A man described as an exemplary professional, loving younger brother, championship winning sports player and proud driver of a Chevy Suburban was laid to rest Friday afternoon surrounded by hundreds of Manhasset mourners.
At the Church of Our Savior, Lutheran, the funeral of Ryan Kiess garnered laughs and tears from faculty of the Manhasset schools, the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department, friends and family of the only son. He was 25 years old.
Nicole Kiess is Ryan’s older sister, though she acknowledged how her brother’s more senior appearance might have confused some.
“I looked up to his relationships with his friends, his zest for life, his love for food, his loyalty, his humor, his charismatic smile,” Nicole Kiess said to funeral attendees. “He was perfect.”
The wake, held just a few blocks west of the church on Northern Boulevard a day earlier, was where mourners waited for hours on the sidewalk to pay their respects and show support for the Kiess family.
“The outpouring of love and support – I can’t even put it into words,” Nicole Kiess said. “Obviously, these past couple of weeks have been horrible, to say the least. We wouldn’t have been able to get by without every single one of you.”
Ryan Kiess was one of five people killed in a head-on car collision in Quogue three weeks ago. Police say an oncoming vehicle veered out of the two-lane Montauk Highway, striking the for-hire vehicle occupied by Kiess and two other Manhasset brothers.
“I think the both of us feel extremely lucky to be from such loving and kind communities that instill these insanely deep roots in their values,” Nicole Kiess said.
“Ryan had life figured out,” Nicole Kiess said. “Every aspect of his life was fulfilled and then some. And as a big sister, I think that’s everything you could ask for your younger siblings.”
Kiess, an ex-volunteer firefighter for Company 2 of the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department, began his three years of service in 2013. The department posted photos of his service on Facebook after his death.
“He was a fearless firefighter, who was dedicated to serving our department, company and his community,” Colin Sauvigne, secretary for Company 2, said in a statement to Blank Slate Media. “He will always be remembered at Company No. 2 as a fellow brother and we express our deepest condolences to his family and the families of the other victims in this tragedy.”
After the funeral service, Ryan Kiess’ body was escorted by a Nassau County police, Hempstead police and Port Washington police motorcade to Nassau Knolls Cemetery for a private burial. James and Michael Farrell, the two Manhasset brothers also killed in the crash, were laid to rest there a week earlier.
“Thank you for taking me to Taco Bell for the first time, for killing all the bugs in my room, for protecting me, for always making me laugh,” Nicole Kiess said. “And most importantly, thank you for saving Bri.”
Brianna Maglio, 24, the sole survivor of the crash, was Ryan’s girlfriend and the love of his life, according to his father. A police report from late July listed her in in critical condition.
“He loved to tease his sisters,” said Kurt Kiess, Ryan’s father. “You know how grandparents or parents always give their kids money, gifts, Christmas, whatever it might be? Let’s say everybody got 200 bucks, Ryan would open his envelope and say, ‘Look, I got 350.’”
Ryan was a lover of all things Long Island, according to his father. Among an extended list of items, Ryan loved Christmas dinner at the Peter Luger Steak House, the North Hempstead Country Club, fantasy football, traveling and chicken parmesan.
“Ryan loved watching sports,” Kurt Kiess said. Though he had a TV in his room, “he would come downstairs and we would watch golf, the Jets, the Mets, the Islanders.”
Not just a lover of watching sports, but also playing them. Ryan was an accomplished lacrosse athlete having played Division III lacrosse for all but one year at the University of Scranton, his alma mater.
And though Ryan was an avid golf and hockey player, Kurt Kiess affirmed his son’s love of the teammates he played with. Games could be won and lost, but his son always loved his teammates.
“Ryan had a life of love, and a love of life,” Kurt Kiess said. “God bless James and Michael, their families. Pray for Bri, rest in peace our son. Ryan, we love you, forever. Please hug your kids.”
Correction: Due to incorrect information from police, an earlier version of this article misstated Brianna Maglio’s age. She is 24, not 22.