Tears of Joy for Ryan's Mom
It was Ryan who had brought Ginder into the family's life. Ryan, 15, was tinkering with a car in his mom's garage in 1987 when Ginder a neighbor, happened by and offered to help. The two became friends. "No matter how sick that kid was, I never heard him complain," says Ginder, who has three children from his first marriage. "He taught me a lot."
Jeanne's daughter, Andrea, 18, also had a hand in the romance. Last December the newly divorced Ginder asked his 16-year-old daughter, Shawn, to ask Andrea if Jeanne wanted to go on a date. A month later, Jeanne (who had met Ginder only in passing) invited him to an AIDS fund-raiser in Indianapolis.
"I hadn't had a dale in 10 years, but I was tired of going to functions all by myself," said the exuberant bride, who was divorced from Ryan's father in 1978. "I knew Roy was a good person because he was always so patient with Ryan."
By February the two were engaged. "I found myself wanting to spend a lot of time with her because we like the same things—movies and hot-rod shows," explained the groom, who added, "I'm very proud of her."
Ryan's presence was palpable at the emotional private ceremony. Many of the 200 guests were intensely loyal friends whom Jeanne (who still crusades on behalf of AIDS patients) had met in her travels. They ranged from Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas to gay activists and the doctor who had treated Ryan. Although Ryan's friend Elton John could not make it to the ceremony, he sent a telegram.
"She's a hero and a damn fine person, and he's a good man," said Donahue, who sipped banana punch at the reception in the church's basement Fellowship Room.
"The last time we were all together, it was a very sad occasion," said Jeanne's friend and neighbor Mary Baker. "This is much better."