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Subject: Speaker Matthew J. Ryan, second-longest serving member of the Pennsylvania House

dead at 70
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Date Posted: March 30, 2003 5:03:49 EDT

Ryan, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year, died late Saturday at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, surrounded by his wife, Delaware County Court of Common Pleas judge Patricia H. Jenkins, and five children, said Roger Nick, Ryan's chief of staff.

"I think everybody considers him Pennsylvania's elder statesman," Nick said Sunday. "He was just a brilliant man, respected by both sides of the aisle."

Ryan died of complications related to cancer, his staff said. He was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia Feb. 14.

Ryan, a Republican, was first elected in 1962. He won a two-year term as speaker in 1981, then was elected to the post again in 1995 and for each term since then. In 1999, the Capitol Annex was renamed the Speaker Matthew J. Ryan Legislative Office Building, a rare honor for a living legislator.

Ryan was particularly interested in education issues and the budget process, said House parliamentarian Clancy Myer, who had worked with Ryan since 1995.

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