucy was the first girl af­ter four boys, and an­other boy and girl fol­lowed. In a mid-1990s in­ter­view with a women’s mag­a­zine, by which time Lucy was find­ing in­ter­na­tional fame as the star of Xena: War­rior Princess, Ryan said one of his hap­pi­est mem­o­ries was the happy rol­lick­ing games the fam­ily en­joyed in the neigh­bour­hood around their Mt Al­bert bun­ga­low. In 2006, when he was 73, Ryan un­der­went op­er­a­tions af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with bowel can­cer shortly af­ter re­turn­ing from a Caribbean cruise.

On Fri­day, Lucy Law­less posted a tweet farewelling her fa­ther, that started: ‘‘Ladies and Gen­tle­men, Frank has left the Build­ing.’’ Her mes­sage was retweeted 93 times and dozens of fans re­sponded with mes­sages of con­do­lence.

She also posted a trib­ute on Face­book: ‘‘O mio Bab­bino Caro! A won­der­ful hus­band, fa­ther and grand­fa­ther shuf­fled off his mor­tal coil today. So we cel­e­brate his life, his many kind­nesses and his public spirit­ed­ness. From hum­ble be­gin­nings, he made a sen­sa­tional job of it. He was lots of fun. Mayor of Mt Al­bert 1968-1990. Shine on!’’

A re­quiem mass for Frank Ryan will be held at 11am on Tuesday 11th July, at Sa­cred Heart Col­lege Chapel, 250 West Ta­maki Road, Glen­dowie, Auck­land.

LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY/STUFF

For­mer mayor of Mt Al­bert Frank Ryan died on Fri­day.

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