John D. Leavitt-Ryder

August 14, 1942March 10, 2018

John D. Leavitt-Ryder, 75, of Rocky Hill, died peacefully on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at Sgt. John L. Levitow Veterans Healthcare Center. He was born on August 14, 1942, in Westerly, RI, the son of the late Charles and Helen Leavitt. John was a proud veteran serving our country four years in the United States Air Force and twenty years in the Connecticut Air National Guard, 103rd Airlift Wing (Flying Yankees) retiring as Master Sergeant. He served many roles in the CT ANG but most notably a military police officer. John was a police officer for the East Hartford Police Department for 35 years; his passion was helping people in need through police work; in the early years he walked the beat for many years and loved the close relationship with the community. He also was a narcotics agent for the Capital Region Task Force in Connecticut for two years. John was truly a “Leo the Lion” – outgoing, generosity of spirit and a zest for life. His signature good-bye to you always included “Carry On” in good and bad times – to remain calm, strong and prevail. He will be missed dearly by love ones and friends. John leaves his son, John Leavitt and his wife, Jennifer Leavitt and two children of Browns Mills, New Jersey, his two daughters Jody Leavitt of Winslow, Maine and Rachael Stanley and her husband James Stanley and three children of Maine. He leaves a brother, Mark Leavitt and his wife, Lynn Leavitt of South Windsor, CT, and a sister, Dona Witham and her husband David Witham of Cape Coral, FL. Family and friends may call at the Newkirk & Whitney Funeral Home, 318 Burnside Ave., East Hartford, CT on Friday morning, March 16th from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM with a service being held at the funeral home at 10:30 AM. Burial, with Military Honors, will be held in the State Veteran's Cemetery in Middletown. Please visit for online condolences and guest book.


  • Charles Leavitt, Father
  • Helen Leavitt, Mother
  • John and Jennifer Leavitt, Son and his wife
  • Jody Leavitt, Daughter
  • Rachael And James Stanley, Daughter and her husband
  • Mark and Lynn Leavitt, Brother and his wife
  • Dona and David Witham, Sister and her husband
  • Mr. Leavitt-Ryder also leaves 5 grandchildren to cherish his memory.


  • Calling Hours Friday, March 16, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, March 16, 2018

John D. Leavitt-Ryder

have a memory or condolence to add?

Leo Dolan

March 30, 2018

John was truly a great guy. We met in 1961 while stationed in Iceland in the Air Force. After the service, John went on the police department and I went to UMass and later moved to Atlanta. We took our real first vacation together on a two week trip by train through five European countries. What a memorable experience that was. Later, after I married and had two children, John flew to Atlanta and arrived at my home as Santa Claus with a bag full of wrapped gifts for both of my kids (ages 6 and 4) as well as for my wife and me. For my kids, John was bigger than life! They still talk about that Christmas and how exciting it was for them. That surprise visit was characteristic of John...always doing something to make someone else's life better. were a special friend. Always upbeat and a joy to be with. I will miss you but am comforted in having the priviledge to call you my good friend.

Tom Kriticos

March 16, 2018

Thank you for having our backs during bar rush at the Triple A Diner during the 70's and 80's. We could always count on you. Moreover, I will always remember you as a friend.


March 16, 2018

To Officer John Ryder’s Family, please accept my deepest condolence. John was a great guy and always willing to help anyone out. He did a great job serving the town of East Hartford. Officer Ryder Treated everyone fairly, and was the best Main St Foot Patrol Officer.

Joe Della Monica

March 15, 2018

John, you were a one of a kind in the Air National Guard. You brought laughter every where you went and always looked out for everyone else. Your Christmas parties at Bradley were legandary as were any TDY you went on. I remember Charlie bird and the mother beater that stole him in Savanagh and the limo rides through Hartford, I miss those days. The world is a little less fun without you here. Much love to you John and condolences to your entire family. Rest eternal my friend.

Marci Hamilton (Wrigley)

March 15, 2018

John was my first infatuation! Our Moms were great friends and I just loved hanging out with John when we would visit from MA. He was 9 years older than me and I just loved following him around as a little kid!
When we moved to California, I kept a picture of him in his Air Force uniform on my bedroom mirror!
Even though we lost contact many years ago, I know you were a great man.
RIP and God bless you John.

103 WSSF 103 WSSF

March 14, 2018

A very kind and caring man who taught us fun, teamwork and laughter.

103 WSSF