George Ryan

Born Feb 24, 1934

George Homer Ryan, Sr. was the 39th Governor of the U.S. state of Illinois from 1999 until 2003. He was a member of the Republican Party. Ryan received worldwide attention for his 1999 moratorium on executions in Illinois and for commuting more than 160 death sentences to life sentences in 2003. He was convicted of federal corruption charges after leaving office and spent over five years in federal prison.… Read More

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1934 Birth Born on February 24, 1934.


1954 20 Years Old Ryan was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1954. … Read More
1956 22 Years Old On June 10, 1956, Ryan married his high school sweetheart, Lura Lynn Lowe (July 5, 1934 – June 27, 2011) whom he had met in a high school English class. … Read More


1968 34 Years Old Ryan began his political career by serving on the Kankakee County Board from 1968 to 1973 (his brother Tom J. Ryan was Mayor of Kankakee for 20 years from 1965–1985).
1970 36 Years Old …  Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller also commuted the sentence of every death row inmate in that state as he left office after losing his 1970 bid for a third two-year term, as did New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya before he left office in 1986 and Ohio Governor Dick Celeste before he left office in 1990.
1973 39 Years Old He was then elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served from 1973–83, including two terms as Minority Leader and one term as Speaker.


1991 57 Years Old He then spent 20 years in statewide office, as Lieutenant Governor under Governor James R. Thompson (1983–91), Secretary of State from 1991 - 99, and as Governor from 1999 - 2003. … Read More


1994 - 2002 7 More Events
On January 11, 2003, just two days before leaving office, Ryan commuted (to "life" terms) the sentences of everyone on or waiting to be sent to Illinois' death row—a total of 167 convicts—due to his belief that the death penalty could not be administered fairly.
2006 72 Years Old 1 More Event
On April 17, 2006, the jury found Ryan and Warner guilty on all counts. … Read More
Ryan was ordered to go to prison on January 4, 2007, but the appellate court granted an appeal bond, allowing him to remain free pending the outcome of the appeal.
2008 74 Years Old 1 More Event
He was transferred on February 29, 2008, to a medium security facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, after Oxford changed its level of medical care and stopped housing inmates over 70 years old.
Ryan’s attorneys litigated the pension matter all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court who ruled February 19, 2010 that state law "plainly mandates that none of the benefits provided for under the system shall be paid to Ryan." … Read More
2011 77 Years Old On January 5, 2011, Ryan was taken from his prison cell in Terre Haute, Indiana, to a hospital in Kankakee so that he could visit his terminally ill wife. … Read More
Ryan was released to a Salvation Army halfway house in Chicago on January 30, 2013. … Read More
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