Gerritsen Beach

Friends raising funds to pay for Xaverian grad’s funeral

Sean Ryan was struck and killed in Gerritsen Beach

July 21, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sean Ryan, pictured with his sisters Shannon and Allison, was planning to attend Iona College in the fall. Photo courtesy of Alison Lage
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A tragedy in Gerritsen Beach has brought that community together, with friends and neighbors joining forces to raise money to pay for the funeral of a 17-year-old boy who was struck and killed while riding his bicycle.

According to police, the victim, Sean Ryan, was riding his bike at the intersection of Gerristen and Gotham avenues at approximately 8:45 p.m. on Sunday when he was struck by a white Honda Accord driven by Thomas Groarke, 24.

Ryan was pronounced dead at the scene.

Groarke had a blood alcohol level that was more than double the legal limit, police said.  He was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

Ryan graduated from Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge just last month and had planned to study journalism in college.

Grief-stricken family members prepared to gather for Ryan’s wake at the Marine Park Funeral Home at 3024 Quentin Road on July 21 and for his funeral Mass at St. Mark’s Roman Catholic Church at 2609 E. 19th St. on July 22. Burial was scheduled to take place at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.

Alison Lage, a friend of the Ryan family, started a campaign on the GoFundMe website to raise money to help his parents, Lori and Jim Ryan, pay for his funeral.

“As you can imagine, the family is shattered. Sean was a wonderful person who had a great future ahead of him,” Lage told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Lage said the entire Gerritsen Beach community is coming together to assist the Ryan family, which has lived in the neighborhood since 2007.

The GoFundMe campaign “is doing beautifully,” Lage said. “People are being so generous. There are people who still haven’t been able to rebuild from Sandy who are donating to the Ryans.”

Gerritsen Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Large numbers of homes were flooded and are still in the process of being rebuilt.

As of Thursday, the campaign had raised more than $43,000.

Sean Ryan had two sisters, Shannon and Allison. Lage said he was planning to attend Iona College in New Rochelle in the fall. “Sean was funny, polite and respectful and will be missed by not just the Ryan family, but all of us,” a statement on the GoFundMe page reads.

A biography of Ryan on the Marine Park Funeral Home website stated that he planned to study journalism in college. He was also a big sports fan, according to the biography.

“He had a passion for all types of sports, especially his favorite football team, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish,” the biography reads in part.

For more information on the funding campaign for the Ryan family, visit


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