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Ryan Realbuto heartbreaking story

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On Thursday evening January 18, my precious nephew Ryan Realbuto was walking home from a Holy Hour and social gathering at his church with two of his friends when he was shot and killed. While they were walking, a car pulled up, a man got out and asked for money and when no one could produce any cash, the person shot Ryan. His roommate pressed on his wound and called 911, however Ryan died shortly after at a local hospital.

Having overcome developmental delays growing up, and a continued struggle with auditory processing issues and vitiligo, Ryan spent his too short of a life serving others in need.

In 2023, he graduated Cum Laude from St. Bonaventure University. Upon graduating, he moved to Washington D.C. to begin a one-year opportunity working with The Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps. The organization places volunteers in underserved communities, concentrating on education, social services and health care. The group’s motto is “living simply,” and the volunteers each get a small monthly stipend and live in a communal residence, sharing the highs and lows of their day, learning of the cycle of poverty from each other’s experiences, and how to break it. Ryan was assigned to Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, a Catholic college-preparatory school just outside D.C. that helps at-risk students in a work-study program.

Ryan thrived doing any sort of community service. He was not motivated by making large sums of money, but instead found joy being able to help people in need.

Ryan's love for community service began at an early age when he was active in the Youth Group at Church of the Transfiguration in Pittsford. In 2019, he graduated from Pittsford-Mendon High School where he was an active member of the Interact Club and served on the club’s leadership team. He logged more hours of service than any of its members during both his sophomore and junior years.

Ryan truly did have a caring heart and helping hands. He had a special concern for young people with disabilities and assisted at many Special Olympics events including the State Winter Games in Rochester. In recognition of his service, he was asked to represent his club at the the groundbreaking ceremony for the Golisano Training Center at Nazareth University in June, 2018.

Ryan had a gentle soul and was a kind human being filled with nothing but innocence. Our hearts are completely broken by this devastating loss. All that Ryan was trying to do was help people in need and his precious life was taken by senseless violence. Ryan was too good and unique a human being to be remembered for the pain left by his absence.

We are raising money for my sister, Janet, and my brother-in-law, Pippo, to be able to cover the unthinkable, completely unplanned costs of his medical expenses as surgeons tried desperately to save his life, the transportation of getting Ryan's body back to Rochester, legal fees they will incur throughout the investigation, and the funeral costs of burying their son. These are overwhelming costs no parent could ever be prepared to pay on top of grieving their loss.

Our hearts are completely shattered and the pain we feel is one that cannot be described.

Your love and concern are so greatly appreciated.

I recognize that the amount raised is getting quite high. My family is humbled by this pouring out of support.
What you are witnessing here is THE POWER OF RYAN.
While I do anticipate that my sister and brother-in-law's unnecessary costs born out of this heinous crime will be exorbitant, we will better learn the exact magnitude of their financial burden over the next several months.
In the unlikely event that there are funds left over they will be donated to Ryan's favorite causes in his name, which will be a continuation of Ryan helping people in need even with him no longer here.
With the heaviest of hearts and appreciation of your love,
Ryan's Aunt Lynn

UPDATE 1/28/24
Below is a link to Ryan's funeral Mass. We invite you to sit back and pause to view this beautiful Funeral Mass or the special, powerful moments listed below the link:

*** Some of the music during the funeral was actually Ryan singing (recorded when he sang in the Choir). Especially meaningful is him singing You Raise Me Up before the procession began. That starts at 11:10 min into the recording.

*** My nephews' Eulogies at 1:18 of the recording were simply unbelievable.

*** At the end of Ryan’s funeral, a heartwarming surprise occurred. The Franciscan Friars deemed Ryan an Affiliate, meaning he is now part of their Capuchin Franciscan family without having taken their vows. This is a designation given to people who they consider family members though they are not Friars. Ryan will be recorded in their books and will have a day in their calendar designated to him. This is the greatest honor my nephew could have ever received and can be found at 1:52:20 into the recording.

*** Father Rob's beautiful, personalized thoughts at 36:00.

*** Bishop Matano's powerful message can be found at 1:36.

UPDATE 1/31/24
Many have asked my sister for Ryan's obituary. It can be found here:



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Lynn Fenicchia
Pittsford, NY

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