Cover photo for Ryan Thoresen Carson's Obituary
Ryan Thoresen Carson Profile Photo

Ryan Thoresen Carson

d. October 2, 2023

Ryan Thoresen Carson

Ryan Thoresen Carson, 31, of Brooklyn, beloved son, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend, died tragically on October 2, 2023, as the result of a homicide. 

Ryan was outgoing, energetic and had a generosity of spirit which earned him bands of devoted friends wherever he went. As a young person, Ryan enjoyed spending time in the conservation area near his home in East Bridgewater, MA, as well as exploring hikes further afield alone or with friends. 

Ryan’s first home was in Humarock, MA, where his bedroom had a view of the South River and he developed a lifelong love of the water. He attended Holy Family School in Rockland and graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School in 2010, where he played football, sang in the choir and enjoyed performing in musicals.

Music was a significant aspect of Ryan’s life. In his childhood, Ryan frequently welcomed friends to his home where he played guitar and invited others to play drums and piano. While attending his first stadium concert at age 15, Ryan was pulled on stage to sing with the Dropkick Murphys–and, following his performance, crowd-surfed his way back to his seat. Ryan had a love for all types of musical styles and an appreciation of each musical genre.

Ryan’s passion for social justice stemmed from his Catholic education and family ethos. During his sophomore year at Pratt Institute, at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Ryan organized a student-led march over the Brooklyn Bridge to secure health insurance for adjunct professors. Ryan felt it was essential for citizens to understand the profound impact of issues like corporate influence on government and intergenerational wealth inequality. He worked to disrupt systems that perpetuate the negative aspects of American life, advocating in solidarity with people who are marginalized and calling attention to the need for a more equitable society. 

As Ryan grew in his dual vocations as an activist and poet during his years at Pratt, he also led an exciting social life, hosting raucous rooftop parties at his apartment and becoming a fixture in the Brooklyn punk scene through his internship at the DIY venue Shea Stadium. As Ryan worked with bands like Titus Andronicus and the So So Glos, he made many like-minded friends with whom he voraciously attended countless concerts and shows. Nonetheless, he never forgot his friends from Massachusetts and made frequent trips back home in addition to introducing them to his new friends in Brooklyn. Remarkably, in between all these demands, Ryan graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA with Highest Honors in Writing in 2014. 

Ryan was a gifted poet and published several chapbooks, and his poems were featured in numerous literary magazines. Most recently, his work focused on collaborations with visual artists. Frequently addressing themes like activism, climate change and New York City, Ryan’s poetry is a testament to the deep love he had for his family, friends and community. 

In 2021, Ryan marked the five year anniversary of a friend’s death and sounded the alarm about record-breaking overdoses by founding NO OD NY. Ryan highlighted the success of the harm-reduction model of overdose prevention and walked 500 miles from NYC to Buffalo during the month of July. By partnering with directly impacted communities and building a statewide coalition with established organizations, Ryan reignited stalled negotiations with the governor and, in the fall of 2021, two overdose prevention centers launched in NYC. Subsequently, Ryan continued to educate about harm reduction at his alma mater, Pratt Institute. At the same time, Ryan worked as an environmental advocate at NYPIRG, where he served in many capacities of increasing responsibility for more than a decade and most recently was leading the statewide campaign to expand and modernize New York state’s bottle deposit law. Ryan inspired a legion of young people to become involved in their communities, and often instructed people who aspired to follow in his footsteps that organizing begins with a knock on a neighbor’s door. 

Ryan leaves in his wake devastated family, including his parents, Kenneth Carson and Marybeth Thoresen; his grandmother Jean Dalton; aunts and uncles John Thoresen, Patricia Baldner, Annette (Nancy) Kulesza, Brian Carson, Katie Carson, Paul Carson, Alicia Carson, Howard Dalton, Crystal Dalton, Kathryn McGarvey, Christine Carson; cousins Paul Carson, Jr., Zachary Carson, Timothy Dalton, Stephen Dalton, Robert Dalton, Andrew Dalton, Meghan Dalton, Carrie McQuade, Marc Baldner, Christine Kulesza, Katrina Baldner, David Thoresen, Dawn Schwarzkopf, Alicia Brennan, Susan Baldner, Nicole Woodrum, Rebecca Kulesza, Taylor Baldner, Madison Ryan, Brittney Thoresen, Jason Thoresen, Elizabeth Kulesza, Ava Baldner, Andrew Brennan, Aiden Baldner, and Liam Brennan. Sadly, Ryan was preceded in death by two cousins, Joshua McQuade and Matthew McQuade. He will be missed by too many friends to count, the people whose lives he changed through his advocacy work, strangers who have heard his story and been moved, and a world that he fought to make more just.

Father James Hickey, who provided support to Ryan and his mother when Ryan’s father was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002, will celebrate Ryan’s life in a Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 9 a.m. at Holy Family Church in Rockland. Visiting hours will be Tuesday, Oct. 10, 4-8 p.m. at the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home (809 Main Street in Weymouth). Donations in Ryan’s memory can be made to the harm-reduction organization OnPoint NYC or to a memorial scholarship fund at Cardinal Spellman High School.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ryan Thoresen Carson, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visiting Hours

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

McDonald KeohaneFuneral Home - South

809 Main Street, Weymouth, MA 02190

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Funeral Mass

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Starts at 9:00 am (Eastern time)

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