Former Roselle Park Mayor Helen Katherine Ryan passed away on Monday, February 22, 2016.
She was born Helen Knorowski in Carbondale, Pennsylvania – 20 miles northeast of Scranton – on January 26, 1922. She was one of 16 children of John and Katharine Knorowski.
Helen Knorowski married John Ryan and they co-founded Ryan Inc. in Union Township which has expanded and still in existence (link), in 1937. Mrs. Ryan was a resident of Roselle Park for almost three-quarters of a century.
Mrs. Ryan was Roselle Park’s mayor for two terms from 1987 to 1994. She is only one of two women to serve as the head of the borough’s municipal government. Previous to that, Mrs. Ryan was elected and served as Council-At-Large from 1985 until she took the office mayor after winning that election in November of 1986. She was known as the ‘Marrying Mayor’ for the numerous couples she joined in marriage while mayor. She was also an advocate for senior citizens, having turned 65-years-old on the same month she was sworn in as the borough’s government leader. During her time as mayor, the Roselle Park Municipal Complex at 110 East Westfield Avenue was dedicated in 1989. It had previously been located – as Roselle Park Borough Hall – at 317 Chestnut Street. Additionally, Michael Mauri Park on the corner of Grant Avenue and Chestnut Street was named after the first Casano Community Center director.
She was a member of the Rosary Society of the Church of St. Joseph the Carpenter in Roselle.
She is survived by her sons John (along with his wife Marilyn), Michael, Patrick (along with his wife Gabrielle), Sean, and Timothy (along with his wife Kathy) as well as 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Arrangements have been made for those wishing to bid farewell to Mrs. Helen Ryan at Sullivan Funeral Home located at 146 East 2nd Avenue in Roselle (link). Visiting hours are today, February 26th, from 4 p.m. till 8 o’clock in the evening.
The funeral for Mrs. Ryan will be at the Sullivan Funeral Home tomorrow, Saturday, February 27th, at 9 o’clock in the morning. A Funeral Mass will follow at 10 a.m. at the Church of St. Joseph the Carpenter (link) one block away at 160 East 3rd Avenue in Roselle. Interment will follow in St. Gertrude Cemetery located at 53 Inman Avenue in Colonia, New Jersey.
In lieu of flowers, it has been requested that a donation be made in her memory to:
St. Jude Tribute Program
Post Office Box 1000
Memphis, TN 38148-0142
Helen Katherine Ryan
(January 26, 1922 – February 22, 2016)