My father passed away in the wee hours of the morning today. His last week was a valiant struggle against multiple health problems: COPD, a broken clavicle and a collapsed lung. He was 82 years old and frankly his release from this world was a blessing.
I have a terrible need to do something, say something. So, I will do my best here.
My Pops grew up very poor in Louisiana yet he rose in ranks consistently through his service in the Navy, which included a stint in the US Embassy in Venezuela, then on to several executive positions in companies like Memorex and Avantek. Somewhere along the way he reached the level of Vice President - this from a country boy whose high school graduating class consisted of eleven kids. He never went on to college.
He cut out of the corporate world at the age of 49 and became Lord of “The Property”, the 40 acres my folks brought outside Sutter Creek, California when I was just a kid and turned into a hilltop residence over the years. He bulldozed away many a day, on his DC8 Caterpillar, mending roads and spotting rattlesnakes until my mother and he took up garage saling which led to an overflowing garage of their own and ultimately a business. The pair have been in the antique business for the past 23 years.
He was an ordinary guy, blessed with smarts and charm. He had a 63-year love affair with my mother, Nancy, that began with a declaration on the day he met her that he was going to marry this girl. He wrested her away from her date that day and never looked back.
I’m sure that the remembrances that will be spoken over the next few weeks will be varied and cover many aspects of the man I knew as my Pops. The one shining thing I would hold up in his memory is his ability to forbear, to never give up and fight the good fight until the end.
As other authors will understand – here are a few “tags” for my Pops: handsome, honorable, patriotic, committed, athletic, country, lovable, flirt, romantic, smart, stalwart…
Fred Tully Bryant – Dec. 25,1929 to July 9,2012 - A Life Well-Lived