Matthew Edward Ryan

Joliet | Monday, September 13 2010

Matthew Edward Ryan lost his battle with non-hodkins lymphoma on Monday, September 13, 2010 at RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale.

Moving to Joliet in 2004, Matt Ryan served as Chief of Staff for the Will County Executive, Larry Walsh until his passing.  Included in the community, he worked closely with the Joliet Chamber of Commerce, the Center for Economic Development, the Rialto Square Theatre, Easter Seals, Cornerstone Services, the 911 Board and the Joliet Development Arsenal Authority.

Ryan became active in politics in his teens when his uncle ran for city treasurer in Alton in1972.  In 1977 Ryan managed his uncle's reelection as city treasurer.  He also helped develop the winning strategy for Paul Lenz' reelection as Mayor of Alton after Lenz was disqualified from the ballot because of petition deficiencies.  The election was one of the largest write-in victories for a city of Alton's size, which was 40,000 at the time.

In 1980, Matt was an area coordinator for David Robinson who ran against Paul Findley for the 20th Congressional seat.  The campaign staff for the Robinson team included David Wilhelm, Rahm Emanuel and Forrest Claypool, all of whom went on to prominent roles as Democratic campaign advisors. In 1982 Ryan joined Senate President Phil Rock's staff and was elected as President of the Illinois Young Democrats in 1984.

Ryan joined the Joliet area in 1992 when he managed the successful campaign of US Representative George Sangmeister. Ryan signed on with the Paul Vallas for Governor campaign as the campaign manager in 2001. The state-wide campaign resulted in the closest Democratic primary race in more than 25 years despite being outspent 3-1 by an incumbent Democratic Congressman.

Matthew and his wife, Angela Welsh met at the state capitol and married in 1993.  He is survived by his wife Angela; parents Robert and Mary Jane (Yenny) Ryan of Godfrey, IL; sister Susan (Jim) Martin, nieces Anne and Tess Martin of St. Louis, MO; sister Kathleen (Dave) Lang, niece Leslie Lang of Atlanta GA.

Visitation services will be held Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  at Blackburn­-Giegerich-Sonntag Funeral Home, 1500 Black Road, Joliet, IL.  Ryan will then travel to Alton, IL for visitation services Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Gent Funeral Home in Alton.  A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Alton. Father Peter Donohoe will officiate.  Burial will be at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Godfrey.

Online guestbook and information may be found at

Obit Provided By:
Gent Funeral Home

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