I was happy to see a couple Letters in this morning’s Gazette partially criticizing their coverage of but mostly lamenting Neal Ryan’s tragic loss, killed by either bumping his head after being hit by a slow-moving car or dying from other medicinal problems triggered by the shock of the accident.
Kind of like arguing about what killed Benazir Bhutto, the assassin’s bullets or the bomb. Either way they are gone. And their respective communities diminished.
Because of his disability (that many saw as a gift) he didn’t’ drive, and when the PVTA buses were on reduced schedule Neal walked everywhere. This month of course, with the University and colleges on intersession, the buses barely run.
Neal joined the Amherst Athletic Club a few years ago to lose weight and reduce high blood pressure. He was always wearing headphones and could rattle of trivia associated with whatever artists he listened to. A 1982 graduate of Amherst Regional High School, friends said he was picked on for being older than fellow classmates and, even more, for liking Elvis.
On Thursday morning, the day of his accident, Neal unexpectedly came in at 6:00 am to exercise--and he worked hard. His personal trainer later told me that he had promised her he would add an extra workout to make up for slacking off the previous week.
A promise kept…a promising life lost.