In Loving Memory of

Ryan John Gallant

June 17, 1977 - October 20, 1996

My son Ryan was nineteen. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed, he was considered a good-looking kid. Ryan was a rodeo cowboy who grew up riding steers, then bulls, and finally broncs. All those years I spent worrying about the animals hurting him, when he himself was the one I should have worried about.

We had a very close relationship, he and I. That last summer Ryan talked of many things, songs he would like played if anything hahing happened to him, the kind of funeral he wanted, and most ominous, he told me he didn't expect to live a long time.

Ryan had a lot of friends, they all liked to party and have a good time. The issue of drinking and driving came up often. I would be telling him never to drink and drive. He would be telling me not to worry. I did a lot of that that summer. His sisters and brother talked to him all the time too, about being more careful. To no avail. On October 20, 1996, Ryan left the hotel. That was the last time anyone saw him alive. Seven miles out of town, where the hairpin curve is, Ryan went over the cliff, plunging down two hundred feet to land upside down in the creek bed. I can only hope that he had fallen asleep, and never knew what had happened.

I will never get over this. My message is to never drink and drive. I would like to hear from other parents in a similar situation, perhaps we can help each other. It's been eighteen months now, and I still can't believe it. Why, I'm sure he was here just this morning. I heard his favorite song. As long as I live, I will never forget him.

~Joanne

A son, so loved
A brother, kind and generous
A friend, forever true
A spirit, always by our side

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