Sheila Ryan passed away on January 20, 2013.
You can read a brief overview of Sheila’s life.
There’s a photo gallery with images from many years of Sheila’s life.
Some of Sheila’s family, friends, and co-workers spoke at her memorial service in February 2013:
There are several ways to browse our growing collection of images, stories, and Sheila’s publications.
Most of the items are grouped into these categories:
- Family Life: Chronicles her childhood, and then later her marriage and children.
- Civil Rights: Describes her involvement with the civil rights struggle in 1963-1968.
- Left Press: Reviews her work in the “underground” press of the New Left in 1967-1970.
- Middle East: Catalogs her activism and publications about the region in 1969-1991.
- Families With HIV: Covers Sheila’s work at the Special Needs Clinic in 1992-2012.
You can also browse material by year:
- 1945, 1948, 1950, 1957, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2012, 2013
Some good entry points are:
- Childhood photographs of Sheila and her siblings.
- The 1965 White House sit-in that Sheila helped lead during the crisis in Selma.
- The jailhouse interview with Sheila in the Washington Post during her six month term.
- Photographs from her wedding to George in Cape Cod during the summer of 1969.
- Inaccurate FBI files falsely claim Sheila was part of the Weather Underground network.
- A protest at the UN was organized by Sheila to protest US policy towards the Palestinians.
- Defending the LA 8, arrested in 1987 and eventually freed on First Amendment grounds.
- An article on children with AIDS describes Sheila’s work at The Special Needs Clinic.
- “Six Shots of Limoncello” features a story from Sheila about an Italian liquor.
The Ryan family in Braintree were our neighbors. When I was in the 4th grade, Sheila, Marnie and I would play school in the playroom next to their bedroom. I was a year younger than Sheila. We had so much fun I never realized how much French she taught me until I got to high school and got straight A’s for all 4 years of French. Although we grew up and went our separate ways, I have kept track of my old friends. I was so sorry to hear about Kathy’s passing, and for this wonderful tribute to Sheila I am grateful. She was a very special person. I’m sorry for your loss.
I came across Ms. Ryan’s story while researching my second thesis about the Catholic University during the Vietnam War. I believe that Ms. Ryan’s story needs more eyes amongst the current community at the Catholic University of America. I desire to write a story about Ms. Ryan’s life, activism and time at CUA for the student newspaper, with hopes to publish a longer form piece in the quarterly magazine. If someone from Ms. Ryan’s family would be willing to contact me and answer some questions about her life and work I would greatly appreciate it.
Many Thanks and Dearest Sympathies,
I am currently aiding a feature film director and University professor in the creation of an art exhibit that explores the March 11, 1965 White House sit-in of which Ms. Ryan was an integral part. If anyone would be willing to contact me to further discuss Ms. Ryan’s life, it would be very helpful. I thank you for your time and am sorry for your loss of this deeply noble woman.
Sheila Ryan played a huge part in my life. I was one of her patients when i was a child at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan NY. She work closely with my father and I who was raising me on his own. Today I was trying to look her up on the internet to invite her to my college graduation party. Finding out that she’s gone hurts my heart. She’s done so much for my father and I. Sheila, you will always have a special place in my heart. I love you and will never, ever forget such an extraordinary woman.
– Former Child Patient of Sheila Ryan