New York Veteran Comes Out as Gay in His Obituary, Says He Can Now 'Forever Rest in Peace'

Col. Edward Thomas Ryan said he wished he had the courage to come out in his lifetime, but "was afraid of being ostracized"

<p>Hans Funeral Home</p> Col Edward Thomas Ryan

Hans Funeral Home

Col Edward Thomas Ryan

A veteran from New York can rest easy knowing his loved ones finally know his truth.

"I must tell you one more thing. I was Gay all my life," Col. Edward Thomas Ryan wrote towards the end of his obituary, which was published on Saturday, June 8, in the Albany Times Union.

He also shared that he was "in a loving and caring relationship" with a man named Paul Cavagnaro, whom he referred to as "the love of my life."

"We had 25 great years together," he wrote, sharing that his beloved "died in 1994 from a medical Procedure gone wrong" and that they'll be buried together.

As for why he kept such an important part of himself a secret, Ryan wrote that he was "sorry for not having the courage to come out as Gay."

"I was afraid of being ostracized: by Family, Friends, and Co-Workers. Seeing how people like me were treated, I just could not do it," he wrote. But, he added, "now that my secret is known, I'll forever Rest in Peace."

Related: My Coming Out Story

In addition to serving with the Army’s 10th Brigade, Ryan was a retired fireman in Rensselaer and one of the owners and founders of the radio station WHRL-FM in Albany, per his obituary.

His military service led to a litany of honors, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Defense of Liberty Medal for "participation to the State following the attack on America, 11 September 2001."

Ryan's body will be donated to science at the Anatomical Gift Program at Albany Medical College, according to the obituary. His body will then be cremated and his ashes returned to his loved ones.

<p>Hans Funeral Home</p> Col. Edward Thomas Ryan

Hans Funeral Home

Col. Edward Thomas Ryan

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"He will be buried in Kinderhook, N.Y," the tribute noted. "The funeral will be private for Family only with no Memorial Services of any kind."

Ryan had five siblings and is survived by 14 nieces and nephews, according to his obituary.

Related: YouTube Star Reflects on Coming Out to Dad in Viral Video with Twin: 'We're All So Much Closer'

On the online version of his obituary, many praised the man for revealing his truth.

"Col. Ryan I am honored that you finally felt safe enough to finally share your most intimate truth," wrote one individual. "Peace and glory to you."

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Added another, "You are a hero, in no simple terms! Thank you for all you did to provide help, care and love to people in need. If more people would understand, what an amazing world we would live in! Thank you for telling your truth. Rest peacefully sir."

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