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Obituary: John W. Bryant

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Nov. 9, 2016

John W. Bryant passed away at home on Thursday evening, November 3, 2016, with his wife, Gayle, by his side. John attended local schools and was a graduate of the 1958 Burlington High School class. John lived most of his life in the New North End, and married his high school sweetheart, Gayle Rivers, in 1961. He was a consummate salesman and loved traveling the roads of Vermont, New Hampshire and northern New York selling to small country stores. John was employed by Almor Co., Preston Wholesale, and Dowling’s companies. In his later years, John worked as a merchandiser for Warner-Lambert, Pfizer and others. He was an athlete having played semi-pro baseball, fast and slow pitch softball as a pitcher, and bowled most of his adult life. He enjoyed coaching Babe Ruth baseball teams with his son, Jeff. He had just qualified for bowling’s senior professional tour when his balance became so affected he had to stop most activities. John was a member from childhood of the First United Methodist Church in Burlington and while living in New York of the Ogdensburg First United Methodist Church. John served in the Vermont National Guard, and was a longtime member of the Elks BPOE 916.

John is survived by his wife, Gayle; sons: Jeffrey, wife Lori and daughters Caitlyn and Shea of Burlington; Stephen, wife Jamie, daughters Emma and Raia, and son Jonah of Vergennes; Michael of Cape Cod, Mass.; and adopted son, Richard of Lafayette, Indiana. He is also survived by his sister, Carolyn Bombard of Colchester, his loyal brother-in-law Barry Rivers of Burlington, sister-in-law Barbara Rivers of Alburg, special cousin, Diane Sticka of Ohio who brightened his last few years, and extended family. John was predeceased by his parents, grandmother Margaret Hickey, aunt and uncle Walter and Jane Hickey, cousin Donald Hickey, much loved mother-in-law Evelyn Rivers, and brothers-in-law Daryl Rivers and Harold Bombard. Special thanks go to Melody Leach of Burlington for her long friendship and companionship the last few months; Toni who taught John cribbage, the VNA hospice team including RN case managers, Penny, Kelly, Emily, and Chris, and Melissa who was our weekend support for the last months of John’s life. John appreciated the care and compassion they showed him and the support and guidance they gave Gayle to support his wish to stay at home.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, November 11th at 1:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Burlington to be immediately followed by a reception in the church fellowship hall. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. Burial will be at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Compassionate Care ALS, P.O. Box 1052, West Falmouth, MA 02574.