William Jennings (Bill) Bryan was born on March 10, 1926, in Ft. Worth, Texas, to William Jennings Bryan and Virgie Inez Bryan. He passed away on August 5, 2019. He was 93.
The funeral took place on Thursday, August 8, in the Chapel at Guntersville Memorial Chapel with Rev. Bill Millican and Rev. Billy York officiating. He was entombed in Brookwood Mausoleum.
In lieu of flowers the family suggest donations to Hospice of Marshall County-Shepherd’s Cove or Guntersville First United Methodist Church.
He married to Christine Hewitt on June 8, 1947. He is preceded in death by his wife. She passed away in 2016.
He is survived by his two daughters, Dr. Lori Denise Bryan of Guntersville and Sharon Kilpatrick (John) of Ellijay, Georgia, and several nieces and nephews.
He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. He was a cancer survivor.
He enjoyed gardening and generously shared his plants with friends.
He was a plant manager for Continental Grain/Wayne Feeds. Over his career, he was transferred to the following cities: Ft. Worth, Texas; Guntersville (twice); Gainesville, Georgia; Selma, North Carolina; Alden, New York; and Cordele, Georgia, prior to retirement.
He was passionate about travel.
He visited the island of Patmos where St. John wrote the Book of Revelations. He visited Aldergate Church in London where John Wesley preached and the parsonage where he lived, which is now a museum.
He witnessed student demonstrations in Dublin, Ireland. He walked the original Olympic track in Olympia, Greece, where ancient games began in 776 BC. He walked the track in Berlin, Germany, where in 1936 Jesse Owens was the first American to win four gold medals in a single Olympiad.
He won a dance contest in Budapest and walked the bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand (not the original one). He rode by the Czech Embassy when Shirley Temple was an U.S. Ambassador there.
He tried to straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but had no luck. He toured the building, including the Hall of Mirrors, in Compiegne, France, where the World War I Armistice was signed.
He fell on a marble staircase in a cathedral in Cartagena, Colombia. “Busted my upper lip, but didn’t hurt the staircase,” he said.
He visited the Forbidden City in Beijing and the famous Terra Cotta Army in Sian, China. He visited the USS Oklahoma Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
In Fiji, he watched a funeral procession from church to cemetery. The casket rode on the shoulders of eight pallbearers all the way between the church and the cemetery. Everyone present was dressed totally in white which was a stunning contrast to their black skin, he said.
He enjoyed high tea at Captain Cook’s ranch in New Zealand. He passed through the Panama Canal in 1945 and then again in 1977.
He visited 46 states of the 50 United States.
He toured Ephesus, where the apostle Paul preached. He rode the “Norway UPS” ship from the Atlantic to the North Sea. He left with more money in his pocket in Monte Carlo casino than what he arrived with.
He was passionate about church.
At South Hill Christian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, he was a Sunday school teacher in the primary department, an usher, an elder, a member of the official board, and a chairman of evangelism committee.
At Guntersville First Methodist church, he served as an usher, a greeter, a trustee, and reorganized the Joe Starnes Sunday school class and served as first president.
At Selma Fist Methodist in North Carolina, he served on the finance committee and was chairman of administrative board.
aAt Alden First Methodist in New York, he served as the finance chairman.
As part of his civic services, he was a member of the Toastmasters Club in Marshall County, a worship master at the Tabernacle Masonic Lodge in Forth Worth, a member and president of the Selma, North Carolina, Kiwanis Club, worked on the Red Cross and United Way drives in Guntersville, and was chairman of the United Way Advisory Board in Guntersville.