Ryan Nicole Falconer was born May 11, 2002, in Atlanta, Georgia. Ryan was Michelle and Walter Falconer’s third child of four. Ryan completed elementary school at The Children's School, followed by middle and high school at Woodward Academy, where she met some of her closest friends with whom she forged bonds that will endure forever. As a senior during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan was a proud member of Woodward Academy’s Class of 2020. Ryan’s independent spirit led her to Howard University, where she began a major in Human Behavior in the Fall 2020 semester.
Despite our culture’s tendency toward self-criticism, Ryan was extraordinarily self-confident and deeply proud of who she was. She didn’t just say that she was the favorite—of her parents, brothers, maternal grandmother, coaches, teachers, and cousins—Ryan was CERTAIN that she was everyone’s very favorite Falconer (she was not wrong). This deep sense of pride was not only directed towards herself, Ryan constantly radiated love and acceptance toward others. She was a loyal friend, a caring daughter, and a kind sister. Truly, Ryan was the glue that held her friends, immediate family, as well as extended family together. Whether engaging in “me-time,” watching anime with friends, or traveling the world, Ryan was the light of every room she entered.
With broken hearts, we were forced to say goodbye to Ryan whose life was just beginning to unfold. On the evening of October 27, 2020, Ryan became one of the 1 in 4,500 children with epilepsy a year who pass away from seizure disorders. Though her passing was unwanted, unexpected, and deeply sorrowful, it is impossible to deny the deeply principled life that Ryan led. Ryan leaves with us a message about the love and grace that can spring from deep self-love, unyielding authenticity, and unbridled independence.