As 2013 began last January, Floyd County lost one of its most colorful citizens — Republic of Floyd owner, music promoter and Enquirer author Tom Ryan.
Ryan’s passing from a heart attack on January 12 started a year when Floyd County lost a number of citizens known by many.
The list includes Rio Semione, John Crow, Pat Finn and others. Local Pagan Bob “Bluto” Bauer apparently died by his own hand. Some died young. Many were older. All of the deaths, however, shocked those who knew them.
For some of us, Tom Ryan’s passing was an omen of a year to come when too many would leave this earth before their time.
Tom was a character in every sense. His Republic of Floyd was more than just a shop. It was a place to visit and catch up with happenings around town.
Often, visitors would find Tom sitting on the front porch of the store on Locust Street, smoking one of his hand-rolled cigarettes and pontificating about the ironies of life in Floyd. He was a master storyteller, an observer of the absurdities of life, a writer and commentator with a sharp style and a biting sense of humor. He could cut to the quick but the barbs weren’t handed down with malice.
He loved Floyd but tried to hide that appreciation behind humor and sarcasm.
The Republic of Floyd continues, taken over by a group that includes Oddfellas co-owner Kerry Underwood and town mayor Will Griffin.
Tom Ryan, and the others who left us in 2013 are missed but they are not forgotten.