Obituary Mike Bryant

Obituary

Michael Leslie Bryant

August 30, 2017

 

Michael Leslie Bryant, 55-year-old lifetime Worland resident peacefully returned to his Heavenly Father at his home surrounded by his loving family on August 31, 2017.

Mike was born on May 21, 1962 to Robert Adrian (Bob) and Denise Lyn (Denny) (Kimzey) Bryant. He was the last baby to be born in the hospital which was located where Washakie County Library is currently.  As an infant his senses were acute, his first memory was literally watching his brother come into focus while holding him.  This began a life of intense love and sense of belonging with family. Growing up, he was one of the three “toe-head” boys who ran around the neighborhood with at least 10 other little boys.  They ran from sun-up, came home for lunch then off again until tummies would protest it was time for dinner. Miker (as his dad called him) never fought against a good nap.  Many an afternoon there would be someone desperately trying to find him, all the while he was curled up in his bed fast asleep. When he was in kindergarten, he wanted so much to be like his brothers who had paper routes.  Don saw the desire and decided to cash in on it.  Mike would deliver his papers, while he (Don) would visit with the customers and collect the money.  Mike caught on quickly though and by first grade was delivering his own paper route. Mom and Dad knew that he would be gone all evening when it was collection time though, because Mike always would stay to visit for “a while” with each of his customers.  It was here that Mike was honing his ability to leave those he met feeling just a little bit better about themselves.

He was no different from other little boys growing up in the 60’s, he loved his wrist rockets, swimming all summer in Sanders Park, climbing into the tree house, crab apple wars and a few other things that we won’t go into detail. His family knew that if Mike was missing…and wasn’t found sleeping…they could find him at the bowling alley, bowling, eating French fries or playing on one of the shooting games. A nickel would just burn a hole in his pocket until it found a slot to go into.

As Mike grew into a teenager, new joys entered his life.  The opportunity to work with his dad and brothers in the honey business. Some nights the boys would stack extra beehives at the shop and their dad would reward them with a Root Beer Float at A & W.  Bob took great pride in teaching his boys the value of hard work and the greater value of enjoying that work.  Summer evenings you would find the family at the baseball field. As he began high school, football became a love for him.  Though he was smaller than some of the team, his determination usually found the other guy on the ground quicker than expected. He grew to love automotive classes and also home economics classes.  He would be working on an engine one day and finish sewing a down jacket the next. Classmates say he was nice to everyone, it didn’t matter which “group” you were with, Mike just had a way of making everyone feel more valued.

Following his graduation in 1981, he met Yvonne Sova who would later become Mrs. Michael Bryant. After a wonderful summer together he felt the need to serve his church by serving a mission to help others find Christ. He served in the San Diego, California mission.  After being in that California sun he was quickly nicknamed Elder “Pinky” as his normally fair skin took on a bright red glow.  After serving his mission, he returned home.  Love was rekindled with Yvonne and the two were wed in the Jordan River Temple, West Jordan, Utah.  The couple lived in Salt Lake working for Deseret Mortuary as Mike attended LDS Business college, obtaining two degrees in the same year, a business degree, but before he finished with that he gained a degree in fatherhood when their first child, Tandy, was born.  Turns out he excelled in both degrees.  He then returned to California with his family to get his mortuary science degree. Once again, just before obtaining that degree, he received yet another degree in fatherhood as Kendra joined their sweet family. 

Upon graduation, Yvonne had the house packed and ready to return to Wyoming, Buffalo to be exact.  Just a quick drive over the mountain from his beloved home.  Buffalo held another exciting opportunity for him as a requirement of working at the funeral home, he also needed to be able to help with the ambulance that was run by the owner of Adams Funeral Home, Dave Harness. It was here that Mike discovered that he had a great love for the EMS world.  All his tutoring from the days of his newspaper route began to play a role in his ability to talk to people calmly, instilling a sense of trust in the people he came into contact with.  Once again, with another “degree” in EMS also was added further fatherhood degrees, as Quinn and Caleb completed this family.

