Featured Story

Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Ryah Diresta


Ryah Diresta, formerly Ryah Price Waldner, passed away on May 8, 2018. She was 43 years old.

A memorial service led by Father Charles McCarron was held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on May 12. Ryah is survived by her children Alec Salazar, Kathrine Salazar and George Weber.

Born in Pennsylvania, Ryah grew up on Shelter Island with her mother Kathleen McCaffery, adopted father Peter Waldner, brother Michael Waldner and sister Lindsay Waldner.

She left Shelter Island as a young adult and spent most of her life in Florida. Ryah faced many challenges in her life, including addiction, her family said. Over the past few years Ryah had started on a path to recovery and creating a better life for herself.

During this time Ryah developed a strong faith in God. She was given several jobs and responsibilities in the sober house where she resided. She even began the long and difficult process of reaching out to her family to make amends.

In June of last year, Ryah unexpectedly had to undergo open heart surgery with a 30 percent chance of survival. Ryah strongly believed that God had a plan for her and that there was a reason for her survival, her family said.

Shortly after her surgery Ryah moved back to Shelter Island to continue her recovery from surgery as well as her recovery from addiction. She used her time to continue working on her relationships with her family and reconnecting with old friends.

Ryah began living with her grandmother Dorothy Ross, where she spent her final months and the two became close. Ryah and her grandmother were able to heal old wounds and developed a special bond during their time together, her family remembered. She continued to face several challenges with her health and her recovery.

However, she continued to fight for her health and her life, her family said.
Ryah had a big personality and was remembered wherever she went. She was often considered unconventional, which she fully embraced. She proudly operated outside of society’s norms, her family remembered, wore her heart on her sleeve and was not afraid to share her journey with the world. She hoped being open about her personal battles would help others find strength to fight their own.

Ryah will be truly missed, her family and friends said. She touched many lives during her lifetime and will live on in the hearts of those who remember her.

While Ryah ultimately lost her battle with addiction, there are many still out there fighting their battles, her family noted. They asked those who would like to pay their respects to or honor Ryah, to donate to the sober living program that helped Ryah make major strides in her recovery.

Donations can be sent to Just For Today Sober Living, Inc., 923 S.W. 16th Street, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315. For more information,contact program director Nancy Williamson, at [email protected]