Bernard Ryan Jr.


Bernard (Bernie) Ryan Jr., 96, of Southbury, (formerly of Wilton), died on Jan. 3 in Danbury.

He was born in Albion, N.Y. to the late Daniel Bernard Ryan and the late Harriet Earle Fitts Ryan on Dec. 2, 1923. He was a graduate of the Albion schools, Rectory School, Kent School, class of 1942, and Princeton University, class of 1946. After college, he was a professional actor and then a TV/radio staff announcer and director for WCTC (N.J.), where he met his future wife, Jean Bramwell. They were married in Princeton, N.J. on Sept. 18, 1948. He also worked for WGR (N.Y.), WHAM-TV and WHAM (N.Y.).

Mr. Ryan was a Creative Supervisor for Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn (BBDO) from the 1950s into the 1960s and finished out his career as Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4 A’s). He was the author of such books as, “The Poisoned Life of Mrs. Maybrick,” “Tyler’s Titanic,” “The Poodle at the Poodle” and several biographies for teenage readers doing community services, among many others.

Mr. Ryan served as the President of the Wilton Playshop during the 1960s and took an active role in their productions. Bernie was also a founding member of Wilton Arts Council. He was the longest running class secretary for his Princeton Class of 1946 and was very attentive in his responsibilities. He was also a prolific painter and photographer.

Mr. Ryan was predeceased by his wife, his brothers, Rep. William F. Ryan and Dr. Hewitt F. Ryan, his sister-in-law Priscilla M. Ryan, and his grandson, Tyler Joseph Johnson, who was one of the victims in the shootings at The Mall in Columbia, Columbia, Md. on Jan. 25, 2014.

Mr. Ryan is survived by his daughters, Nora Ryan Johnson and Barbara Ann Ryan, his brother, Leonard Eames Ryan, his sisters-in-law Valorie V. Ryan, and Ann Allen-Ryan, his granddaughter, Anna Eames Johnson, his son-in-law, Howard Pratt Johnson Jr., and dear nieces and nephews and cousins too numerous to mention.

There will be a gathering of family and friends at a later date. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Tyler Johnson Memorial Fund:

Munson Lovetere Funeral Home assisted with the arrangements. To leave an online condolence for the family, please visit


Editor’s note: Mr. Ryan wrote a column for the Heritage Villager called “This ‘n That” from 2008 until 2014.