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Hero Down: St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Shelly Succumbs To Cancer

Potsdam, NY – St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office (SLCSO) Sergeant Ryan Shelly died on Aug. 19 after a battle against late-stage salivary gland cancer, according to his department.

The 45-year-old sergeant was diagnosed with stage 4 salivary gland cancer in late 2020, the SLCSO said in a Facebook post on Aug. 21.

He passed away at Canton-Potsdam Hospital on Aug. 19 while surrounded by his family, according to his obituary.

“Although we knew this day would come, we are truly devastated,” the SLCSO said. “Not only did we lose a member of our office, the world lost an incredible father, husband and friend. We ask that you keep the Shelly family in your thoughts during this difficult time.”

Sgt. Shelly served the sheriff’s office for more than 19 years.

The agency said he “was an absolute rock” at the department.

Sgt. Shelly was a Potsdam native who obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Norwich University in 1999, according to his obituary.

He then began his law enforcement career with the SLCSO.

“He was very passionate about the work and his fellow coworkers,” his obituary read. “Ryan was a man of integrity who was generous, loyal, service oriented, honorable, humble, and will be missed by the many people who knew him.”

Sgt. Shelly leaves behind his wife of 16 years, Joey, and his children, Ethan, Graham, Nora, and Marianna.

He is also survived by his parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and cousins.

Sgt. Shelly was laid to rest on Tuesday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ryan Shelly, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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