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William Fitts Ryan (June 28, 1922September 17, 1972) was an American lawyer and politician. He served as a representative from New York in the United States House of Representatives from 1961 until his death in 1972. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

He was born in Albion, New Yorkmarker. He attended Albion public schools for his elementary and secondary education. From 1943 to 1946 during World War II, he served in the United States Army in the South Pacific, as an artillery lieutenant in the Thirty-second Infantry Division. He graduated from Princeton Universitymarker in 1947, and two years later, in 1949, he graduated from Columbia Law School. That same year, 1949, he was admitted to the bar and began his practice. Ryan served as assistant district attorney in New York Countymarker from 1950 until 1957 and then again from 1957 until 1961. In 1961, he was elected to Congress as a Democrat, representing Manhattan's Upper West Sidemarker, and was elected five more times. Ryan was an early opponent of American involvement in the Vietnam War, being the first member of the U.S. House to speak out against the War; and was active in supporting civil rights. At the 1968 Democratic National Convention, he was chosen as a delegate from New York. Congressman Ryan championed the creation of a unit of the National Park Service from historic properties and significant natural resources in the hands of the federal government around the New York City metropolitan areamarker, with the intention of providing millions of local residents and visitors the opportunity to visit a unit of the National Park System who might never have the opportunity otherwise. The enabling legislation to create the result, Gateway National Recreation Area, was signed shortly after his death. He died in New York Citymarker and was buried in St. Thomas Church Cemetery in Croom, Marylandmarker.


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