Ryan O’Shea, who graduated from South Side High School last June, died on Jan. 11 after he was hit by a train at Rockville Centre’s Long Island Rail Road station. He was 18.
In a statement to the Rockville Centre community, the O’Shea family wrote, “You have all taken on a little piece of the unbearable grief in our hearts and helped us carry it over the past week. With all your love, you have helped us give Ryan back to God in the most beautiful way anyone could ever imagine. We are so blessed to live in a community that has come together for the love of each other.”
O’Shea was a standout forward on the Cyclones basketball team. As a captain his senior year, he led the team in scoring and rebounding, and was named a first-team All-County selection.
“He put his team on his back to get us into the playoffs,” said varsity head coach Jerry D’Angelo, who coached O’Shea during his junior and senior seasons, noting that he averaged nearly 22 points per game over the team’s last seven games in his final season for the Cyclones. “Great kid, definitely our loss. Hopefully we remember him, continue to make him proud and work as hard as we can.”
D’Angelo said O’Shea’s love for basketball was matched by his desire to help others. He noted his players’ participation each year in Hoops For All, a local basketball program for children and teenagers with special needs. “Just seeing Ryan’s interactions with someone with Down syndrome or someone with autism, he’s special like that.”
He also came to offer assistance at an event held several weeks ago, D’Angelo added, during which players in Rockville Centre’s middle-school, junior varsity and varsity basketball programs came together to work on their game. “He just loved helping,” he said.
O’Shea is survived by his father, John, president of the Rockville Centre Board of Education; his mother, Mary; and brothers John, Liam and Griffin. Visitation was held at Towers Funeral Home in Oceanside on Sunday, and a funeral Mass took place at St. Agnes Cathedral on Monday. A private cremation followed the mass.
“I pray to God that as life takes us all back into our daily routines that we can all always remember the beautiful smile and those loving gestures that our beautiful boy Ryan gave so freely, and pay it forward,” the O’Sheas wrote. “What a beautiful world it could be.”
For those in need of support, the Long Island Crisis Center’s 24/7 hotline can be reached at (516) 679-1111.