Nfld. & Labrador

'There's nothing she'll ever need': Family promises support for girl who lost parents, brother in crash

Michael Ryan, 41, Paula Ryan, 35, and Michael Ryan, 11, died Sunday when their SUV collided head-on with another vehicle on the TCH.

Funeral services Thursday in Southern Harbour for husband, wife and their 11-year-old son

Michael Ryan, 41, Michael Ryan Jr., 11, and Paula Ryan, 35, died in a head-on collision Sunday evening on the Trans-Canada Highway near the Bellevue exit. Funeral services are planned for Thursday in Southern Harbour. (

A young girl who lost both parents and her brother in a deadly collision Sunday on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula will have a secure and loving future, says her grieving aunt.

"There's no other outcome for her," an emotional Cathy Parsons said during a phone interview from Southern Harbour on Tuesday.

"There's nothing she'll ever need or want for because we're here for her."

Coming home from weekend tournament

Three members of the Ryan family — Michael, 41, his wife Paula, 35, and their 11-year-old son Michael Jr. — were killed Sunday evening when their SUV collided head-on with another vehicle on the TCH just west of the turnoff to Bellevue.

The 18-year-old female driver of the other vehicle, a resident of St. Lawrence, also died.

Michael Ryan and his namesake son, Michael Jr., both loved softball. (Facebook)

The Ryans were returning to their home in Conception Bay South from a weekend youth softball tournament in Clarenville when the collision occurred.

Their 13-year-old daughter Rachael was not travelling with the family, and is now dealing with an unimaginable loss, said Cathy, one of Michael's sisters.

"We have to be able to help her move on, so you really don't have a choice right now so as a family you come together, and you support her and you love her," Parsons said, adding that Rachael has a large extended family on both sides who will do whatever it takes to help.

Michael and Paula Ryan were killed in the vehicle collision on the TCH near the turnoff to Bellevue in August. (Facebook)

One of the first, and most difficult steps, will be saying good-bye.

That will take place Thursday during funeral services in Southern Harbour, Michael's hometown.

"We're just so devastated right now," said Cathy.

A softball family

Michael Ryan was a man with "lots of buddies" who worked installing rebar at the Muskrat Falls site in Labrador, while Paula, originally from Northwest Brook near Clarenville, was a popular employee at Home Hardware in C.B.S.

They were a loving couple who were very dedicated to their children, said Cathy, and softball was a big part of their lives. Both parents coached, and Paula was known to favour the social media tag #softballmom.

"He loved that Mikey loved [the game] as much as him," Cathy said of her brother.

Police are still investigating the fatal accident on the Trans-Canada Highway west of the Chapel Arm exit on Aug. 28. that claimed the lives of four, including three family members from C.B.S. (Hope Green)

Michael Jr. was about to start Grade 6 at Villanova junior high in C.B.S.

When asked about her nephew and godson, Cathy could barely contain her emotions: "Mikey was an 11 year old boy who loved ball. He loved hitting the field, whether for practice or a game. He loved Xbox with his friends. He definitely had his own style. Mikey had his own clothes style. He loved to have his hair a certain way. He was his own person, one hundred per cent."


Terry Roberts is a journalist with CBC's bureau in St. John's.