In the fall of 1995 his dream finally came true, to come home to serve the community he grew up in. Leaving Buffalo was hard on the family, for they loved the community and the people, but the draw to return to home offset the bitter good-byes.  Bryant Funeral Home became a reality in October of 1995.  Though Mike and Yvonne were faced with trials in starting their business, they overcame adversity and were able to serve the community they loved for almost 22 years together.  Because of Mike’s compassion, many families have been helped to make very hard decisions at a time when their hearts were broken. Mike’s kindness and love shown to each of these families helped them to leave his doors feeling just a little bit better, then when they walked in.  He provided service to thousands of families over 33 years.

Washakie County Ambulance director, Scott Paris, was aware of Mike’s EMS training and asked him to be part of the volunteer service for the county.  So, Mike was able to continue doing both jobs he loved.  As time went on Mike was approached by the county commissioners to take on the responsibility of being the director for Washakie Ambulance. He did so with the energy and commitment he had in all things.  If he was in town and the pager went off, he was a first responder.  Mike gave his all in helping others anyway he could.

Though both jobs could keep him busy, Mike never lost sight of what really mattered, time with family. He attended every activity his children were in, even after his children were grown, he would take Quinn to many WHS football and basketball games.  He loved watching the high school athletes excel.

Family trips were a priority, most of the time those trips meant a few days at the family cabin, fishing, hiking, sitting around the campfire watching his children and later grandchildren play.  He took great pride in being able to take each one of the grandchildren to catch their first fish, most recently helping little Capri catch her first one at Meadowlark Lake. 

Disney World became a family destination when time and resources would permit.  He never knew how important that would be until recently when one of those family trips resulted in the marriage of their youngest son, Caleb. 8 years ago, Caleb met this cute little spunky brunette on a Disney bus.  This past June, they were wed.

He loved helping his brother, Bob with the annual Bryant Firework show.  He was like a kid in a candy shop while buying fireworks. He also had a soft spot for Special Olympics.  He assisted during the winter season, helping keep his son Quinn safe while skiing, once again showing his determination to help others be just a little bit better. He loved serving his community in Kiwanis, and on the Chamber of Commerce board, serving as president in 1999. He also served on the Wyoming Board of Coroners Standards and in many facets of the Emergency Medical Services in numerous committees. He served as an EMT for over 31 years.  He enjoyed being part of the men’s bowling league at Hurricane Lanes for the past 22 years, a joy shared by both of his sons. He had a strong testimony of his Savior and shared that often as he served in many capacities within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mike’s smile encompassed his whole face, the twinkle in his eye and that smile were contagious and instantly put others at ease. That twinkle, that smile and that crazy, sometimes warped, sense of humor will be missed by his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father in 1985, brother, Steven, nephew, Mark James Bryant, mother-in-law Carmeen Sova and his grandparents.

Survivors include his mother, Denny, by his loving wife of nearly 34 years, Yvonne, daughters, Tandy (Jeremy) Dowdy of Gillette, Wyoming, Kendra (Mike) Ware of Eagle Mountain, Utah; sons: Quinn of Worland, Caleb (Morgan) Bryant of Davenport, Florida; grandchildren, Hannah and Natalie Dowdy, Ashton, Baylee and Capri Ware; brothers: Bob (Carla) Bryant III and Don (Robyn) Bryant all of Worland; many beloved nieces and nephews, cousins and aunts and uncles. He also leaves behind his brothers and sisters in the EMS world and his “kids” in Special Olympics. These fine people meant so very much to him.

Funeral services will be held 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center. Visitation for family and friends will be held one hour prior to services.  Burial will be follow Riverview Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Washakie County Ambulance or Special Olympics (Washakie County) in care of Bryant Funeral Home, PO Box 524, Worland, WY 82401.

In remembrance of Mike, please pay it forward, be a little kinder, a little more gentle, a little more patient, a little more loving, smile more and always take the time to listen and share a good joke.