ImageCongratulations to Mr and Mrs Ryan for achieving 50 years together; it's quite a feat in this day and age (my parents celebrated their 50th in July as well!). You can see from the photo where Lucy gets her megawatt smile from :)

The following article was in Auckland Harbour News 10 September 2010

Stalwarts say love and respect the golden key

Mutual love and respect keep Frank and Julie Ryan going strong, as does their commitment to Mt Albert.

Last month, the former mayor and mayoress of Mt Albert celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary surrounded by family and friends at their daughter, actress Lucy Lawless' home, for a party that was "bigger than the wedding".

"It was a great celebration. It was so good to see the cousins all together. It was a lovely party full of loud talkers," says Mrs Ryan, who has seven children and 16 grandchildren with her husband.

"It makes me wonder, `Where has the time gone?'," Mr Ryan says.

Mr Ryan was born in Hamilton and is the second youngest of eight boys. As one of two sets of twins, his mother died when he was 10 months old.

"There was nothing easy in those days," he says.

Mrs Ryan, with three sisters and three brothers, moved to Auckland from Kaitaia for university and met her future husband at her flatmate's 21st birthday in Epsom.

"It was a rainy night and he ploughed up the landlord's new lawn in his car when he left. Well the next day he came back with a packet of seed so I thought that was a bit of all right."

"She noticed my good looks," Mr Ryan says.

"And I guess she realised I wasn't such a bad old boiled egg after all."

Mrs Ryan was teaching at Mt Roskill Grammar School and Mr Ryan was a real estate agent turned insurance broker when they married in 1960 in Kaitaia's St Joseph's Church. They spent their honeymoon in Paihia and Orewa before settling down in Mt Albert.

In 1965, Mr Ryan became a local councillor and in 1968, with five children under the age of eight, he promised his wife he would build a local library if he was elected mayor of Mt Albert.

"That was the pay-off for me," says Mrs Ryan.

Mr Ryan beat incumbent mayor Don Croot and represented Mt Albert until the 1989 amalgamation.

Following that, he became chairman of the transition board and has always been in favour of the one-city concept.

He retired from politics in 2001.

"After 36 years in local government I've seen a lot of things happen. And this time around with the cost of things, it's a bit bewildering what politicians are going to try to do."

A lot of progress was made during the Ryans' time in Mt Albert's hot-seat including the building of Mt Albert Library, the aquatic centre, pensioner housing and a senior citizens' hall.

Mrs Ryan was also busy with the Mayoress Welfare Committee that ran a furniture store, and together the couple attended many bowling club openings, wedding anniversaries and other social events.
Ad Feedback

But the secret to their golden marriage is no secret, says Mrs Ryan.

"He's very good natured, but I don't let him get away with anything."

Mr Ryan agrees. "It goes both ways. She not only helps me, she helps everybody," he says. "Base your marriage on love and respect first, and the rest will fall into place."


Article submitted by Barbara Davies