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Joseph R Giese


U.S. Marine Corps



Lance Corporal Ryan Giese exemplified the definition of a Marine, family members said. Loyal, loving and strong, Giese would have given his life for anybody he was with, said his mother, Connie Wascovich.

“He was the kind of person you could always depend on,” said Wascovich, who lives in a retirement community in Winder. “There’s not a doubt that he would have given his life for anybody he was with.”

The 24-year-old Giese will be laid to rest today at the Georgia National Cemetery following an 11 a.m. funeral at the First Christian Church of Atlanta. Giese was killed Jan. 7 while conducting combat operations in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. This was Giese’s second deployment. He also served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2008 to April 2009.

“The proudest day of his life was when he graduated from Parris Island,” Wascovich said. “He was so proud of being a Marine.”

Giese joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2007, after taking some classes at Georgia Military College. A native of Ohio, Giese grew up in Gwinnett County and attended Central Gwinnett High School before relocating to Las Vegas, where he earned his high school diploma. Before his deployment to Afghanistan, he lived at Camp Lejeune with his wife, Brittany, a graduate of Grayson High School. The two were married for nearly a year.

Brittany Giese said her husband would tell her that he would rather carry the weight of the world on his shoulders than have anyone else bear it.

“Everything that described a Marine is what he was,” she said. “He would sacrifice himself before anyone else could get hurt.”

But Ryan Giese also had a softer side. His wife said he had a great sense of humor and a smile that could light up a room. He enjoyed playing sports and video games and relaxing at home with his dog.

“He just enjoyed life,” Brittany Giese said.

Ryan Giese’s sister, Alison Leopard, said she’s proud of the man he became.

“He was a fine man,” Leopard said. “He was the kind of man who would cook and clean and do anything for anybody. He had such a short life, but he truly lived every day to the fullest.”

Leopard said her brother was such an inspiration that she named her daughter, Emery Ryan, after him.

Giese was also survived by his sisters Brandi Giese and Jennifer Madden, father Larry Giese and grandfather George Wascovich, as well as nieces and nephews, uncles, aunts and cousins. He was buried with full military honors at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton.

Lance Corporal Joseph Ryan Giese, we thank you for your service, are forever indebted to you for your sacrifice, and stand with your family and friends in respect, pride, sorrow, and gratitude for all that you have done. Your life has touched others throughout this world. You will never be forgotten. A wonderful video tribute made by the Giese family to their fallen hero can be viewed here…


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