George Ryan Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of ...

Posted: Feb 19, 2018 4:44 PM
Updated: Feb 19, 2018 4:44 PM

Here is a look at the life of George Ryan, the former governor of Illinois who served time in prison after being convicted on racketeering, conspiracy and fraud charges.

Personal: Birth date: February 24, 1934

Birth place: Maquoketa, Iowa

Birth name: George Homer Ryan

Father: Thomas Ryan, pharmacist

Mother: Jeannette Ryan

Marriage: Lura Lynn Lowe (1956-June 27, 2011, her death)

Children: Nancy; Lynda; triplets Julie, Joanne, Jeanette; and George Jr.

Education: Ferris State College, B.S., 1961

Military service: Army, 1954-1956

Other Facts: Worked as a pharmacist in his family's business.

"Our capital punishment system is haunted by the demon of error -- error in determining guilt, error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die," Ryan said in a speech announcing the blanket commutations.

The 163 men and four women whose sentences Ryan commuted were convicted of killing more than 250 people.

Timeline: 1968 - Serves as chairman of the Kankakee County Board.

1972 - Is elected to the Illinois House of Representatives.

1981-1983 - Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.

1983-1991 - Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.

1990 - Becomes secretary of state under Governor Jim Edgar.

November 3, 1998 - Is elected governor of Illinois.

January 11, 1999 - Takes office as governor.

January 31, 2000 - Calls for a moratorium on executions, "until I can be sure that everyone sentenced to death in Illinois is truly guilty."

August 8, 2001 - Rules out running for re-election because of a scandal over bribery.

October 2002 - Orders the Illinois Prisoner Review Board to hold two weeks of clemency hearings for almost all of the death row inmates. He does not attend the hearings.

January 11, 2003 - In one of his last acts as governor of Illinois, Ryan commutes the sentences of all 167 inmates on Illinois's death row.

December 17, 2003 - Is indicted on federal charges of taking payoffs, gifts and vacations in return for government contracts and leases while he was secretary of state.

April 2006 - Convicted of racketeering conspiracy, fraud, and other offenses for taking payoffs from political insiders in exchange for state business while he was Illinois secretary of state and governor.

September 6, 2006 - Is sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for racketeering, conspiracy and fraud for taking payoffs while in office.

November 7, 2007 - Ryan reports to the Federal Correctional Institution Oxford, Wisconsin to begin serving a 6 1/2 year prison sentence.

February 28, 2008 - Is transferred to Terra Haute FCI in Indiana. New rules prohibit the Oxford facility to house inmates older than 70.

November 25, 2008 - Ryan appeals for clemency in a letter to President George W. Bush. He is backed in his clemency appeal by Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Bush leaves office on January 20 without granting Ryan clemency.

December 12, 2008 - Ryan apologizes for the crimes he committed in office as part of his bid for clemency. He says, "I want to make things right in my heart with God, with my family and with those I have hurt...As a former public official, a husband, a father and a grandfather, I apologize."

February 7, 2009 - An Illinois appellate court rules that Ryan is eligible for part of his state pension, an estimated $65,000 a year. The pension will cover the years he worked in the state legislature and as the lieutenant governor. The Illinois Attorney General plans to appeal.

February 19, 2010 - The Supreme Court reverses the appellate court decision stating that Ryan is not entitled to any of his state pension.

June 27, 2011 - Ryan's wife Lura dies after suffering from terminal lung cancer. Ryan is temporarily released from prison so that he can be with her during her final hours.

January 30, 2013 - Is released to home confinement to complete the rest of his sentence.

July 3, 2013 - Is released from home confinement.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2085477

Reported Deaths: 52953
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings27746810323
Queens2743149851
Suffolk1995063381
Nassau1823433162
Bronx1814066532
New York1369214455
Westchester1288642268
Erie884341778
Richmond740651812
Monroe668651075
Orange47883810
Rockland46673955
Onondaga38098671
Dutchess29194444
Albany24445350
Oneida22271505
Niagara19704362
Broome18367357
Saratoga15123166
Ulster13777251
Schenectady12999200
Rensselaer11114140
Putnam1054191
Chautauqua8814141
Chemung7560135
Oswego744690
Ontario731192
Steuben6786143
Sullivan655272
St. Lawrence651596
Cayuga622192
Jefferson594267
Wayne566067
Cattaraugus561287
Genesee5357123
Herkimer5110107
Clinton480733
Madison447788
Livingston438158
Fulton434491
Tompkins425051
Montgomery4206123
Columbia4013101
Cortland376660
Tioga370262
Warren359057
Wyoming351752
Allegany344084
Chenango340976
Otsego340247
Greene336977
Washington309155
Orleans305683
Lewis271134
Franklin251812
Delaware232037
Seneca198256
Schoharie166317
Essex157726
Yates116826
Schuyler103314
Hamilton3072
Unassigned11743
Out of NY0237
Utica
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 71°
Oneonta
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 67°
Herkimer
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 63°
Old Forge
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 71°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve