Edward Ryan, an early partner of 84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy, and the founder of Ryan Homes, died from a stroke on June 1. He was 88 years old.
According to an obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ryan started building homes one at a time after World War II, where he served as a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. (Ryan was shot down over Germany and spent time as a POW, for which he received the Purple Heart.) As his home construction company grew, he teamed up with boyhood friend Joe Hardy and opened a lumberyard in Upper St. Clair, Pa., called Green Hills Lumber.
Ryan later decided to concentrate on the home-building business, and Ryan Homes became one of the nation’s largest production builders. Ryan Homes is now part of NVR, which operates in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
Meanwhile, Hardy took over the lumber business and renamed 84 Lumber after its new location, according to the Post-Gazette. 84 Lumber is now a $1.43 billion company with 258 locations.
Before and after his retirement, Ryan was active in a number of charity and relief efforts, including the rebuilding efforts in Homestead, Fla., following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Once again, he teamed up with Hardy and opened an 84 Lumber store there to bring more jobs and building materials into the area.