In Which Faith Did Jack Worship?
We know that Jack was reared in the Catholic Church. He attended grades 1 through 8 at St. Benedict Joseph Labre Catholic School in Queens, New York. His parents – and especially his mother – were very devout adherents of the Catholic Church. In fact, his mother is known to have wanted Jack to become a priest. To this day, Adherents.com’s list of Famous Catholics (http://www.adherents.com/largecom/fam_catholic.html) includes Jack’s name.
Two unsubstantiated comments made on Topix.com’s Top Stories Forum (http://www.topix.com/forum/topstories/TS3RL0K9C3BDOF9JG) indicate that both Jack and Marie worshipped in the Church of Christ Scientist:
1. “Actor Jack Lord of the CBS television show ‘Hawaii Five-O’ was a Christian Scientist. He was a ‘class-taught’
It seems possible, but has not been substantiated, that Marie was a Christian Scientist and that Jack converted to her faith while they lived in California, before moving to Hawai‘i.
We know that Jack owned several books on Christian Science, for they were sold as a part of his estate on Ebay. We also know that Marie’s brother, Florian DeNarde, and his wife were active Christian Scientists in Cleveland, Ohio. That information comes to us in a letter from Florian to Jack dated May 18, 1965, which sold on Ebay as a part of Jack’s estate and is quoted in part:
“Continuous Performance is the story of A. J. Balaban by his wife Carrie. She was a member of our church (9th)
for a time, he also was a C.S. and did attend.”
To remove speculation before it begins, we should not rush to judgment and assume that Jack died at the young age of 77 because of his association with the Church of Christ Scientist. A review of their ages at the time of their deaths show that Jack’s father, William Lawrence Ryan, died at the age of 79; his older brother, William Lawrence Ryan, Jr., died at the age of 64; his sister, Josephine S. Ryan, died at the age of 78, and his younger brother, Thomas H. Ryan, died at the age of 78; and his youngest brother, Robert G. Ryan, died at the age of 68. Only Jack's mother, Ellen Josephine O’Brien Ryan, lived to an old age, 102. Those who died young died of heart failure. No doubt, heart problems ran in the Ryan family. I should add that all members of Jack's family were Catholic and almost surely received medical care.