Tom Ryan’s shocking and unexpected passing: He will be missed

Tom Ryan at FloydFest
Tom Ryan at FloydFest
Tom Ryan at FloydFest

Tom Ryan, owner of Republic of Floyd, and a longtime asset to Floyd, died today of a massive heart attack while a rescue squad unit was transporting him to the hospital.

Tom had opened the store but wasn’t feeling well and went to a friend’s house for help.

The news hit all of us like a sledgehammer.  Tom was more than a store owner.  He was a businessman, a major player at one time in the area Chamber of Commerce, a writer who delighted fans with the Floyd County Enquirer, distributed via email and on the web, the one-time bartender at Pine Tavern and a promoter who brought many musical acts to the Pine and other venues.

He was also a good friend.

Tom was a character in every sense of the word and the Republic of Floyd was not just a shop to buy things but a stop during a visit to town to talk and catch up on what was happening in the area.

Often you could find him on the front porch of the Republic store, smoking one of his hand-rolled cigarettes and pontificating about the ironies of life in Floyd. Tom as a master storyteller, an observer of the absurdities of life, a writer and commentator with a sharp writing style and a biting sense of humor who cut to the quick, but never with malice.

Tom loved Floyd and the lifestyle here and many visitors as well as town regulars frequented his shop or enjoyed music at the shows he promoted at the Pine.

When I saw him on Friday, we discussed upcoming updates and changes to the Republic of Floyd web site as he filled out the vendor form for this summer’s FloydFest.  He had just returned from a trip south to visit his sick mother.  She died during the visit

He will be missed and Floyd will not be the same without him.

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10 thoughts on “Tom Ryan’s shocking and unexpected passing: He will be missed”

  1. That is very sad news indeed! Always loved stopping in the shop and seeing all things Floyd and some nice beers and wines! It was a mandatory stop when our friends were in town! RIP Tom, make sure to tell those great stories wherever you are!

  2. I LOVE this photo! Tom Ryan was a person who made you smile. If that was ALL one could say…it would be enough! What a great quality for any human being to have. I often laughed out loud when reading his easy, yet brilliant humor. Tom so captured the spirit of Floyd. I am saddened by this news, but he would not want us to be. Instead, Tom would probably like Floyd to throw a big party in his honor with a wild rock band playing.

  3. There never was another like Tom. He was forever a reason to cross the street, to join him on the porch and laugh about life. He saw through to the essence of things, be they people or situations – though isn’t it always people? There are so many more things I needed help withh, Tom. Now what am I going to do? I know you didn’t mean it but, well, you’ve just left a lot of people very, very sad.

  4. I worked with Tom in WV before he moved to VA…never met anyone quite like him..sounds like he found a home in Floyd, I’ve never been to Floyd but received his blog..I’m sure he will be missed. God be with you Tom

  5. Tom, with his excellent wit and unique personality, contributed greatly to the Floyd community. To quote Wilkie Collins, “Ask yourself if there is any explanation of your own life and death.” Farewell, dear Tom.

  6. Tom Ryan was truly one of a kind. He believed in me and stuck with me when few would.
    He was more than a good friend and Allie, more like a a really cool dad kinda guy.
    He always offered knowledge to help others.

  7. Tom was a friend indeed.I knew him and worked with him in W.Va.He was fun and brought a lot of joy to our life,a true manufactured home salesman,full of life and never a dull moment when he was around.Bless your memory Tom,you will be missed.

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