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That morning, Tobin, then days away from starting his senior year at Notre Dame, woke up early. After a quick shower, he stepped quietly out of his family’s home in Janesville, Wis.
Tobin headed to a nearby restaurant. For an hour, he and one of his favorite high-school teachers reminisced and laughed. They talked about Fighting Irish football and old friends.
After coffee, Tobin and his former teacher shook hands and Tobin turned toward home. As he neared his house, he spotted an ambulance and strange men on his driveway.
“The paramedics were already there,” Tobin recalls, and their grave faces signaled what they would soon tell him.
His father, Paul M. Ryan, age 55, was dead.
Tobin’s younger brother, Paul D. Ryan, nicknamed P.D. by his three siblings, was inside. Paul, then 16 years old, had found their father while Tobin was at breakfast.
P.D. was alone. Their mother, Betty Ryan, was in Colorado visiting her family. Janet, their sister, was away from home, as was Stan, their older brother, who was working for IBM in upstate New York.
Their father’s secretary had called the house, frantically asking whether their father, a prominent local attorney, was coming to work. There were clients at the firm and they were getting impatient.
Paul put down the telephone and strolled down the hall to check on his dad. “Even though he had probably been dead through the night, Paul tried to resuscitate him,” Tobin says. His brother, this carefree teenager who flipped burgers at McDonald’s, did not panic. He tried mightily to do something, Tobin says, but their father’s heart had stopped.
photo: Time: Exorcising Palin