Early Life and Career
Leo Ryan was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. Throughout his early life, his family moved frequently through Illinois, Florida, New York, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. He graduated from Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 1943. He then received V-12 officer training at Bates College and served with the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946 as a submariner.
Ryan graduated from Nebraska's Creighton University with an B.A. in 1949 and an M.S. in 1951. He taught History at Capuchino High School, and chaperoned the marching band in 1961 to Washington, D.C., to participate in President John F. Kennedy's inaugural parade. Ryan was inspired by Kennedy's call to service in his inaugural address, and decided to run for higher office. He served as a teacher, school administrator and South San Francisco city councilman from 1956 to 1962.
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“... goodness is of a modest nature, easily discouraged, and when much elbowed in early life by unabashed vices, is apt to retire into extreme privacy, so that it is more easily believed in by those who construct a selfish old gentleman theoretically, than by those who form the narrower judgments based on his personal acquaintance.”
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“It is a great many years since at the outset of my career I had to think seriously what life had to offer that was worth having. I came to the conclusion that the chief good for me was freedom to learn, think, and say what I pleased, when I pleased. I have acted on that conviction... and though strongly, and perhaps wisely, warned that I should probably come to grief, I am entirely satisfied with the results of the line of action I have adopted.”
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“There is a delicate balance of putting yourself last and not being a doormat and thinking of yourself first and not coming off as selfish, arrogant, or bossy. We spend the majority of our lives attempting to perfect this balance. When we are successful, we have many close, healthy relationships. When we are unsuccessful, we suffer the natural consequences of damaged and sometimes broken relationships. Children are just beginning their journey on this important life lesson.”
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